During confirmation hearing on Monday, US Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland spoke out against White supremacy and vowed to keep politics out of his prosecution of the US Capitol attacks that occurred on January 6.
Garland stated that he would “begin with people on the ground and work [his] way up to those” involved with the attack in order to effectively target what Senator Lindsay Graham called the “ringleaders.”
Garland led the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. He said that “we are facing a more dangerous period than we have faced at that time,” but that so far his impression is that the DOJ is at an “extremely aggressive and perfectly appropriate beginning to an investigation.”
Through a myriad of topics, including college admissions, the border and immigration, and social media, Garland continuously swore to keep politics out of his investigations and processes in the DOJ:
I know these are divisive times. I am not naïve, but I would like to do everything I can to have people believe that [being apolitical] is what we are doing. People will disagree. People on the left side, the right side, the Democratic side, the Republican side will disagree with things that I do. And that happened as a judge. The only thing I can hope is people will understand that I am doing what I do because I believe it is the right thing and not out of some improper motive. That is the best I can ask. If you confirm me and if at the end of my time people still believe that, I will consider that a singular accomplishment.
Garland stated that he does not expect to be pressed by President Joe Biden to open or close any particular investigations, but ultimately the issue of whether Biden can do so is a difficult Constitutional question. There is currently a DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, for his business arrangements abroad, but Garland said he has not discussed that investigation with Joe Biden.
Biden’s other nominees are also engaged in somewhat delayed confirmation hearings before the Senate. Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee conducting Garland’s confirmation hearings, said he hopes to have the full Senate vote on confirmation in the next couple of weeks.