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tv   Attorney General Nominee Merrick Garland Testifies at Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  February 22, 2021 9:28am-11:31am EST

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sen. durbin: this hearing will come to order. the committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of judge merrick farland to be 86th attorney general. i want to welcome you and your family back to the senate judiciary committee. i know this return trip has been a long time in planning and you are here finally. this will be the committee's first hearing of the 117th congress. before i turned to my opening remarks, i would like to make some acknowledgments. i want to welcome my friend, senator chuck grassley, as the ranking member. when i first came on the committee 24 years ago, i was the ranking member on a
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subcommittee with you and we dealt with the issue of bankruptcy. we would sit next to each other. we have our differences, but senator grassley and i have worked together on important legislation over the years, most recently on criminal justice and sentencing reform. i look forward to continuing network. i want to recognize the outgoing chair and ranking member, center lindsey graham -- senator lindsey graham, who will join us remotely, and senator dianne feinstein. senator graham, while we do not always agree, has always been a welcome partner, including on immigration. senator feinstein i want to commit for leading the committee democrats with grace and resolve over the past four years. i know she will continue to be an important voice on this committee on a host of issues, including in her new capacity as the chair of human rights -- of
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the human rights subcommittee, which i was proud to chair in past congresses. i would also like to welcome our new members, one in person and one remote, senator padilla and senator ossoff on the democratic side, and senator cotton on the republican side. there are some historic firsts on the committee this year. senator padilla, our new senator from california, will chair the subcommittee on immigration, citizenship and border safety. i am honored he is the first latino senator to the chair that subcommittee. senator cory booker of new jersey will chair the subcommittee on criminal justice and counterterrorism. he is the first black senator to chair a judiciary subcommittee and we cannot imagine a better choice at the helm. to all our other members returning, welcome back. i want to welcome -- thank all
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the members for holding this hearing and vote on judge garland's nomination. it is an honor to serve on this committee. the senate established it by resolution on december 10, 1816, making it among the first standing committees of the senate. it has seen many consequential debates and approved many important nominations and landmark legislation. in the committee's history, there has only then one prior illinois senator to chair, lyman trumbull, who headed the committee from 1861 to 1872. he was a democrat, republican, radical republican, the most bipartisan senator you could imagine. his tenure was distinguished by passage of historic legislation, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, the freedmen's bureau act, the civil rights act
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of 1866. the last of these was introduced by trumbull and became the nation's first civil rights law. as chairman trumbull saw a nation torn apart by slavery and violence and injustice that continued even after the 13th amendment's passage, as africans americans throughout the nation faced racism, our nation is still dealing with these consequences. we are still working to rid this nation of the horrific legacy of slavery and jim crow. this committee can make a difference. we have the jurisdiction and opportunity to do it through legislation, oversight and nominations, including this nomination of merrick garland to serve as our next attorney general. there have been few moments in history where the role of attorney general and the occupant of that post has mattered more. should you be confirmed, and i have every confidence you will,
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you will oversee a justice department at an existential moment after four tumultuous years of intrigue, controversy and brute political force. the future of the department is in the hands of the next attorney general. under attorney general sessions and bill barr, the justice department became an arm of the white house, committed to the interests of president trump. it came as little surprise that the u.s. department of justice became the trump apartment of justice. general barr stated clearly that he believed the ag was the president's lawyer, not the nation's. the results? too many cast aside the rule of law. trump appointees sidelined career public servants. limited roles, disregarded their input, overrode their judgment, and falsely accuse them of being members of the deep state.
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the department pursued policies of almost unimaginable proportions, from separating thousands -- thousands -- of innocent migrant children from their parents to banning innocent muslims from traveling to our shores, from defending and even ordering violent crackdowns on peaceful protesters to parroting baseless lies about voter fraud in the lead up to the 2020 election. the misdeeds of the trump justice department brought this nation to the brink. as we have learned come after president biden's inauguration, the senior official in the trump justice department, jeffrey clark, plotted with president trump for one final stab at the results of the 2020 election. they were thwarted at the last minute by justice department attorneys who threatened to resign en mass rather than joint. it is no overstatement to say your nomination is one of the
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most critical in department history. when i reflect on it, i am reminded of two previous attorneys general, when democratic, the other republican, robert kennedy and edward leavy. kennedy entered the office at a time of political turmoil. he recognized that equal rights and equal justice under the law were still in aspiration for too many people of color in the u.s. in june of 1963, kennedy justified -- testified before the judiciary committee of the house. he said "the demonstrations of the past few months have only served to point up with thinking americans have known for years, that this country can no longer abide the moral outrage of racial discrimination." he continued "if we fail to act at this crucial point, the ugly forces of disorder and violence
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will rise and multiply throughout the land, and grave doubts will be thrown on the very premise of american democracy." the moral outrage of racial discrimination remains with us today, as do the forces of disorder and violence, and, tragically, the justice department in the previous administration fanned the flames of discrimination, but a restored justice department can, and i believe will, meet the moment. there are great challenges ahead. the right to vote is under constant assault by those who wish to suppress the voices of communities of color. we have a criminal justice system still in urgent need of reform and too many americans, whether because of race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity, face inequality. it is time for the department of justice to confront these realities that continue to threaten, as robert kennedy said, the very premise of
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american democracy. i think of what you face in restoring the integrity of the justice department. i also think of another of your predecessors and fellow chicagoan, edward leavy, who also assumed office at a time of turmoil. he had been president of the university of chicago before his nomination to serve as attorney general for president ford, and when he became -- when he came before this committee for his confirmation, he was asked about removing the justice department from the ambit of partisan politics. this is what he said. "i do not believe the administration of justice should be a partisan matter in any sense, but i do not think cases should be brought to reward people or punish them for partisan reasons." he continues "i think it would be a bad thing for the country to believe the administration of justice was not evenhanded because it was in some ways tilted bipartisan politics." why was this question asked?
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why was his response so important? just two years earlier, president nixon attempted to use the justice department as his personal law firm, ordering elliot richardson to fire archibald cox, who was overseeing watergate. he refused, as did his deputy, and so each of them were fired in what became known as the saturday night massacre. they refused to act in a way contrary to the law. they refused to put partisan politics and the interests of president nixon above fidelity to the constitution and the principle of equal justice for all, even those who occupy the white house. in the wake of nixon's action, the justice department faced a reckoning, with the department's legacy still tarnished and public confidence shaken, gerald ford turned to edward leavy to restore independence.
