The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee has revealed plans to hold hearings on the rising threat of white nationalism.
The planned hearings were first reported by the Daily Beast just days after a suspected shooter targeted two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and released a lengthy manifesto that celebrated Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Mr Trump then said during a televised appearance in the Oval Office that he did not believe white nationalism was an increasing threat in the US.
He also claimed on Twitter “the Fake News Media” was “working overtime” to blame him for the attack, writing, “they will have to work very hard to prove that one.”
The hearings — which will reportedly arrive in early April — will focus in part on how Mr Trump’s administration has responded to the growing threat of white nationalism documented in rising figures on hate crime and hate-based violence.
The hearings arrive as federal agencies like the FBI meet with religious leaders across the country to discuss threats against places of worship. Those conversations are also being held to train religious institutions in security and to help them secure their facilities, the Daily Beast reported.
“The FBI regularly assesses intelligence regarding possible threats to the U.S. and will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners should there be any potential threat to public safety,” a spokesperson for the FBI told the outlet in a statement.
“The attacks in New Zealand serve as a reminder of the need for all of us to be vigilant,” they added. “The FBI asks members of the public to maintain awareness of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
At least 50 people have died after a gunman stormed the mosques in New Zealand, live streaming the massacre and encouraging viewers to subscribe to PewDiePie, a popular YouTube channel that has faced controversy over anti-Semitic content. The manifesto he allegedly released also pointed to far-right figures like conservative analyst Candace Owens, along with Mr Trump.
A spokesperson for the House Judiciary Committee declined to confirm details surrounding the upcoming hearings.