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President Biden’s nominee for attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee that investigating the Capitol riot would be his first priority.
WASHINGTON — Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, said on Monday that the threat from domestic extremism was greater today than at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and he pledged that if confirmed he would make the federal investigation into the Capitol riot his first priority.
Judge Garland, who led the Justice Department’s prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on the first day of his confirmation hearings that the early stages of the current inquiry into the “white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol” seemed to be aggressive and “perfectly appropriate.”
He received a largely positive reception from members of both parties on the panel, five years after Senate Republicans blocked his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Garland, 68, who was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997, pledged on Monday to restore the independence of a Justice Department that had suffered deep politicization under the Trump administration.
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