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the nation looks to you to do the same. the result of department leadership consumed with advancing personal and put a call interests. -- and political interests. had a not been for several attorneys threatening to resign -- had it not been for several attorneys threatening to resign this january, president trump may have done more than he did to overturn the election results, raising questions you must reckon with. we are confident we can rebuild the department, that you can restore the faith of the american people and the rule of law and equal justice. i want to return to the attempt to overturn the election. you probably noticed when you came to capitol hill how it has changed. you lived most of your life, and i have lived a large part of mine, coming to this capitol hill to visit, to work, really to honor the traditions of these
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buildings. we have now established a perimeter around this building. it stretches for blocks in every direction. a 10 foot high fence that walls off this capitol building from the rest of america. at the top of the fence, barbed wire. inside the fence, we have not only our loyal police force, many women of the national guard, thousands of them -- force, men and women of the national guard, thousands of them, commentary on the current state of america we face today, but it is needed. you were here on january 6. -- we were here on january 6. we live through it. -- lived through it. luckily, we were not in direct contact with the mob. others were. before a single vote had been cast, president trump claimed he could only lose as a result of fraud.far
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too many americans gave credence to these claims. we know the result. we saw the attempt to subvert democracy, culminating in the events of january 6, when an armed mob stormed the capitol, violently targeted congress, our colleagues, families, even the vice president, causing the senseless deaths of capitol police officers brian sicknick and goode, and jeffrey smith. you will be in the unique position with a unique kazakh -- you will be in a unique position with a unique responsibility. you will be tasked to investigate the events of that day, prosecute all the individuals responsible, and prevent future attacks promoted
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-- prompted by hate, inflammatory words and conspiracy theories. you have seen domestic terrorism. you lead the investigation and prosecution of the oklahoma city bombing and made the nation safer in doing so and it brought some measure of peace and healing to the victims and their families. i am confident that you are up to the task the department now faces in the wake of january 6. i can if people better suited. i look forward to your testimony, but at this point, i turn it over to my colleague, senator grassley. sen. grassley: thank you. i welcome judge garland. i welcome the public at large, most of them very remote, not the large crowds we normally have when we have an attorney general nominee before this committee.
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i have a longer statement that i will put in the record, and i still have plenty to say even this morning. i have course congratulate senator durbin on his new role as chairman. he has already referred to he and i getting acquainted on the oversight subcommittee and working on what now is badly needed law. agriculture is in bad shape. bypassing chapter 12 -- by passing chapter 12 agricultural bankruptcy legislation. i want to express my admiration for senator feinstein, the previous democrat leader of this committee. she and i have worked closely together during the years that i chaired and she was breaking number, and i thank you -- and she was ranking member, and i thank you for your leadership. also a about judge garland.
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this is judge garland's first time appearing before this committee since ascending to the federal bench. i had something to do with that after the death of justice scalia, my republican colleagues and i decided not to hold a hearing on his nomination. in other words, meaning judge garland's nomination to the supreme court, having been nominated by president obama. as you recall, it was an election year with a divided congress. the position i took was consistent with previously publicly expressed positions by other senators and democratic senators previous to that. so, yes, it is true that i did not give judge garland a hearing. i also did not mischaracterize his record. i did not attack his character. i did not go through his high school yearbook.
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i did not make his wife leave the hearing in tears. i took a position on hearings and i stuck to it and that's it. i admire george garland's public service. just because i disagreed with anyone being nominated didn't mean that i had to be disagreeable to that nominee. unfortunately, that's not always the way it works in this town that has great political division. judge garland is here and we are here to talk about his nomination to be attorney general, and i extend a warm welcome to you, judge garland, and your family and friends that are probably very honored because of your nomination. this of course is a worthy capstone on a storied career that you have had. judge garland is a good pick to lead the department of justice.
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he has decades of experience as one of the most respected appellate judges in the country and, before that, being a great prosecutor. when the domestic terrorist timothy mcveigh was executed for his crimes, we had merrick garland to thank for that successful prosecution. no one doubts that judge garland is qualified for his job, but, of course, attorney general is more than just qualifications. the top law enforcement officer of the united states must be committed to enforcing the rule of law, as our former colleague and former attorney general john ashcroft likes to say, the department of justice is the only cabinet agency whose name is an ideal. it is not the department of law enforcement, but the department of justice. justice is equality under the
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law. there's one law for all americans regardless of race, color, creed, or connection. is judge garland up to that task? i think he is, but today, our goal is to ask him questions to find out. the department of justice has taken important steps to live up to these ideals expressed by attorney general ashcroft and i think they have done well in that direction, particularly over the last four years. the department has undertaken many successful initiatives to reduce violent crime in all communities and has sought to maintain the rule of law by reforming consent decrees, guidance documents, protected our civil liberties,
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particularly our religious liberties, and pursuing elder justice. i hope the department of justice continues these initiatives under you, judge garland. what i do not want is a return to the obama years. i do not want in attorney general who brags about being a wing man -- and those are his words -- to the president. that was eric holder notoriously describing himself. i do not want a justice department that abuses process to spy on american citizens. i do not want consent decrees that federalize law enforcement and caused murder rates to soar. i do not want to return to catch and release on the border. i could come up with many other examples. unfortunately, a lot of what we have seen so far from the justice department is -- they
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have whiplashed in inducing changes. they are going through excessive memoranda throughout the gate. president biden is reportedly even firing nearly every senate confirmed u.s. attorney regardless of what investigations they are supervising. that is troubling. that is why i am especially concerned about the term investigation regarding january 2017. i began an investigation into how the justice department and fbi handled crossfire hurricane. that was its investigation into the trump campaign and administration. simply said, crossfire hurricane is a textbook example of what should not happen during investigations. what the obama administration did to the trump campaign transition -- campaign, transition and administration cannot ever happen again.
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if confirmed, you will have oversight of special review of crossfire hurricane. when bill barr came before the committee for his nomination hearing, he said "it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation." of course he was then referring to special counsel bob mueller's investigation. you will need to be clear what your position will be with respect to special counsel durham. we expect the same commitment from you to protect durham as we did from bar to protect mueller. -- from barr to protect mueller. i like you, respect you, and think you are a good pick, but i have a lot of questions on how you will run the department of justice. thank you, mr. chairman.
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sen. durbin: we will have a formal introduction of judge garland. senator van hollen will go first and senator tammy duckworth will come second. there will be a statement made by senator cornyn placed in the record. senator van hollen? sen. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. let me thank you and ranking number grassley and all of our colleagues on the senate judiciary committee for being here today and i am really grateful for the opportunity to introduce the president's nominee for attorney general, judge merrick garland, who is not only a fellow maryland or, but somebody -- fellow marylander, but somebody have known for many years, and i know that president biden has picked a nominee with unimpeachable
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credentials and character. is your reputation -- his reputation stretches from the halls of congress to the d.c. circuit judge. he embodies the impartiality and commitment to justice our nation deserves as the attorney general of the u.s. i'm confident that, if confirmed, judge garland will serve admirably and faithfully as the next attorney general, and i am proud to present him to you and the committee on behalf of myself but also senator cornyn, who is fully in support of this nomination but who could not join us because of a scheduling conflict. the nation already knows merrick garland because of his supreme court nomination and as the former judge of the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit. he earned a reputation as one of
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our nation's finest and fairest jurists, but his tenure on the d.c. circuit judge just the most recent achievement in a life dedicated to serving the rule of law. after excelling at law school, judge garland clerked for the second circuit court of appeals and then for the supreme court. he then rose through the ranks of a prominent law firm before jumping back into public service feetfirst first as a federal prosecutor in the u.s. attorney's office in the administration of george herbert walker bush and later served as the associate deputy ag at the doj. as a senior doj official, judge garland was tasked with overseeing the case of the oklahoma city bombing, one of the deadliest domestic terrorist attacks in american history. it left 168 americans dead and hundreds more injured.
