Dems want domestic terrorism probe
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Democrats want the Senate to investigate domestic terrorism in the wake of a South Carolina shooting that left nine dead. 
 
Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine On The Money: Trump delays increase in China tariffs until Oct. 15 | Treasury says US deficit topped trillion in 11 months | Defense spending bill advances over Democratic wall objections MORE (Vt.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee; Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms Trump defends push to ban flavored e-cigarettes: Let's 'keep young children from Vaping!' Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine MORE (Ill.); Richard Blumenthal (Conn.); Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions This week: Congress returns for first time since mass shootings GOP senators object to White House delaying home-state projects for border wall MORE (Calif.); Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocratic senator: Attacks on Saudi oil refineries 'may call for military action against Iran' Senator asked FBI to follow up on new information about Kavanaugh last year The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (Del.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPoliticon announces lineup including Comey, Hannity, Priebus Scarlett Johansson defends Woody Allen: 'I believe him' Trump mocks Gillibrand after exit: 'She was the one I was really afraid of!' MORE (Minn.) said in a letter sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest Grassley'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Cruz warns GOP support for expanded background checks could help elect Warren president Lawmakers applaud Trump's ban on flavored e-cigarettes MORE (R-Iowa) that lawmakers "must address the reality of domestic terrorism spurred by racial hatred head on."
 
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"We urge you to hold hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the threat posed by domestic terrorism and homegrown hate groups," the senators said in the Tuesday letter. "In the past, mass violence in our country has been explained away as an act of insanity to be treated as a mental health issue. What we saw in South Carolina is about hate, and it is about evil."
 
The letter comes after a gunman opened fire earlier this month on congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine.
 
The six senators, who are members of the Judiciary Committee, suggested that the hearings could focus on domestic terrorism and "homegrown hate groups," including how the groups recruit and spread their ideology, as well as how they plan out their attacks and choose potential targets.
 
The committee previously held a hearing on hate crimes after a 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. 
 
The Department of Justice announced earlier this month that federal officials would investigate the Charleston shooting as a hate crime, but the senators said it must also be looked at as an act of domestic terrorism. 
 
"We often think of terrorism as the sacrifice of innocent lives in service to a murderous ideology, and [suspect Dylann] Roof’s actions were clearly driven by bizarre and perverse beliefs," they said. "If this same act had been perpetrated by someone claiming a desire to harm Americans in the service of Islamist principles, it would immediately be labeled an act of terror."