tv Hearing on White Supremacy Domestic Terrorism Threat CSPAN June 7, 2022 9:00pm-11:36pm EDT
smearing herself and her friends bled and playing dead testifies at a house oversight on gun violence wins it will also from victims families from both uvalde and the recent supermarket shooting in buffalo, new york that is live at 10:00 a.m. on c-span three, c-span now our free mobile video app, or any time email@example.com. next a hearing on domestic terrorism and white supremacy with the former fire commissioner of buffalo, new york whose mother was killed in that city's mass shooting. he testified alongside academics and law enforcement officers about the rise in white supremacy, the role of social media, and gun legislation the senate judiciary committee hearing is two and half hours. : : : will come to order.
the judiciary committee will examine one of the more serious threats facing america today, domesticy terrorism. this hearing comes just three weeks after one of the worst domestic attacks in recent memory, the shooting in buffalo new york. a white supremacist entered tops grocery store and massacred ten black americans in cold blood wounding three others. i want to read into the hearing record names we shouldn't
forget. andre mcneil, aaron salter, geraldine, celestin cheney, heywood patterson catherine massey, pearl young and ruth whitfield. behind each of those names is a story. a loving grandmother of six, a sister caring for her six brother. every one of the victims that are left behind are grieving the loss.
it is a lesson of courage and love. please know that you are not alone. and houses of worship we have enthe responsibility to do something. nearly nine in ten americans agree we need sensible gun laws reform in the country and we need it now. we often hear the question asked why do mass shooters engage in such acts, one of the motivations is the focus of this hearing. domestic terrorism. the threat that is in the words
of the fbi director metastasizing across the country. i was just handed a a press release as it came into the room that there was a federal indictment handed down today and the white supremacist group including the former leader charging them with conspiracy for their roles in the january 6 assault. for those who believe it is a contrivance that doesn't reflect reality, these indictments indicate that we are talking about real life crime and real-life terrorism. violent extremism, however, doesn't appear out of thin air. i would like to turn to a video of the role of the media and the role that they played in dragging hateful rhetoric into mainstream america and how it is inspiring actsd of violence. the country is being stolen from
american citizens. >> we want to replace with new amnesty citizens. >> is to bring in the illegal and makes the own country poor. it is a war and undefended collapses. >> ltthe tens of thousands perhs millions of americans to their deaths. >> we have every right to fight and preserve the nation and the heritage and culture the white supremacist opens fire on a supermarket. the greatest replacement theory motivated this white supremacist.
>> he left behind five kids. >> the light that shone through whatever darkness. aaron salter stepped into his assignment. >> surviving aneurysms and breast cancer. >> the action against of gun violence that ended up taking hersu life. >> my mother and my best friend. this needs to be fixed. we first held a hearing on domestic terrorism in the year 2012, ten years ago after the white supremacist murdered seven
worshipers in oak creek wisconsin. sadly, ten years later the threat has only grown worse. in the decades since, the violent white supremacists have killed innocent americans in a series of sickening attacks and include mass shootings at the annual church in south carolina in 2015 and the synagogueth in 2018, walmart in el paso texas in 2019. each was committed by a lone gunman they are part of a larger pattern. don't take my word for it. during the prior administration, the fbi and the department of homeland security found, and i quote, white supremacist extremism poses a threat of lethal violence and since 2000, white supremacists, quote, were responsible for war, homicide and more than any other group. if it is a finding by our government.