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merrick garland brought a steady hand to pursue and operation that involved massive amounts of evidence, pressure from the public, and a large team with diverse skills and backgrounds. with fidelity to the law and meticulous attention to detail and unrelenting focus, merrick garland helped bring the bomber, timothy they, to justice -- bomber, timothy mcveigh, to justice. we are going to need his experience as we once again confront the rise of domestic terrorism, particularly in the wake of the horrific events of january 6. the next attorney general must not only take on the rise of white supremacists and radical militia groups, but also make sure justice is rendered equally and fairly by promoting and ensuring racial equity, rooting out discrimination in our
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criminal justice system, addressing police reform, and ensuring that we do not see a concerted effort to limit people's, citizens, right to vote in the united states of america. as justice garland has himself stated, ensuring the rule of law and making real a promise of equal justice under the law are "the great principles upon which the department of justice was founded and for which it must always stand." judge garland has spent his career doing both and i have no doubt he will honor that tradition as attorney general. while his professional experiences have prepared him for this job, it is his character that makes him right for this moment. should he be confirmed, judge garland will be charged with restoring credibility and independence to the department of justice, making it clear that the department is not the political instrument of the white house. i know merrick garland is up to
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the task. the lengthy list of testimonials speaking to his fairness and sound judgment span the political spectrum. he is respected by lawmakers, scholars and lawyers of every legal persuasion and political philosophy. and on a personal note, i think it attests to the fact that is brilliant is matched by his kindness. he has always stayed humble and treated everyone with respect. mr. chair and ricky member, members of the committee, it is for these reasons and more that i am honored to present to you the president's nominee to serve as the next attorney general of the united states, judge merrick garland. thank you. thank you, senator van hollen. now, i am calling on senator tammy duckworth. sen. duckworth: we in illinois
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claim merrick garland. he presents the resilient -- the extra taste -- expertise necessary to serve. i am especially honored to be here today because i have full confidence in his capabilities to lead the department of justice in an independent and impartial manner. he will defend the civil rights of all americans, no matter what they look like, who they love, how they pray or their disability status. judge garland hails from our home state of illinois, mr. chairman for it his father ran a small business out of his home and his mother was a director for the jewish elderly in chicago. after graduating as valedictorian in heisel, he won scholarships to go to college and law school.
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he graduated from harvard university in 1970 far -- 1974 and harvard law school in 1977. he clerked for judge henry of the second circuit and justice william brendan on the united states supreme court. his public service is more clearly shown on his -- in 1979, judge garland joined the doj as a special assistant. during his tenure which spans both democratic and republican administration's, he led multiple high-profile investigations, working on a number of issues, including criminal, civil, antitrust,
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espionage and national security measures. he gained valuable experiment -- experience, notably, he played a key role in the prosecution of the oklahoma city bomber's as previously noted. following his career there, the united states senate confirmed his nomination for a lifetime appointment. judge garland arford -- offered hundreds of opinions on criminal justice and voting rights among other issues. issues that affect americans in every corner of this country. as a judge, he was part of decisions that required contractors to comply with the re-ability should effort of 1973. this decision -- rehabilitation effort of 1973. it is this legacy of public
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service that gives me confidence that, if confirmed to be our nation's chief law enforcement officer, judge garland will not only modernize and strengthen the enforcement of the americans with disabilities act but will restore morale throughout the doj. judge garland will defend the civil rights that are so deeply valued and i know he will make us illinois inns -- illinoians proud. >> thank you, senator duckworth. judge garland, will you please stand to be sworn? do you affirm the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? judge garland: yes. >> thank you. i think there is another element . your testimony.
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let me return to judge garland. judge garland: thank you mr. chairman and members of the judiciary committee. i am honored to appear before you today as the presidents nominee to be the attorney general. i would like, first, to take this opportunity to introduce you to my wife, my daughters, jesse and becky, and my son-in-law. i am grateful to them, my entire extended family that is watching today on c-span, every day of my life. the president nominates the attorney general to be the lawyer, not for any individual, but for the people of the united states. july 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the department of justice, making this a fitting time to
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remember the mission of the attorney general and of the department. 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 law. it is a fitting time to recognize the more than 115 thousand career employees of the department as law enforcement agencies and their commitment to serve the cause of justice and protect the safety of our communities. if i am confirmed as attorney general, it will be the culmination of a career that i have dedicated to ensuring that the laws of our country are fairly and faithfully enforced and the rights of all americans are protected. before i became a judge almost 24 years ago, a significant portion of my professional life was spent in the justice department. as a special assistant to ben, the last of the trio of's watergate -- of post-watergate
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attorneys general, as a supervisor in the criminal division and as a senior official in the department. many of the policies of the justice department developed during those years as a foundation or reaffirming the nerves -- norms that will ensure the department adheres to the rule of law. these are policies that protect the independence of the department from partisan influence of law enforcement, that strictly regulate communications with the white house, that established guidelines for fbi domestic operations and foreign intelligence correction and ensure respectful treatment of the press that read the freedom of information act generously. that respect the professionalism of doj employees and that set out the principles of federal prosecution to guide the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
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in conversations that i have had with many of you before this hearing, you have asked why i would agree to leave a lifetime appointment as the judge. i have told you i love being a judge. i have also told you that this is an important moment for me to step forward, because of my deep respect for the department of justice and for its critical role of ensuring the rule of law. celebrating doj's 150th year reminds us of the origins of the department, which was founded during reconstruction, in the aftermath of the civil war, to secure the civil rights that were promised in the 14th, 14th and 15th amendments. the first attorney general appointed by president grant to head the new department let it in a concerted battle to protect like voting rights. -- voting rights from the violence of white extremists,
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successfully prostituting hundreds of cases against white supremacist members -- prosecuting hundreds of cases against white supremacist members of the ku klux klan. with the mission to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable numbers of -- members of our society. that mission, on the website of the department's civil rights division, remains urgent, because we do not yet have equal justice. communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination and housing -- in housing of education -- housing, education and in the justice system. they bear the brunt of the harm caused by the pandemic, pollution and climate change. 150 years after the department's founding, battling extremist
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attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central to the departments mission. from 1995 to 1997, i supervised a prosecution of the perpetrators of the oklahoma city federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government. if confirmed, i will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the capitol on january 6, a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy. the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government. that critical work has brought a part -- is but a part of the broad scope of responsibilities. from fraud and corruption, from violent crime and cybercrime,
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from drug trafficking and child exploitation, and it must do all of this without ever taking its eye off of the risk of another devastating attack by foreign terrorists. the attorney general takes an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies. foreign and domestic. i am mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with this role. as attorney general, later supreme court justice robert jackson said the prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in america. while prosecutors at their best are one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when they act for malice, they are one of the worst.
