Judge Garland answered questions on a wide array of additional topics, including criminal justice reform, antitrust cases, the power of large technology companies, congressional oversight and departmental morale.
Discussing the threat of domestic terrorism, Judge Garland said that “we are facing a more dangerous period than we faced in Oklahoma City.”
He called the assault on the Capitol “the most heinous attack on the democratic processes that I’ve ever seen, and one that I never expected to see in my lifetime.”
In addition to an immediate briefing on the investigation, he said he would “give the career prosecutors who are working on this manner 24/7 all the resources they could possibly require.”
Battling extremism is “central” to the Justice Department’s mission, and has often overlapped with its mission to combat systemic racism, as with its fight against the Ku Klux Klan, Judge Garland said.
But the hearing was also a reminder of how politics hovers over so many of the high-profile issues that will confront Judge Garland if the full Senate confirms him, especially as the Capitol riot investigation touches on members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle and more defendants claim that they acted on former President Donald J. Trump’s command to stop Mr. Biden from taking office.
Asked by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, whether the investigation into the Capitol riot should pursue people “upstream” of those who breached the building, including “funders, organizers, ringleaders or aiders and abettors who were not present in the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Judge Garland replied, “We will pursue these leads wherever they take us.”