white supremacists were responsible for more homicides than any other domestic extremism movement. in this trend it raises the obvious question. why is it getting
worse. we cannot deny that hate has a big platform as we all saw in the video there are figures like tucker carlson dragging racist conspiracy theories into mainstream america. more than 400 episodes of tucker carlson's show have amplified of the so-called great replacement conspiracy theory, guiding principle of the white supremacist movement. as lawmakers we must speak of one please and repudiate this incendiary rhetoric along with any individual or extremist groups and while there are no simple solutions for addressing the violent extremism, the promising start is a domestic
terrorist prevention act which i first introduced in 2017. i'm sorry to say the senate was unable to move this forward when i offered it two weeks ago but my hope is that it will mark a shift in theirir willingness to work together and combating domestic terrorism. that is our obligation as lawmakers and if it is our responsibility to the families like those in this room who lost a loved one to unspeakable acts ofan hate. and i turned to the ranking nmember for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chair man. this is our third hearing on this threat of domestic terrorism. march of last year director of the fbi testified before us that the threat of domestic terrorism is growing. he testified to another
committee that the fbi some of thel cases involved the capital riot on january 6th. and another is a tragic event the chair man just referred to, the terrible attack by young white were racist killing ten in buffalo. 1 of those killed in that act of terrorism was ruth whitfield here with us today. nearly 600 events were anti-police riots that erupted in dozens of cities in 2020. the fbi executive assistant
director testified before us in january that 800 domestic terrorism investigations were opened as a result of the 2020 riots. that was five months ago. each time we speak with the fbi, the number has usually risen by a few hundred. however, due to theea lack of federal jurisdiction, this is only a small fraction of the were arrested just in the first few weeks, tens of thousands appear to have participated in mass violence. i was truly surprised by the sheer number of americans that have been willing to engage in violence in support of anti-police rhetoric. 2,000 police officers were
injured. 25 people were killed and there was $2 billion of property damage with arson as the preferred tactic. for anyone who thinks the violence from the political left ended in 2020, it didn't. in may of 2022, the report by the center of strategic and international studies found that 40% of all domestic terrorist attacks in 2021 were from the left. anyone who thinks that the violence from the far left didn't begin in 2020, it didn't. in 2016, two black racists killed eight police officers in dallas and baton rouge in the 11 days according to the may 2021
report from the fbi. the black racially motivated violent extremism was the deadliest ideology in 2017. even though many in the press only focus on the far right attacks, the most deadly ideologies often changes year to year. so in 2018 and in 2019, that was white racially motivated violent extremism. but in 2020, antigovernment extremism was the most lethal ideology. 1 constant of domestic terrorism iss that the threat is always shifting and violence comes from all sides of the political spectrum. an asian man drove a car into a peaceful protest in favor of the
fair treatment of african-americans. the new york subway shooter delivered tirades against white americans before these crimes. i've said it before and i will say it again. we all have to contend the clinical violence. we have the time and the resources to combat violence committed under the banner of every deadly ideology. we do not have to choose. we must combat all. at the same time, we have to protect speech. a sanders supporter tried to murder republicans in a congressional baseball game in 2017.
i guess that was in the practice session getting ready for that game. agreeing with bernie sanders politically is protected by the first amendment. trying to kill others in support is not. cti don't think any republicans tried to argue that being a bernie sanders supporter made a person a domestic terrorist just because one person who agreed with him was. wepa have to avoid the name-calling because we disagree over major issues. it is unfair for example to a quiet republican concerns over illegal immigration with racist extremism and of course that is profoundly sad. if we are going to come together toil solve the problems of domestic terrorism, we have to do so with an eye to solving the
problems that truly exist. reorganizing offices in the department of justice that have asked to be not reorganized doesn't do that. foisting reporting and focusing requirements on them that are intended tore push that to combt the audiology more than the others won't help anyone. we have to listen to what is truly needed. those operating in the terrorism space have asked for a slew of authorities to help them combat international terrorism. i introduced an amendment last year to give them these authorities. it didn't pass at that time. i hope it well this year when again i offer. finally, we have to come together to protect our law enforcement officers.
