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tv   President Biden Delivers Remarks Holds Moment of Silence Marking 500000...  CSPAN  February 23, 2021 6:20am-7:00am EST

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on c-span two the senate hearing on tom vilsack and debate on linda thomas-greenfield's nomination for united nations and bessette are. then jerome powell on c-span3 with a semi annual monetary policy report to congress and on at 9:30 a.m., the confirmation during for debra haaland for interior secretary. also on c-span. org at 10:00 a.m. come a joint oversight hearing to examine the security failures which led to the u.s. breach on. january 6 watch live coverage today on c-span. c-span2, c-span3 and or listen on the c-span radio app. >> yesterday, president biden spoke about the u.s. surpassing 500,000 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic. he noted that the death toll
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surpasses u.s. deaths in world war i, world war ii and the vietnam war combined. >> 500,071 did which is more americans who died in one year from this pandemic then of world war i, world war ii, and the vietnam war combined. that's more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on earth.
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as we acknowledge the scale of this mast death in america, remember each person and the life they lived. they were people we knew. they were people we feel like we knew. read the obituaries and remember them. the sun who called his mom every night to check in, the father's, the daughter who lit up his world. the best friend who was always there. the nurse, the nurses who made their patients want to live. i was just in kalamazoo, michigan at the pfizer max -- at the pfizer vaccine manufacturing facility and i met a man whose father was dying of the virus and he was sat. i asked if i could call his father-in-law. he said his father-in-law was too sick to speak.
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then he said, could i pray for him. could i pray for him? we all know someone, fellow americans who live lives, who struggle with hope. they talked late into the night about their dreams. they wore the uniform born to serve, who loved and played and always offered a hand. we often hear people described as ordinary americans. there is no such thing. there is nothing ordinary about them. people we lost were extraordinary. they spanned generations. born in america, immigrated to america but just like that, so many of them took their final breath alone in america. as a nation, we cannot accept
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such a cruel fate. well we are fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. we have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. we must do so to honor the dead but equally important, care for the living, those who are left behind. for the loved ones left behind, i know all too well. i know what it's like to not be there when it happens. i know what it's like when you were there holding their hands and you look in there eye and they slip away. that black hole. in your chest, you feel like you're being sucked into it. the survivor's remorse and anger. the questions of faith in your
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soul. for some of you, it's been a year, month, week, a and even an hour. and i know that when you stare at that empty chair around the kitchen table, it brings it all back no matter how long ago it happened as if it just happened at that moment. the birthdays, the anniversaries, the holidays without them. and the everyday things, the small things, the tiny things that you miss the most, that sce when you open the closetn, where you met. the morning coffee you shared together, the bend in his smile, the perfect pitch to her laugh. i received a letter from a daughter whose father died of
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covid-19 on easter sunday last year. she and her children, his grandchildren and this season of lent reflected with heavy hearts. unable to properly mourn, she asked me in the letter, what was our loss among so many others? well, that's what has been so cruel. so many of the rituals that help us cope, that help us honor those we love haven't been available to us. the final rights with family gathered around, the proper home-going showered with stories and love, tribal leaders passing out the final traditions of sacred cultures on sacred lands. as a nation, we cannot and we must not let this go on.
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that's why the day before my inauguration, the covid-19 memorial at the reflecting pool at the national mall, i said to heal, we must remember. i know it's hard, i promise you i know it's hard, i remember. but that's how you heal, you have to remember. it's also important to do that as a nation. for those who have lost loved ones, this is what i know -- they are never truly gone. they will always be part of your heart. i know this as well. it seems unbelievable but i promise you, the day will come when the memory of the loved one you lost will bring a smile to your lips before a tear to your eye. it will come, i promise you.
