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Garland pledges to prioritize domestic terrorism battle

Garland pledges to prioritize domestic terrorism battle
© Washington Post/Pool

Attorney General nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general Biden can redeem checkered past and regenerate hope for millions with criminal justice reform Watch live: Day 2 of Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing MORE called the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol “the most heinous attack” on American democracy he has seen, pledging an increased role for the Department of Justice (DOJ) in fighting domestic terrorism.

“I think this was the most heinous attack on the democratic process that I've ever seen, and one that I never expected to see in my lifetime,” he said.

Garland said he would immediately request a briefing on the progress of the investigation, a move that would be “my first priority and my first briefing,” if confirmed.

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“I intend to give the career prosecutors who are working on this manner 24/7 all of the resources they could possibly require to do this. And at the same time, I intend to make sure that we look more broadly to look at where this is coming from, what other groups there might be that could raise the same problem in the future,” he said.

Garland repeatedly referenced the role the DOJ plays in fighting terrorism, saying that “battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central to its mission.”

“I don't think that this is necessarily a one off,” he said, noting DOJ’s work prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan and his own prior role at the department overseeing prosecutions in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Garland said he would help the department make additional arrests beyond the more the 200 that have already faced charges.

“We begin with the people on the ground and we work our way up to those who are involved and further involved and we will pursue these leads, wherever they take us,” he said.