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Live Updates: Merrick Garland, Attorney General Nominee, Says Capitol Riot


Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick to be attorney general, testified during his confirmation hearing.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Judge Merrick B. Garland said on Monday that 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,” Judge Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing to be attorney general.

Judge 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,” Judge Garland said. Should he be confirmed, he said he would uphold the principle that “the attorney general represents the public interest.”

Former President Donald J. Trump spent his term treating federal prosecutors as either enemies to be crushed or players to be used to attack his political opponents, and Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in his opening remarks that Judge Garland would need to “restore the faith of the American people and the rule of law and equal justice.”

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Garland Vows to Prioritize Capitol Riot Investigation

At his confirmation hearing on Monday, Judge Merrick B. Garland promised to focus on prosecuting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot attack with the same motivation as the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.

A 150 years after the department’s founding, battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central to the department’s mission. From 1995 to 1997, I supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government. If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 — a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government. We must do everything in the power of the Justice Department to prevent this kind of interference with the policies of American democratic institutions. And I plan, if you confirm me for attorney general, to do everything in my power to ensure that we are protected.

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At his confirmation hearing on Monday, Judge Merrick B. Garland promised to focus on prosecuting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot attack with the same motivation as the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Here is where Judge Garland stood on some other key issues in the hearing:

The ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, pressed Judge Garland on two politically charged investigations from the Trump era.

Mr. Grassley asked whether Judge Garland had discussed with Mr. Biden what he would do with a federal tax investigation into Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and whether he would let John Durham, a special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia inquiry, finish his work and then make any Durham report public.

Judge Garland said that he had not discussed the Hunter Biden case with the president and that he expected that “decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the Justice Department.” He demurred on the Durham investigation, saying that while he was committed to transparency, he had not yet been briefed about its status and findings.

“I don’t have any reason — from what I…



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