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jackson went on to say that citizens safety lies in the prosecutor who seeks truth and not victims. who serves the law and not factional purposes and who approaches the task with humility. that was the prosecutor i tried to be during my private -- prior service in the department of justice. that is the spirit i tried to bring to my tenure as a federal judge. if confirmed, i promise to do my best to live up to that ideal as attorney general. thank you. >> thank you judge garland. before i turn to my questions, i want to lay out a few mechanics for the hearing. senators will have eight minutes in the first round of questions, followed by a five minute second round. i asked members to do their best to stay within their allotted time. we will take a break every once
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in a while for 10 minutes. i am hoping first will be sometime near 11:00. at about 12:15 or 12:30, we will break for lunch for about 30 minutes. i beg you to stick with the schedule as -- if you can and be back in time so we can keep the hearing moving along. at this point, we will turn to questions. you were sent to okemos city in 1995 -- oklahoma city in 19i-5. what happened there was the deadliest act of homegrown domestic terrorism in modern american history. hundreds were injured. you were supervising the prosecution of timothy mcveigh and terry nichols, who were accused of being complicit and fleeting in that destruction. now, if you are confirmed as attorney general, which i believe you will be, you will
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face what is known as the biggest and most complex in the -- investigation in justice department history. 230 have been arrested so far, some 500 are under investigation. we know the death of at least one police officer is one of the major elements in this investigation. i would like to ask you to reflect on two things. what is going on in america, was oklahoma city a one-off unrelated to what happened here? can you major based on what you have learned so far what kind of forces are out to destroy the american dream? secondly, when it comes to the prosecution, are there elements we should consider in terms of law enforcement to deal with this rising threat to the american democracy? judge garland: thank you,
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senator. thank you for the opportunity to address the committee today. i am grateful for this opportunity. i don't think this is necessarily a one-off. fbi director ray has directed -- communicative the threat of the mystic terrorism and particularly of white supremacist extremists is the number one concern in this area. this is coupled with the in norma's rise in hate crimes over the past few years. -- enormous rise in hate crimes over the past few years. there is a line for okemos city all the way back to the experiences i mentioned in my opening with respect to the battles of the justice department against the ku klux klan. we must do everything in the power of the justice department to prevent this kind of interference with the policies of american democratic
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institutions. and i plan, if you confirm me for attorney general, to do everything in my power to ensure that we are protected. sen. durbin: judge garland, it goes without saying, but we want to make it on the record, we had -- have violence whether it comes from the right or the left, whatever the source, it has no place in the constitutional dialogue of america. currently, we are faced with elements that were not there 25 years ago in oklahoma city. a proliferation of weapons, secondly, social media and the internet, which serves as a gathering place for many of these to mystic terrorists. what are your thoughts about how we should you with those elements from a law enforcement viewpoint? judge garland: well, mr. chairman, i certainly agree that we are facing a more dangerous period than we have faced at
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that time. from what i have seen, and i know inside information about how the department is developing its work, it looks like an extremely aggressive and perfectly appropriate beginning to an investigation. across the country, in the same way our original oklahoma city investigation was. but many times more. i don't know yet what additional resources would be required by the department. i can assure you that this would be my first priority and my first briefing when i returned to the department if i am confirmed. sen. durbin: judge garland, several years ago, i went to an immigration court hearing in downtown chicago. it was in a high-rise old and. i met the -- loop building. i met the judge. she had been on the job almost 20 years. she seemed like a conscientious, fair person.
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the first clients on the docket were a four-year-old girl named marta. when the judge asked all of the people in the courtroom be seated, she had to be helped into a chair that was too tall for her to get into. she was handed a stuffed animal to hold for the hearing and at the same table was a young boy with the unlikely name, hamilton. who was given a matchbox car which he played with on top of the table. he was six years old. they were the victims of the zero-tolerance policy. we remember it well. thousands of children were forcibly removed from their parents, separated and, many times, lost in the bureaucracy. some have incorrectly stated that that policy of the trump administration was a continuation of an obama era policy. that is not true.
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the obama administration did not have policies that resulted in the mass separation of parents and children. on rare occasions, separations -- on the rare occasions separations occurred, it was because of suspect of trafficking. the general conducted an investigation of the zero-tolerance policy and noted the justice department was the driving force in that policy. there is still a lot that we do not know about that policy and the accountability for the officials who were responsible for it. let me ask you this. this committee will hold oversight hearings to get to the bottom of it. when you commit to cooperate with those investigations -- will you commit to cooperate with those investigations? judge garland: the oversight responsibility of this committee is one of its very most important things. it is a duty posed by the constitution and i greatly respect it. i think the policy was shameful. i can't imagine anything worse
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than separating parents from their children. and we will provide all of the cooperation that we possibly can. sen. durbin: i thank you for that. when it comes to congressional oversight, this committee has a role in restoring independence of integrity to the justice department through oversight hearings. it has a standard of holding annual justice department oversight hearings. sadly, it has been three years since the attorney general has been called before this committee. i pledge that as chairman i will hold annual doj oversight hearings where members from both sides of the aisle can ask important questions of you in that capacity. i don't want to go into detail but ask you would you agree to cooperate in that commit to an oversight -- commitment to an oversight hearing? judge garland: of course. i will cooperate.
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sen. durbin: when requests are made for information, i hope i can have your commitment to cooperation in providing timely answers. judge garland: yes, mr. chairman. we will be as responsive as we possibly can. as i said, i have great respect for and belief in the oversight role of this committee. sen. durbin: thank you. senator grassley? senator grassley: since you are currently a sitting judge bound by the code of conduct of u.s. judges i hope we can get frank answers from you on your views. when we talked last on the phone, you told me you would give guidance -- get guidance from the administering office on what you can and can't say. i assume you sought that guidance. if so, what did they advise you? judge garland: yes, senator grassley, i did. they advised me adjust as you and i thought they would, it
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bars me from commenting on any impending case that is in any court or any pending case per but i am free to talk about policy -- pending case. but i am free to talk about policy. sen. grassley: i will go to the durham investigation. at bars hearing, he stated the following to the mueller investigation. it is important the special counsel be allowed to complete its investigation. also of that same hearing, senator feinstein asked will you commit to providing mr. mueller with the resources, funds and time needed to complete his investigation? attorney general barr answered senator feinstein with a one-word "yes." with respect to the special counsel durham's investigation,
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i expect he will be allowed to complete his investigation. if confirmed, will you commit to providing special counsel durham with the staff resources, funds and time needed to complete the investigation? judge garland: senator, i don't have any information about the investigation. as i sit here today, another one of the first things i will have to do is speak with mr. durham to figure out how his investigation is going. i understand he has been permitted to remain in his position. sitting here today, i have no reason to think that that was not the correct decision. sen. grassley: and i suppose that would be an answer that would only be removed for cause. would that be your position? judge garland: i really do have to have an opportunity to talk with him. i have not had that opportunity. as i said, i don't have any reason from what i know now,
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which is really very little, to make any determination on that ground. i don't have any reason to think that he should not remain in place. sen. grassley: if confirmed, would you commit to publicly releasing special counsel durham's report just like the robert mueller report was made public? judge garland: senator, i am a great believer in transparency. i would have to talk with mr. durham and understand the nature of what he has been doing and the nature of the report. but i am very much committed to transparency and to explaining justice department decision-making. sen. grassley: at this point, i will not take exception to the answers you have gave me about durham, because i think you are an honorable person. they are not quite as explicit as i hoped they would be like we got from attorney general barr from the mueller investigation. but i think you have come close
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to satisfying me. but maybe not entirely. we are in the midst of a drug crisis, in addition to opioids, cocaine and fentanyl, fentanyl is plaguing our country. increasingly sophisticated drug trafficking organizations, both domestically and internationally tried to strip the law by changing their molecular structure. the center for disease control has found that drug overdose deaths rose to their highest level ever during the pandemic, with the overall jump in deaths being driven most substantially drug like fentanyl. we must stop this fentanyl substance from entering our neighborhoods and killing thousands of americans. my question is, as you leave the
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justice department, having oversight over the drug enforcement administration within that department and they will be addressing the spread of fentanyl analogs and related substances by pushing for continued probation of fentanyl. i did not make my question clear. would you lead the justice department in pushing for continued classwide prohibition of fentanyl dialogues? judge garland: senator, i am familiar with this problem. one of my roles was to serve on the pretrial services committee for the -- committee for the pretrial services agency for the district. we were constantly advised of the fact that the formula was being slightly changed, constantly. this was a problem both for
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detection as well as for the problem of enforcement. to be honest, i am no chemist. it is one of the reasons i ended up being a lawyer instead of a doctor. but, i would need to look at what would be proposed. but i do understand the scope of this problem and i am in favor of doing something, either by scheduling or by legislation, if i am confirmed, that would address the problem that you are talking about, which is an enormous problem for enforcement. sen. grassley: i want to go to the death penalty because we have some people already prosecuting where the death penalty has been advocated or sought. one of those were the people involved in the boston marathon. so, the question -- the justice
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department, again, under the obama administration sought and received an appropriate sentence of death. that sentence is currently being appealed. will you commit to defend these sentences on appeal? judge garland: senator, now we are rubbing up against the exact problem you asked me about in the beginning. these are pending cases. as a sitting judge, i am barred from making comment on impending cases. sen. grassley: my last question will have to deal with the investigation that is underway by some of us in congress about hunter biden. have you discussed the case with the president or anyone else? and i don't expect you to
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discuss your private conversation with the president. but members of this committee always ask judges or other people did you discuss with the president, for instance, your position on abortion. have you discussed this hunter biden case with the president or anyone else? judge garland: i have not. the president made abundantly clear in every public statement before and after it might nomination that the decisions about investigations and prosecutions will be left to the justice department. that was the reason that i was willing to take on this job. so, the answer to your question is no. sen. grassley: thank you. >> thanks, senator grassley. senator lahey would be next but he is outside of the jurisdiction. i guess that is appropriate.
