Days after an antigovernment extremist blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, Merrick Garland surveyed the bomb-ravaged scene, secured search warrants, tracked down records and met with survivors.
From the ground and back in Washington, Judge Garland, then a senior Justice Department official, oversaw the sprawling criminal investigation that ended in the convictions of Timothy McVeigh, who was executed in 2001, and Terry Nichols, who is serving a life sentence as an accomplice.
The attack that killed 168 people, including 19 children, was one of several major acts of violence that solidified for Judge Garland the urgency and complexity of the domestic terror threat, a perspective he would again bring to the Justice Department if confirmed as President Biden’s attorney general.
The threat took on new significance after the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, including far-right groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. While some of the violence appeared to be spontaneous, prosecutors have also alleged some members of the mob engaged in advance coordination in planning to disrupt the certification of Mr. Biden’s presidential win.
Mr. Biden has promised to make tackling domestic extremism a top priority for the Justice Department, which is prosecuting more than 200 people in connection with the riot on charges ranging from conspiracy and assaults on officers to obstructing an official proceeding.
Source: WSJ – US News