the csis report that i mentioned already found that law enforcement officers have increasingly become targets of domestic terrorists from all sides of the political spectrum. the report states that government, military and especially law enforcement were the primary targets of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in 2021,rc composing 43% of all attacks. law enforcement officers were the targets and 48% of the violent left events 37% of the violence far right events and all jihadist events in 2021. that from time to time while our police and military are often the victims of extremists and violins, in
turnto they are accused of being the hotbed of extremism. in may ofst this year we receivd an fbi report that stated, quote, available fbi reporting did not reveal the resist extremist infiltration into a ball enforcement. we've been briefed by the fbi that extremism is no more common in the military than a general population and is not limited to wife's racism, but includes black racism and ideology appearing within the ranks. if we are going to be serious about combating extremism, we need to be realistic that the threat is often from outside law enforcement and the military and directed against them, not the other way around.
in fact, these baseless accusationsd of the widespread extremism in law enforcement and in the military probably only strengthen the likelihood that innocent officers andem servicemembers willly unfairly become targets for violent attacks in 2018 members of aunt eva in philadelphia assaulted two marines believing them to be white supremacists. they were not. they were hispanic. it's important those of us in avpositions to lead be clear tht all violence will never be tolerated.an i look forward to working together toti do that and i will yield back. >> let me be clear i agree with you. violence is unacceptable in this constitutional democracy. today we welcome five witnesses. i will introduce the majority and then turned to the ranking
member to introduce the minority witnesses. mr. coronel junior is the former fire commissioner in buffalo and tragically lost his mother, ruth in the buffalo attack last month. i know it's not easy for you to be here today with your loss and grief but we appreciate you coming forward to speak for many of the families and friends in such a terrible time in dealing with this loss. we are also joined by the professor of the university of chicago in addition to serving as the professor of political science he's the director of the chicago project of security and threats and i first learned of your work on one of your television presentations and i'm glad you could be here today to make a presentation. the final witness is mr. michael german a former fbi special agent currently serving as a fellow at the brennan center for justice liberty and national security. ranking member grassley, would you like to introduce your
witness? >> thank you for the privilege. a partner in the cleveland office law firm and served as u.s. attorney for the northern district of ohio, 2017 to 2021. he was jointly recommended to that position with bipartisan support from our colleagues. as attorney, he was widely recognized for his success in fighting terrorism and violent crimes. he was also the vice chair of the attorney general's advisory committee. while a prosecutor in the u.s. attorney's office, he prosecuted the case of the bridge bombers and also currently serves as the judge advocate in the u.s. air force reserve. we thank him for his service and for testifying today.
.jonathan is the purpose of public-interest law, george washington university law school and is nationally recognized as y a legal scholar who's written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. he is a specialist on questions of separations of powers and first amendment among many other things. he's represented numerous high-profile clientsts and cases raising these areas of law. we also see his thoughtful commentary on cable tv several timesnt a week. thank you for testifying today. >> thank you, senator grassley. let me lay out the mechanics of the hearing. after i swear in the witnesses each will have five minutes to make a statement and then we will have rounds of questioning and each will have five minutes and i ask everyone to try to respect thee time limits. now i'men going to ask as
tradition of the senate judiciary committee for the witnesses to stand to be sworn in. >> raise your right hand. do you affirm the testimony you're about to give before the committee is the truth, the fwhole truth and nothing but te truth, so help you god? >> thank you very much and let the record reflect the witnesses all answered in the affirmative. i'm going to ask you to make an initial opening statement and then we will go down the table in order. >> thank you, senator. to the members of this honorable of all of thef victims who were murdered or injured on may 14th and their families, we sincerely thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. i will ben sharing with you some of my families memories about my mother and the devastation that her murder has brought upon our family,my the truth is i'm speaking on behalf of all of the victims and their families.