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senator feinstein will be recognized. senator feinstein: thank you very much and welcome. throughout your career, you have been praised by people on both sides of the aisle. when you are nominated to the supreme court, president obama said you were someone who would bring a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, evenhandedness, and excellence. similarly, senator orrin hatch called you a fine man who would be a moderate choice for the court. even carrie severino once called you the best scenario we can hope for to bring the attention and the politics in the city down a notch. at the time when america feels more paralyzed -- polarized than ever before, this source of bipartisanship is truly rare.
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so, i ask this question. can all americans, regardless of their political affiliation, count on you to faithfully and fairly enforce our laws? judge garland: yes, senator. that is my personality. that is everything i have done in my career and that is my vision for the justice department, to dispense the law fairly and impartially without respect to persons and without respect to political parties. sen. feinstein: on january 6, a group of white supremacists launched a terrorist attack on our capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of our democratic election. there attempt failed and resulted in at least five fatalities, including a capitol police officer. it led prosecutors to file over
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180 charges and initiate over 25 to mystic terrorism cases. this is not the first time the justice department has been forced to investigate and prosecute white supremacists for an act of is a. you received high praise for investigating and supervising the prosecution of the oklahoma city calming perpetrators in 1995. so, here is the question. what steps will you take to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack on our capitol are brought to justice? judge garland: senator, i think this was a most heinous attack -- the most heinous attack on the democratic process i have seen and one i never expected to see in my lifetime. one of the first things i will do is help get a briefing on the progress of this investigation. i intend to give the career prosecutors who are working on this manner 24/7 all of the
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resources they could possibly require to do this. 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 race the same problems in the future and that we protect the american people. and i know that the fbi director made the same commitment. sen. feinstein: thank you for that answer. over the last four years, the independence of the attorney general has been repeatedly attacked. for example, president trump once told the new york times "i have the absolute right to do what i want to do with the justice department." do you believe that, in fact, the president does have the absolute right to do what he wants with the justice department? judge garland: the president is
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constrained by the constitution, as are all government officials. the issue here for us are the norms and standards to which this president, president biden, has agreed that he will not interfere with the justice department with respect to its prosecutions and investigations. those decisions will be made by the department itself and led by the attorney general. they will be without respect to partisanship, without respect to the power of the perpetrator or the lack of power, without respect to the influence of the perpetrator or lack of influence and in all of those respects, the department will be independent. the department is part of the executive branch. for that reason, our policy manners, we follow the president of the administration as long as it is consistent with the law. the role of the department is to advise the president and the administration and other
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agencies about what is consistent with the law. that is our obligation and we will do so, objectively, based only on our reading of the law. sen. feinstein: thank you for that. i think you have laid it out clearly and directly and it is very much appreciated. if the presidents interest and the public interests are in public, -- in conflict, which interest does the attorney general represent? judge garland: the attorney general represents the public interests, as defined by the constitution in the united states. sen. feinstein: do you believe the president has the authority to order the attorney general to open or close an investigation or a prosecution? judge garland: this is a hard question of constitutional law but i do not expect it to be a question for me. the president has promised that
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those decisions will only be made by the attorney general and that is what i plan to do. i do not plan to be interfered with by anyone. i expect the justice department will make its own decisions in this regard. sen. feinstein: thank you. i will cease at this time. i just want to say that i think you have had a remarkable career. you have been a very -- you have done very special things and always in a very reasonable, sober way. i want to say thank you for that. judge garland: i am grateful, senator. thank you for that. >> thank you, senator feinstein. we hope that senator graham, who is next up is ready? senator graham? senator graham: can you hear me? >> we can hear you. senator graham: congratulations to you. judge garland, congratulations on your appointment. i think you are a good candidate for the job. i will try to get through as
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much information as i can. do you promise to defend the public courthouse against anarchists, the federal court building in portland? judge garland: any attack on a federal building or damage to a federal building violates federal statutes and those who do it will be prosecuted. sen. graham: the people who attacked the capitol on january 6, will you let the committee know if you need more resources? judge garland: yes, absolutely, senator. i think one of my first jobs is to consult with the prosecutors and the agents who are investigating that manner and see what resources that need -- matter and see what resources that they need. sen. graham: thank you. i think all of us want to prosecute every single person that deserves to be prosecuted. so, whatever you need, i am sure
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you will get from this committee. have you read the horwitz report? judge garland: in our conversations, you asked me to read it. it is 400 pages long and i asked you permission to read the executive summary. i have done that. sen. graham: what is your general take? judge garland: my general take is there were certainly serious problems with respect to applications, particularly from mr. page. in the subsequent report in which the pfizer applications are document it, the inspector general had a substantial number of recommendations for how this would be fixed and how it must be fixed. i understand that he submitted those to the fbi director and i understand the fbi director agreed, totally and either has
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made those changes or is in the course of making them. i intend, if i am confirmed, to speak more deeply and directly to mr. horror it's about this -- horwitz to make sure anything that is necessary will be done. i am always concerned and have always been concerned that we be very careful about fiza. it is a useful tool that is important for investigations. sen. graham: are you familiar with the fact that a lawyer from the fbi has been prosecuted and pled guilty to altering the information? judge garland: i did read about that, yes. sen. graham: what would happen if somebody under your charge did that? how would you feel about that behavior? judge garland: somebody who makes a false statement to the fbi or inspector general during
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the investigation has violated 18 usc 1001. sen. graham: do you believe the investigation is a legitimate investigation? judge garland: i don't know anything really about the investigation. sen. graham: do you think somebody should look at what happened? judge garland: i do think somebody should look at what happened in respect to that. absolutely. sen. graham: based on what your review of the report, do you think jim comey was a good fbi director? judge garland: senator, i really don't want to get into analyzing any of the previous -- sen. graham: you have been critical and appropriately so at times. i find it stunning that you can't say, in my opinion, that he was a terrible fbi director. have you ever been to the
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border? have you ever been to the u.s.-mexico border? judge garland: no sir, i haven't. sen. graham: i would like you to go, i just got back. i have learned drug cartels are using our malls against us. they will flag people to rush the border. when they are apprehended, they will claim asylum and most of these claims, 90% are rejected. that will take resources away from securing the border and protecting the drugs and protecting the nation against terrorism. this is a behavior by the cartels. will you look into that practice of using drug cartels to weaken border security? judge garland: i have not known about this and i will certainly look into this problem. i think the drug cartels are a major menace to our society. the poison that they put into our streets is damaging communities of every kind.
