Houston Chronicle

Garland: Investigat­ion into Capitol riot will be priority

- By Katie Benner and Charlie Savage

Judge Merrick B. Garland on Monday said the United States faces “a more dangerous period” from domestic extremists than it faced at the time of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and praised the early stages of the investigat­ion into the “white supremacis­ts and others who stormed the Capitol” on Jan. 6 as appropriat­ely aggressive.

“I can assure you that this would be my first priority and my first briefing when I return to the department if I am confirmed,” Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmati­on hearing to be attorney general.

Garland, 68, who led the Justice Department’s investigat­ion into the Oklahoma City bombing, also vowed to uphold the independen­ce of a Justice Department that had suffered deep politiciza­tion under the Trump administra­tion.

“I do not plan to be interfered with by anyone,” Garland said. Should he be confirmed, he said that he would uphold the principle that “the attorney general represents the public interest.”

Garland also pledged that he would cooperate with the committee’s investigat­ion into the actions of the Trump-era Justice Department on immigratio­n and its “zero tolerance policy” that led to large numbers of parents being separated from their children.

Garland said that he would reinvigora­te the department’s civil rights division, which atrophied as the Trump administra­tion curbed protection­s for transgende­r people and minorities.

“Communitie­s of color and other minorities still face discrimina­tion in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system,” Garland said.

Progressiv­es who have decried police killings and assaults on Black people have pushed local government­s to “defund” police. Garland said he does not support that.

 ?? Carlos Barria / Getty Images ?? Judge Merrick Garland, nominee for attorney general, vowed to uphold the independen­ce of a Justice Department that was politicize­d under President Trump.
Carlos Barria / Getty Images Judge Merrick Garland, nominee for attorney general, vowed to uphold the independen­ce of a Justice Department that was politicize­d under President Trump.

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