missus whitfield was my mother. she was literally and figuratively the heartbeat of our family and my father's soulmate for 68 years. she was the person that held us together.. probably just like your mother's did for your families. what i loved most about her was the way she loved her family unconditionally. sacrificing everything for us. she visited my father the nursing home where he lived for the past eight years almost every dayor including on the day she was murdered. to ensure he got the care he needed from the nursing home and to supplement that care with their own personal and loving touch. our lives are forever changed. forever damaged by the act of profound hate and evil and nothing will ever take away the hurt, the pain or the hole in
our heart. for herno to be murdered, taken away from us by someone so full of hate is impossible to understand and even harder to live with. but we are more than hurt. we are angry. we are mad because this never should have happened. we are good citizens, goodld people. we believe inen god and trust in god but this wasn't an act of god. this was an act of a person and he, didn't act alone. he was radicalized by white ansupremacists with anger and hatred metastasized like a cancer by people with big microphones and high places screaming that black people were going to take away their jobs and opportunities.
every enforcement agency tried to protect the homeland as aconducting risk and threat analysis to determine the white supremacy is the number one threat to the homeland. and yet nothing has been done to mitigate or eradicate it. we are people of decency. weha are taught to love even our enemies but our enemies don't love us. so, what are we supposed to do with all of our anger and pain? do you expect us to continue to just forgive and forget over and over again? and what are you doing? nuyou are elected to protect us and our way of life. i ask every one of you to imagine the phases of your mother's as you look at mine and ask yourself is there nothing that we can do, is there nothing you personally are willing to do
to stop the cancer of the white supremacy and the domestic terrorism that inspires because if there is nothing then rrrespectfully senators, you should use your position of authority and influence on others that are willing to lead on this issue. the urgency of the moment demands no less. my mother's life mattered. my mother's life mattered. your actions here today would tell us how much it matters to you. thank you. members of the committee and the judiciary it is an honor to appear to discuss the threat of domestic terrorism a subject that should unite all americans.
you will find no disagreement among h the witnesses on that ad and while the means may be subject to qualifications, we share the common purpose in combating domestic terrorism. the powerful voice of mr. whitfield just now reminds us how urgent this task is. i offer my testimony in that spirit to try to identify areas of one of the pieces of legislation that i believe should be addressed to deal with some constitutional concerns. extremist into violent a speech is obviously not an abstraction for the people that work in this building. members of both houses had to be rescued in 2020 due to a disgraceful attack on the capital. we all have the reason to oppose these violent elements on both the left and the ride. however, the constitution doesn't pose limits on the range of actions for congress.
theud prioritization of the particular terrorism cases raises a novel question that falls under a gray area of separation of powers comes of it admittedly this could have people of good faith on either side. i think it would run afoul of the separation of powers units because of the use of the mandatory language in terms of a dedicating resources within the executive branch for those ads. there is obviously a powerful interest in congress in this
area. i am a scholar, so i tend to favor the legislative authority. i still do in this area. but, there is also countervailing legislation and encroachment issues that could occur under the separation of powers. i spent a considerable amount of time in our testimony and free speech where i do a lot of my writing. i've been described as a free speech where there was a compliment. as i talk about in the testimony and we have a checkered history of free speech impairments and criminalization's. it occurs at the times that we are angry, when we are afraid,
under attack. but they tried to execute those that held them. itit went through the civil war and woodrow wilson and the trenactment of the espionage ac. in each of those. it's not. one branch but all three branches failed the constitution. all three branches allowed to the attacks to occur on free speech. and it obviously continued with the red scare. for the criminalization of speech. i believe that this expansion by the terrorist investigations to raise legitimate questions that we have to deal with not to intrude upon those areas and that is a position that i felt for many years as many members know i've opposed the broad interpretation of the tigger off some for 30 years and i have