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sen. graham: i think you will find patriots at the border. when they make mistakes, they need to be held accountable. that is one of the topics jobs in the country. judge garland: i apologize for speaking over you just now. there is -- >> i apologize for speaking over you. there is a little bit of a lag. it is not your fault. it is the technology. sen. graham: i have a southern accent. >> it is not the southern accent. sen. graham: since the 20th anniversary of 9/11, are you concerned that al qaeda and isis types are going to try to hit us again? judge garland: i am concerned that foreign terrorist organizations will try to hit us again, yes. i don't know about the capabilities of those two but it does not matter which foreign terrorists -- the terrible thing is the attack.
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i said in my opening statement, with all of the other things the justice department has to do, it must always keep its eye on the ball with respect to foreign terrorist attacks. i was sitting in my office -- arriving in my office as the first plane hit the trade center, and i was sitting in my office and could see smoke rising over the pentagon. i can assure you that this is top of mind for me. sen. graham: one of the reasons i am very inclined to support you is i believe what you just said is true. i think you have a very deep understanding of the threats america faces. and to my colleagues on the committee, al qaeda has been diminished. isis has been greatly diminished but they are out there and they are trying to -- they will this year, sometime, i hope i am wrong, let us know they are still there.
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it is great that the potential future attorney general understands our nation is very much still under threat. when it comes to interacting with the committee, we will be talking about section 230 reform. what is your impression of section 230's liability protection for big tech and is it time to revisit that topic? judge garland: i have to confess when i have limited information about a subject. i have had one case of section 230. it was a straight application of the law. i know what it is. i know that many members of this committee have ideas for how it should be amended. i would have to have the opportunity, if i am confirmed, to talk with you about that and understand all of the conflicting concerns and the perplexities of how to alter it if it is to be altered. the devil in these sorts of things is always in the details.
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you on the committee know more about this than i do. i look forward, if i am confirmed, to having the chance to talk about that with you. sen. graham: thank you. congratulations on your nomination. >> thank you, senator graham. senator whitehouse? senator whitehouse: welcome, judge garland. judge garland: thank you. senator whitehouse: people have said it is not the legislature's business to metal around in a prosecution. at the same time, we have oversight responsibilities. in your opinion, was it appropriate for congress to ask the doj to give an honest look at investigative matters? judge garland: senator, i know of your lung experiences as a prosecutor, including some of it which overlapped mine. i have been respectful and appreciative of it. you ask it that way, it is
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always possible for anyone to ask about matters like this. the department has to be very careful with respect to the congress and, in the same way, it has to be careful with respect to the white house, that no investigations get started just for partisan -- and i am not suggesting that is what you're asking -- but we have to be careful about this. sen. whitehouse: after the fact, once the investigation has closed or concluded, is it appropriate in the exercise of our oversight to ensure an honest look was taken? judge garland: yes, of course it is. there are obviously limitations of the departments ability to speak. that includes everything from grand juries -- sen. whitehouse: understood. with respect to january 6, i would like to make sure that you are willing to look upstream
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from the actual occupants who assaulted the building in the same way that in a drug case you would look upstream from the street dealers to try to find the kingpins and that you will not rule out investigation of funders, organizers, ringleaders or aiders and abettors who were not present in the capitol on january 6. judge garland: that is a fair question. your law enforcement experience is the same as mine. i began as an assistant u.s. attorney. we begin with people on the ground and work our way up to those who are involved and further involved. we will pursue these leads wherever they take us. sen. whitehouse: thank you. as chairman durbin mentioned, there have been widely reported problems within the department over the last four years.
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judge sullivan has one stunning reproach of the departments judicial decisions out of the d.c. district court and the southern district strict court, that have been pretty damming. press reports have raised concerns about problems within the department during that period. how do you plan to assess the damage that the departments sustained so you can go forward with a clear understanding of what needs repair? judge garland: senator, i am a strong believer in following the processes of the department. that was my experience, all of my experiences at the department, regardless of what level, i served. the traditional process is for issues to be raised before either the inspector general or the officer responsible in the areas you are talking about,
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that they conduct investigations. they certainly seemed extremely able of conducting thorough investigations. they collect recommendations. that would be the normal procedures and i would expect that if i am confirmed, those would be the kind of procedures i would want to follow. sen. whitehouse: i would submit to you that you may want to take it on more systematically than that but we can leave that for a later date. on this committee, particularly this side of this committee, we have experienced more or less a four year stonewall of information from the department of justice and from the fbi. from 2017 to 2020, we had 25 doj and fbi witnesses who failed to answer some or all of the questions for the record that senator sasse them. 21 answered -- senators asked them. 21 answered none of the questions asked from either side. i have sent 28 different letters
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on various subjects that went completely unanswered. it got so bad that chairman graham brought the deputy attorney general and made me go through the list and tried to figure out why the hell we were getting answers and where the policy came from, the de facto policy of refusing to answer questions of senators. i think we need to understand what happened during that period, why these questions were not being answered. the point of entry is quiet were these questions not being answered. upon whose instructions were these questions not being answered? why? what was the motive for refusing to answer these questions? once we have cleared that up, i think we have to go through the backlog of questions the department refused to answer. as you know, sometimes, congress asks questions that are touchy for a department. somebody may have misbehaved.
