Merrick Garland vows to go after white supremacists as attorney general ahead of confirmation hearing

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Graeme Massie
·2 min read
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<p>Merrick Garland vows to go after white supremacists as attorney general ahead of confirmation hearing</p> (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Merrick Garland vows to go after white supremacists as attorney general ahead of confirmation hearing

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee Merrick Garland has vowed to go after “white supremacists and others” who attacked the US Capitol.

Mr Garland made the promise in his opening statement to the Senate judiciary committee, which was released ahead of his confirmation hearing on Monday.

“If confirmed I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on 6 January – a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government,” Mr Garland said in the statement.

Five people, including a US Capitol police officer, were killed in the 6 January attack in which Donald Trump’s supporters attempted to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.

The attack came after Mr Trump held a rally in Washington DC in which he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” before directing them to the Capitol.

More than 250 people have been arrested and charged in the wake of the violence, which led to Mr Trump being impeached for a historic second time and acquitted in his Senate trial.

In his statement Mr Garland referred to his role in leading the prosecution of the Oklahoma City Bombing, in which white supremacists killed 168 people, including 19 children.

“It is a fitting time to reaffirm that the role of the attorney general is to serve the rule of law and to ensure equal justice under the law,” added Mr Garland.

He also stated that he would remain independent from the White House and “strictly regulate communication” with Mr Biden while working as “the lawyer … for the people of the United States.”

Mr Trump was widely criticized for politicising the Justice Department and heaping partisan pressure on both Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr

In his testimony Mr Garland also recognized the impact the legal system has had on minority communities in the US.

“Communities of colour and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change,” he added.

Mr Garland, 68, is expected to be confirmed following the hearing.

Senator Mitch McConnell infamously denied him a hearing in 2016 after he was nominated for a Supreme Court seat by Barack Obama.

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