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i prayer for you though is that they will come sooner rather than later. and that's when you know you're going to be ok. you're going to be ok. and for me, the way through sorrow and grief is the fine purpose. i don't know how many of you lost someone a while ago, you wonder if he or she is proud of me now, did i do what i want them to do. i know that's how i feel. we can find purpose, purpose worthy of the lies -- of the lives they lived in worthy of the country we love. so today, i ask all america to remember, remember those we lost in those who were left behind. as we remember, as we all
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remember, i also ask you to act, to remain vigilant, to stay socially distanced, to mask up, get vaccinated when it's your turn. we must end the politics and misinformation that has divided families and communities in the country. it has cost too many lives already. it's not democrats and republicans dying from the virus. it's our fellow americans, it's our neighbors, her friends, our mothers, our fathers, her sons, her daughters, husbands, wives. we have to fight this together as one people, as the united states of america. that's the only way we will beat this virus, i promise you. the only way to spare more pain and more loss, the only way is
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no more milestones to mark our national morning. let this not be a story of how far we fell but of how far we climbed back up. we can do this. in this year, with the profound loss, we have seen profound courage from all of you on the front lines. i know the stress, the trauma, the grief you carry but you give us hope. if you keep us going. you remind us that we do take care of our own, that we leave nobody behind. and while we have been humbled, we have never given up. we are america. we can and will do this. in just a few minutes, jill and i,, and doug kamala and doug
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will hold a vigil. join us to remember so we can heal, to find purpose in the work ahead, to show that there is light in the darkness. this nation will smile again, this nation will no sunny days ahead, this nation will know joy again. and as we do, we will remember each person we lost, the lives they lived and the loved ones they left behind. we will get through this, i promise you. my heart aches for those of you who are going through it right now. may god less you all particularly those who have lost someone. god bless you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> with the biden administration out leaving the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, follow the latest at, search the coverage of news conferences as well as remarks from members of congress, use the interactive gallery of maps to follow the cases in the u.s. and worldwide. go to coronavirus. >> cia director nominee william burns testifies wednesday morning at a confirmation hearing before the senate select intelligence committee. watch live beginning at 10 eastern on c-span three, online at or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> attorney general nominee
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merrick garland testified yesterday for about 5.5 hours. here are some highlights of the day beginning with some of his opening statement. 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
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the department of justice, making this a fitting time to 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,
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the last of the trio of's watergate -- of post-watergate 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
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exercise of prosecutorial discretion. 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.
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-- voting rights from the violence of white extremists, 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
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founding, battling extremist 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
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violent crime and cybercrime, 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
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act for malice, they are one of the worst. 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 punishment in cs against murderers or terrorists? judge garland: no. sen. cotton: you spoke at the outset about your outstanding work in the 1995 oklahoma city bombing case in which you were part of a team that helped bring to justice a white mass murderer. he was sentenced to death.
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that death penalty has been carried out. do you regret that timothy mcveigh received the death penalty and has been executed? judge garland: i supported that as i said in my original senate hearing when i became a judge originally, i supported the death penalty at that time for mr. mcveigh in that individual case. i don't have any regret. i have developed concerns about the death penalty. the sources of my concern are issues of exonerations. people who have been convicted of the arbitrariness and randomness of its application. and because of its disparate impact on black americans and members of other communities of color. those are the things that give me pause. those are things that have given me pause over the past 20 years.
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sen. cotton: you are confirmed as that -- if you are confirmed as attorney general and there was a case like timothy mcveigh were a white supremacist bombed a courthouse and your attorney sought approval for the death penalty would you give that approval? judge garland: it depends on the development of the policy. if the president asks or we develop a policy about moratorium it would apply across the board. no point in having a policy if you make individual discretionary opinions. if that is a policy that's the policy. sen. cotton: you said in your opening statement and in addition to several questions from senators that you would regulate communications between the white house, that there would be no partisan influence. in this case there would be influence from the white house? the u.s. attorney was seeking the death penalty against a white supremacist domestic terrorist? judge garland: what i'm trying to say is if there was a policy decision made by the president
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and announced by the president he certainly has the authority and nothing inappropriate about it within his authority to require an across-the-board moratorium. what i was talking about was not a decision by the president in any particular case or the direction of how any particular case should go forward. the moratorium would apply as a policy across the board. the supreme court has held the death penalty is constitutional, but not required. that is within the discretion of the president. sen. cotton: before we move on from oklahoma city, let me commend you for your work and that i believe that timothy mcveigh deserved the death penalty. another case involves still in the roof, i white supremacist from south carolina who went into an african-american church and killed nine african-americans in a racially motivated attack. the obama white house saw the death penalty for him.
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you believe it was a mistake to see that to seek the death penalty against dillon roof for murdering nine african-americans? judge garland: i'm not supposed to be asking you, but i have the feeling this is still a pending matter, and if it is i cannot talk about a particular case. sen. cotton: let me ask you the hypothetical. judge garland: i apologize for asking you. sen. cotton: let's oppose another white supremacist walks into another african-american church and murders african-americans worshiping christ in cold blood in the u.s. a trinity seeks the death penalty. would you approve it? sen. cotton: i think it does depend on what policy is adopted going forward. i would not oppose a policy of the president because it's within his authority to put a moratorium on the death penalty penalty in all cases. instead to seek mandatory life without possibility of parole. before the judiciary committee of the united states senate.