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there may be wrongful conduct that has taken place. and i hope you will agree that covering up misconduct is never an acceptable reason for refusing to answer questions of congress. judge garland: i certainly agree that covering up anything is never an appropriate reason for not answering a question of congress. there will be no policy, the factor or otherwise, if i am confirmed, that would direct the department to not be responsive to this committee and to its members. i want the department i lead to be as responsive as possible. and, at the very least, to explain why it can't answer a question or can't answer a letter, why you can't. that is the minimum you are entitled to. sen. whitehouse: correct. i don't want this just going forward, i want to get answers
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to the backlog questions that were wrongfully refused. would you help us make sure that that happens? judge garland: yes, senator. we talked in our conversation before. i would evidently direct the previous -- would definitely direct the previous questions be answered. as a matter of resource and priority allocations, i request you give us, the departments, some sense of the priorities of what still needs to be answered and perhaps even in what order. sen. whitehouse: we will do that. last, i have a few seconds left. i would like two things. i think that the office of the legal counsel has taken a lot of hits. from the torture memos to the wiretap memos to the southern district decision to the d.c. court decision to extremely self-serving and self propagating presidential investigations, this is a part
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of the department that i think is in real trouble. another role of the departments is the policing and the intermediation of executive privilege for an administration. i think that is an area that has been in complete collapse. i look forward, with my time expired, -- judge garland: thank you, senator. i look forward to speaking with you. >> welcome judge, i enjoyed our conversation the other day. judge garland: thank you. >> my soul criterion for voting for your confirmation is your pledge to make sure that politics does not effect your job as attorney general. and i believe you told me that you could make that commitment. is that a commitment you can
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make before the public today? judge garland: absolutely. i would not have taken this job if i thought politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations. i want to clarify so as to not disappoint you. with respect to policies of the administration, which i assume are driven by politics, although as a judge, i would not know for sure. i strive to advance the policies of the department as long as they are consistent with the law and our evaluation of the law has to be based only on the law and not politics. sen. cornyn: thank you for that clarification. i think the attorney general has to be the toughest job in the united states government, because you serve at the pleasure of the president but you also have, as you appropriately pointed out, an obligation to equal justice and impartial enforcement of the law. if you are asked to do something that you considered to be in
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violation of the law or unethical, would you resign? judge garland: the first thing i would do is to tell the president or whoever else i was being -- whoever else was asking me to do that that it was unlawful. i do not expect this to happen with this president, who has made it clear publicly and in private that he will not do that. , of course, if i am asked to do something and an alternative is not accepted, i would resign, yes. sen. cornyn: i think one of the biggest problems that the administration of justices had in the united states, particularly for the last couple of presidencies, has been the perception that there is a double standard. one that applies to maybe one political party or people with wealth and another one that applies to the opposing political party or people who
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don't have the resources to defend themselves against the awesome investigative and prosecutorial powers of the department of justice. of course, you are acquainted with the phrase about the supreme court, equal justice under the law. you agree with me that a perception of a double standard of justice can be a cancer that will -- and that commitment to equal justice? -- eat away at the confidence? judge garland: absolutely. his role was to be sure that justice was made out fairly and impartially without any special favors for anyone. this is the definition, in my view, of the rule of law. that the powerful and the powerless, one party and another party, one community in the
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united states and another community in the united states all are treated equally in the administration of justice. the chairman's -- sen. cornyn: the chairman's recitation of things he believed to be inappropriate started and ended with the trump administration. let me take you back further into the biden and obama administration. you are familiar with the press conference of -- that james comey had in july of 2016 when he discussed the investigation of hillary clinton and the inappropriate use of her email server? judge garland: i remember a. sen. cornyn: -- judge garland: i remember it. sen. cornyn: is that an appropriate step for an fbi director to take talk about derogatory information in a case they say no reasonable prosecutor would pursue it? judge garland: senator, i don't
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think it is useful for me to comment on specific manners involving specific former officials. i have no problem at all telling you that the justice department's policy has made clear that derogatory comments about subjects, targets, even people who have been indicted, except for what is in the indictment, are not appropriate. if i am confirmed, i will zealously attempt to re-inculcate that spare set -- spirit. when i was speaking to the press after each court hearing in oklahoma city, i was assiduous in making sure i did not say anything about the defendants who had just been before the court and, we know after conviction, had done horrible
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things, that i would not say anything other than the charges that were brought against them. i believe that is part of a federal prosecution. sen. cornyn: i know you don't want to comment on mr. comey's actions but what you have said strikes me as diametrically opposed to what he actually did. senator graham asked you if you have read the horwitz report. i understand your time has been limited. would you pledge to read all 404 pages of that report if you are confirmed. judge garland: i will. it may take me some time but i have a head start by reading the executive summaries. i should be able to get through it. sen. cornyn: i think it is important you do so, because of the abuse, not only of the process where an fbi lawyer lied to the court in order to get a warrant to spy on an american citizen, but the use of
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counterintelligence investigation, a counterintelligence investigation against a presidential candidate, and the run-up to the election. are you familiar with the steele dossier? judge garland: only what i have read in the newspapers. i have to admit i have only read conflicting reports about it in the papers. sen. cornyn: it revealed that the sources for the steele dossier, which were used in part to get pfizer warrants, that the sub sources could well be -- could well be russian intelligence officers, using that in order to get -- as part of a russian active measures campaign. are you familiar with the practice of the soviet union and the russian federation to use active measures as part of their intelligence service tax against the united states? judge garland: so, not from my
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experience either as a judge or as a prosecutor. but, again, from reading media reports, i know what the words mean and i have a general idea of what you are about, yes. sen. cornyn: judge garland, my time is about up. i think we have talked about the role of the judiciary committee -- like section 702 of the foreign surveillance act and the importance of the competence those tools will be appropriately use and there will be appropriate oversight of the department of justice and the fbi and intelligence committees. do you believe that the abuse of those authorities never dies is the availability of those tools in a way that is detrimental, potentially, to the security of the united states? judge garland: absolutely. my entire career as a justice department official is --
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it is not only i am worried about losing a tool that is essential, it is that i am worried about transgressing the constitutional rights of americans. both of those are important. probably the latter is more important. we have to be careful about respecting constitutional rights. >> senator klobuchar. >> thank you mr. chairman, congratulations on your new job, and congratulations to you judge garland. i listened with much happiness in your opening remarks when you talked about being a lawyer for the people, that you want to serve the law and not factual -- factional services. used the word "humble," that we need more of.
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you also mentioned that when president biden nominated you, ted leavy who taught law at university of chicago, that i took. like edward leavy, who took office after watergate, you will take on the department of justice at a critical time and will have the great chance of restoring its ideals of independence, fidelity to the constitution, and the law. what is the number one thing you want to do to boost morale in the department? day one -- judge garland: i will take an oath in which i will say all of the things you just said. i want to say something to the career employees, my job is to protect them from partisan or other improper motives. i then hope to have the
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opportunity to visit with as many members of the justice department as possible. unfortunately, this will have to be over zoom. i would prefer to be able to go down to the great hall and mingle with folks, let them hear what is in my heart. but i'm afraid technology is the only way i am going to be able to do it. sen. klobuchar: one thing that barden -- bothered me was the partisan process former president trump overtook. 88% of the pardons he granted had some sort of personal political connection to the president. what do you think we need to do to restore integrity to the pardon process? what do you think you can do from the attorney general's position? judge garland: you are right, this is a power granted from the constitution.
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the justice department's role is to created visualized examination of the people who are asking to be pardoned. the office has a set of very detailed regulations, which describe when people are appropriate for pardons and when they are not. it is an important screen that not only yields -- part of it also protects the president from improper influence. sen. klobuchar: just a few things i want to ask quickly because i want to get to antitrust. talked to senator graham about resources for domestic terrorism and that you want to take a look. do you think you will need additional authorities, or will you look at that when you get in? i will be chairing a hearing with the rules committee on what happened at the capitol and what we need to do to improve security. part of that is prosecuting perpetrators. judge garland: i thank you for that question.