been one of the most vocal critics of the anti-free speech movement in the history that i was one of the first to object to for the same reason. we have to be very careful. not because we have different interests but in the system it is often as important. fortunately, even though we live in dangerous times, we have a constitution designed for bad times. for the motives to try to combat extremism and protect those things that also define us. thank you again for the honor of
appearing before you mr. whitfield's right of violent populism is rising in america. even dislike the buffalo shooting that target the minority populations in january 6th but reflect the consequences of extremist ideas moving from the fringed to the mainstream. if i could please have the next slide. if i could have the previous slide to that the key extremist idea is the replacement at the bottom of year that minorities would have more rights than whites and if these extremist ideas would be mainstream the domestic terrorism is evolving and more dangerous ways. january 6th, 2021 we witnessed senator mitch mcconnell a violent insurrection for the
purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after the legitimately certified election. the key characteristic of the 800 individuals charged in connection with the attack on the capitalist that they are middle-class whites residing in counties with a loss of the white populations share exactly who would most likely feared the great replacement as described by the political and media leaders. may 14th just weeks ago a shooting occurred in buffalo new york where the shooter a self-described populist methodically selected his target in order to kill the numbers of lane minority group related to the great replacement. these are widespread in the u.s. population. and we need to prepare for the potential political violence in the future. let's look at the facts. next slide. the demographicsla are striking. over half of those charged with committing crimes on january 6th were either business owners and
ceos or from white-collar occupations. the last time in america's soft middle-class whites involved in collective political violence with an expansion of the kkk and the 1920s. next slide. nearly 90% charged were not members of militia and extremist groups. the political geography is alsoo striking. over half of those charged with committing crimes january 6th came from counties that biden one including large, urban, democratic strongholds like dallas, houston, new york city, chicago, san francisco and los angeles. the feature of the counties with insurrectionist's is the loss of non-hispanic white populations. the more the county lost the white population and became diverse, the much higher rate of having an insurrectionist. some policies don't wait.
they are deliberately being replaced by a minorities and destined to become second-class citizens. the decline in one's community can reinforce into seemingly any confirm these political and media narratives and have an impact beyond the electoral politics. next slide. the buffalo shooter is a prime example. the shooter's manifesto clearly describes the motive as targeting the minority population to prevent what he perceived as the complete racial and cultural replacement of white americans. next slide. importantly, the shooter lived in new york which had one of the largest declines in non-hispanic population share since 2010. nearly 8%. this underscores the population decline near the home can influence individuals with violent populist sentiments. to understand the risk going forward we conducted a representative survey with
respected firms at the university of chicago fielded in april just weeks ago. we asked respondents whether they agree joe biden stole the 2020 election and is an illegitimate president and whether they agreed the use of force is justified. as you can see, tens of millions of americans agree with these radical sentiments. most disturbing we found 7% of american adults that equates to 18 million people agree both that joe biden is illegitimate and the use of force is justified to restore trump to the presidency. this is important. a key indicator of the long-term political violence is the pull of the population of the disease political violence is justified and so this figure is extremely concerning. the two driving are the great
replacement, 75% agree with that and second, the cold idea. we did look at other economic and other factors, but the great replacement and conspiracies are at the far more powerful drivers. last slide. we need to go beyond prosecution after the fact to prevention. our country needs annual public reports byby law enforcement assessing incidences in which people in the political spectrum from neo-nazis turn to violence so we can better understand the extent and the source of the greatest threats. our country needs a national on the factsbased about the consequences of the violent ideas moving into the mainstream. ultimately, the solution to the violent populism's are the pillars that have always guided our great american democracy. dialogue and listening to each other. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you.