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>> thank you, i am grateful. sen. booker: if you don't mind me starting with philosophy there is the micah mandate, i'm not sure about your expression, but you have heard before it is due justice and love mercy. this idea of justice to me is fundamental to the ideas of the nation founded with a lot of injustice at the time. the brilliance of the imperfect geniuses of our founders who aspired to create a society that john lewis and others would have called a more beloved community. one thing i have read says what does love look like in public? it looks like justice. you have, to me, one of the most positions on planet earth for trying to create a more just society. the issues raised, and i was
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grateful in your opening remarks you talked about your agency coming about to deal with issues of justice in our nation. i want to talk to you about white supremacist violence that has been mentioned a lot. before i get there, i am concerned with something i consider pernicious and difficult to root out, which is the realities of implicit racial bias that lead to larger systemic racism. the issue of systemic racism has become something argued over. if i can walk you through for a second, does our justice system treat people equally in this country? judge garland: sadly, and as plain to me -- it is plain to me it does not. sen. booker: i'm going to stop you there. we have a common justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent because one's finances make a difference
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in what kind of justice one gets. judge garland: there is no question there is disparate treatment in our justice system. mass incarceration is a good example of this problem. we are incarcerating 25 -- almost 25% of the worlds population. we have something like 5% of the worlds population. i don't think that it's because americans are worse. what belies that is the disparate treatment of blacks and the communities of color. sen. booker: let's drill down on that. one big thing driving arrests in our country is marijuana arrests. we had in 2019 more marijuana arrests for possession then all violent crime arrests combined. when you break out that data and segregate along racial lines it's shocking that an
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african-american has no difference in usage or selling than someone who is white in america, but their likelihood of being arrested for doing things that two of the last four presidents admitted to doing is three to four times higher than somebody white. is that evidence that within the system there is implicit racial bias, yes or no? judge garland: it is definitely evidence of disparate treatment within the system, which i think does arise out of implicit bias. unconscious bias may be, sometimes conscious bias. sen. booker: i think that is a fair point. unconscious or conscious it results in a system -- i've had great conversations with people on both sides of the aisle who think of this as important to american ideals that we have a system that so desperately treats people. the stationhouse adjustment which i have seen happen as a mayor. people get called in for arrest for marijuana and police make a decision like, just leave and
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your parents, and it's dismissed. we have seen from stationhouse adjustments, to charge and, to sentencing, every objective analysis has shown that race in our country is still playing a specific influence in the justice someone gets. you are aware of this? judge garland: i am and this is a reason why at this moment i think i wanted to be the attorney general. sen. booker: i want to get to that. a point that a lot of folks are making, it does not mean that the people who are engaged in this are racist overtly. it means they have an implicit racist bias that leads them to make different decisions about people. judge garland: yes. it also -- the marijuana example is a perfect example. here is a nonviolent crime that does not require us to incarcerate people and we are
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incarcerating at significantly different rate in different communities. that is wrong and it's the kind of problem that will then follow a person for the rest of their lives. it will make it impossible to get for -- to get a job and will lead to a downward economic spiral. sen. booker: to your point before, hearing you are in an agency that was formed to deal with systemic racism going on at that time, when you have disparate views of the law where you see african-americans being turned into the carbonneau justice system, it is concentrated in certain communities and not others, where the american bar association says 40,000 poetical -- collateral consequences on the lives of african-americans where they can't get loans from banks or jobs. they can't get certain business licenses.
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it's so dramatic that their estimates that the costs to african-americans and the persistence of a wealth gap in our country where black families have 1/10 the wealth of white families. if you look at the impact of the law and the disparate impact on marijuana it's estimated to have caused african-americans in this country billions of dollars more. my question is, assuming this position where you were called upon for that mandate, what are you going to do about this outrageous injustice that persists and infects our society with such a toll on black and brown communities? judge garland: there are many things that justice department has to do in this regard. i agree that disparate results with respect to wealth accumulation, discrimination in employment, housing, and health care availability, all of which we all see now in the consequences of the pandemic which affects communities of
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color enormously more with respect to infection rates and hospitalization. and ultimately to death. one set of things we can do is the mass incarceration example. we can focus our attention on violent crimes and other crimes that put great danger in our society and not allocate our resources to something like marijuana possession. we can look at our charging policies and stop charging the highest possible offense with the highest possible sentence. sen. booker: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
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capabilities of those two but it does not matter which foreign terrorists -- the terrible thing is the attack. 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
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year, sometime, i hope i am wrong, let us know they are still there. it is greatsen. grassley: my lan 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 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
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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. >> day two of merrick garland's confirmation hearing to be attorney general continues today with outside witnesses. including retired judge ken starr. you can watch it at 10:00 eastern on c-span. live today, the senate committee hears some california attorney general javier becerra at 10:00 a.m. on c-span. at 2:00 p.m. mouse returns for
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general speeches. at 4:00 members consider the naming of four post offices. on c-span 28:30, the senate natural resource committee hears from deborah haaland, president biden's nominee to be interior secretary. they resume debate on the u.s. -- on c-span3, federal reserve chairman jerome powell delivers his semiannual on military policy report to the senate banking committee. >> dayton, ohio mayor, a vice president of mayors talks about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted city budgets. later,


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