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always looking for new tools. the first thing we have to do is figure out whether the tools we have are sufficient. that will be part of this briefing i want to had. the laws are quite capable and we are capable of charges against mcveigh, nichols and other terrorists. whether i would be interested in speaking with you and the committee about whether additions may be made, i first have to know whether anything more is necessary. sen. klobuchar: will you commit to reinstating attorney general holder's guidelines requiring the -- to sign off on subpoenas to journalists? judge garland: these guidelines came out originally when i was working for ben sublette a. this is something i am deeply committed to. they have improved over the
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years as more concerns have arisen. i would expect to re-up those guidelines. i do not believe they have been rescinded, though. sen. klobuchar: no, but i couldn't get a straight answer from attorneys general sessions or barr. i know you support reforms to police practices, very good. we have a major bill on that. conviction and integrity units, something i think is important. judge garland: i think convicting someone who did not commit the crime is one of the most -- it is a risk. of all kinds of law enforcement. if we can determine that we have made a mistake, we need very much to correct it. i think grants for the purpose of supporting conviction integrity units in district and
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states attorneys office is a very good idea. sen. klobuchar: we share an interest in antitrust law. i know you handled cases as judge, chair on the antitrust subcommittee. we are going to be doing a lot in this area. two thirds of u.s. industries have become more concentrated between 1997 and 2012. the pandemic has actually made things even harder on small businesses. i think we need more resources. the ftc and antitrust division of the doj are shadows of what they were when the breakup of at&t occurred. we can't expect agencies to do what we need to do to take on the biggest companies the world has ever known on the tech side, in addition to band-aids and duct tape. senator grassley and i have a
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bill to greatly increase the funding to those divisions and agencies. would you support that? judge garland: i appreciate your recognizing that my first love in law school was antitrust. i studied under one of the most famous scholars and was his research assistant. i worked with -- another one of the greatest scholars, former head of the chair of the federal trade commission. i did practice antitrust law including trying antitrust cases. i always want to be in the position of saying thank you, yes, when you ask whether we want more resources. my expectation is that is what i would say. until i am confirmed, i can't evaluate what resources we might need. sen. klobuchar: do you commit to vigorously enforcing antitrust law? judge garland: absolutely. sen. klobuchar: i believe we
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need changes in order to aid you in doing that. i have a bill that i hope you will look at. changing some of the standards for mergers and for exclusionary conduct. i think that if anything has illustrated the need to look back at the cust holiday should have some of these industries, it would be the lawsuits filed by doj. for example, facebook's acquisition of instagram and whatsapp. i suggest you look at mark zuckerberg's email where he talked about purchasing nascent competitors. the answer to that has got to come from the justice department. that this kind of exclusionary conduct is not the way capitalism works in america. we have alys had a balance, we had a balance through republican and democratic presidents to say
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we believe in a capitalist system, and we have to keep rejuvenating it by allowing smaller competitors to emerge. that is not happening right now in many areas and i need your commitment you will take this area seriously. judge garland: i take it very seriously and have throughout my career. the supreme court has repeatedly referred to the antitrust laws a charter of american economic liberty and i believe that. >> this is the first test of the new regime. we are going to take a break for 10 minutes and resume at 11:20 for the much anticipated questioning from senator lee. judge garland: thank you, mr. chairman. [gavel]
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announcer: merrick garland appearing for the senate committee, just taking a 10 minute break. the committee vote on judge garland's nomination is expected to get be -- expected to be
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given to the senate monday. we are also planning on hearing from lawmakers if they speak to reporters, if possible. while they are in the spray, we will take a look at some of the opening statements. judge garland: i am grateful to them, to my entire extended family that is watching today on c-span. the president nominates the attorney to be the lawyer, not for any individual, but for the people of the united states. july 2020 marked the 150th
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anniversary of the founding of the department of justice, making this a fitting time to remember. 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 law. it is a fitting time to recognize the more than 100,000 career employees of the department and law enforcement agencies and their commitment to serve the cause of justice and protect the safety of our communities. if i have confirmed -- if i am confirmed as attorney general, it will be the culmination of a career i dedicated to assuring the laws of this country are fairly and faithfully enforced and the rights of all americans are protected. before he became a judge 24 years ago, a significant portion of my professional life was spent at the justice department. as a speculative for --, the
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last of the trio of post-watergate attorneys general, as a line assistant, a supervisor in the criminal division, and as a senior official in the department. many of the policies at the department developed during those years are the foundation, or reaffirming the norms that will ensure the department adheres to the rule of law. these are policies that protect the independence of the department from partisan influence in law enforcement, strictly reggie -- regulates communications with the white house and establishes guidelines for intelligence collection, but sure freedom of the press -- respect the professionalism of doj employees and that set out the principles of federal prosecution to guide the
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exercise of prosecutorial discretion. in conversations i have had with many of you before this hearing coming have asked why a would agree to leave a lifetime appointment as a judge. i have told you i love being a judge, but i have also told you that this is an important moment for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the department of justice and for its critical role. celebrating doj's 150th year reminds us of the origins of the department which was founded during reconstruction in the aftermath of civil war to secure the civil rights that were promised in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment. the first attorney general appointed by president grant, led a concerted -- to protect black voting rights from the violence of white extremists.
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successfully prosecuting hundreds of cases against white supremacist members of the ku klux klan. almost a century later, the civil rights act of 1957 created the department's civil rights division with the mission to uphold the civil rights of all americans, particularly some of the most volatile members of our society. that mission, on the website of the department's civil rights division, remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice. communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system. they bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution and climate change. 150 years after the department's
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founding, battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions also remains central to the department's mission. from 1995 to 1997, i supervised the prosecution of the perpetrators of the bombing of the oklahoma city federal building, who sought to spark a revolution that would topple the federal government. if confirmed, i will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists, and others, who stormed the capitol on january 6. a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government. that critical work is but a part of the broad scope of the department's response abilities. justice department protects americans from environmental degradation vis-a-vis the use of market power, from fraud,
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corruption, violent crime and cyber crime and cybercrime, drug trafficking and toiled -- child expectation. -- child exploitation. it must do this without ever taking their eyes off the risk of another attack by foreign terrorists. the attorney general takes an as to support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic. i am mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with this. as attorney general robert jackson famously said, "the prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in america." while prosecutors at their best are one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when they act from malice, or other base
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motives, they are one of the worst. jackson then went on to say, "the citizen's safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, seeks truth and not victims, serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches the task with humility. -- humility." that was the prosecutor i tried to be during prior service and department of justice. that is the spirit i tried to bring as a federal judge. if confirmed, i promise to do my best. to live up to that ideal as attorney general. thank you.
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announcer: the judiciary committee hearing for judge merrick heartland -- merrick garland, president biden's appointment for attorney general. waiting for them to return. the committee vote on judge garland's nomination is expected to be given to the full senate next monday. just waiting for this break to
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end and this hearing to resume.
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sen. lee: thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate your kind words about former attorney general ed lee b. i have been a lifelong admirer of his. he truly is an attorney general and the grand tradition of that office. he had someone my family have known in one way or another for a long time.
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my late father worked for him. while he was running the civil division during ed leavy's time, had close and professed -- close personal and professional interactions. leavy's grandson served with me as my chief counsel and worked on this committee for several years and later service chief of staff to attorney general barr. i'm glad he is someone you look up to. i want to talk about a few issues. let's talk first about this -- the second amendment. going back 15 years or so -- announcer: the garland confirmation hearing resuming, but we have to step away for our commitment to the gavel-to-gavel
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coverage of the house. you can continue listening on the house meeting in a short pro forma session. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by chaplain kibben. chaplain kibben in honor of the birthday of our first president, george washington, i offer his own words as our prayer. almighty god, we make our ernest prayer that thou wilt keep the united states in thy holy protection, that thou will incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affect shun and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the united states at large. and finally, that thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice torques love mercy, and to demean ourselves


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