thank you mr. chairman andan ranking member grassley for the invitation to speak before the committee on the issue of domestic terrorism. i spend nearly 20 years in my professional career as a federal prosecutor but also in the military in the field of counterterrorism. i bring to bear one perspectivee on the work before the committee i believe that my experience as a prosecutor in the district of ohio is of particular relevance on the subject. the northern district comprises the northernmost counties of the state and it's a true cross-section of modern america. i had the honor of serving the district as a justice department official as an assistant united statesti attorney from 2006 to 2013 and a venice united states attorney from 2017 to 2021. the title of the hearing i believe is fitting. in my career i've seen the threat metastasize and by that, i mean, it has both spread in that the incidences are occurring at a greater frequency and changed and that the nature
includes different actors offering new challenges to law enforcement. the tools brought to bear against sugar was particularly domestic have had to adapt as well. to help illustrate the changing nature of the threat i would point to a few cases in my district which i either work directly as a prosecutor were supervised as u.s. attorney. my early work as a federal prosecutor in the national security unit was primarily devoted toto investigating and prosecuting cases involving international terrorism but by 2010 in ohio we started to observe in optic and violent osextremism with no connection o international terrorism. 1 example in 2012 a group of men who were self-proclaimed anarchists considered a variety of attacks including the g8 summit in chicago and at the republican national convention in tampa. ultimately they attempted to detonate a device at the bottom of the route 82 bridge in ohio and a bridge that is crossing
the national park and of their intent was to bring down the entire bridge. in 2013 i was part of the trial if the only conspirator from the group who went to trial. in addressing my tenure as attorney is a picture that we face i would likeos to start by addressing the nature posed by the white supremacists either in the organized her individual capacity. it is profound and pervasive. in 201980 white supremacist named james was arrested for filming himself with a nazi firearm and over audio and multiple gunshots and screaming people in the background threatening a mass shooting at the community center in youngstown ohio. this is the same place to pause as the jewish community is one with which i work very closely as u.s. attorney. white supremacists pose a threat to the jewish friends and neighbors but they are by noac means the only such threat. a case of the office persecuted in late 2018 demonstrates the ecomplex and serious picture,
threat picture faced by america's jewish communities. the recent convert to islam and assault about jihadi. having been inspired by only videos and materials produced, he became increasingly radicalized in the fall of 2018. after the attack on the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh, he conducted surveillance of the area synagogues and scripted a nine-point plan for inflicting d mass casualties at the locations. he was arrested december 10th, 2018 and pleaded guilty to both federal terrorism and federal hate crimes charges which as far as i'm aware was the first time in prosecution for both of these offenses had been pursued. i raised the case because i think that it illustrates the grave threat posed to the united states and law enforcement by the host of actors. the picture that emerged was incredibly complicated. while the white supremacy and jihadior offers a cohesive set f warped principles that ultimately forms an ideology i
wasaw several cases that divided the easy categorization because it blended the evolving were simplyes nonexistent ideologies. for example, elizabeth and vincent armstrong were the toledo area couple that harbored a deep fascination with the columbine shootings in through the course of the fbi investigation they visited columbine high school in overtime this obsession with that event moved into active planning for the mass casualty attack at a specific bar. elizabeth separately attempted to acquire an explosive device for use against a gas pipeline. suthey were arrested in 2018 and ultimately was convicted of attempting to provide material support and in violation of 182339 a. 2 more cases, kristin jurgensen both arrested in 2020 and separate cases. ferguson was plotting and planned to capture or kill them when they responded to a false 911 call and had plans to attack
in ohio high school with explosives and firearms. i focused on these cases but there are many more from my tenure as the attorney that kept me up at night as a federal prosecutor and continue to do s today even though i'm no longer a justice department official. i appreciate this opportunity to address the committee and i look forward to answering any questions you might have. >> thanks. >> ranking member grassley and members of the. committee, thank you for inviting me to testify about white supremacist violence in the wake of the latest casualty attack. i would like to express the sympathies for the family members of those killed in buffalo and the communities targeted by the violence. i've been working on this problem since 1992 when the fbi assigned me to infiltrate the trafficking and illegal weapons and committing acts of violence. while recent attacks have raised public awareness of the white supremacists and far right militants violence, it isn't new. it's been a threat in the united
states since its founding yet the law enforcementri response remains deficient despite the result. the fbi doesn't even collect the data regarding violence committed by domestic violent extremist groups. the professor discussed the great replacement theory that also i agree it is easy to blame social media for spreading the conspiracy theories as they are and havese been part of our political discourse, part of our almainstream political discourse but policing the discourse shouldn't be a law enforcement matter. the vast majority of people who traffic these theories do not present a threat of violence. law enforcement should instead focus narrowly on those that do and investigate their crimesin early and target their instrumentality. it seems intuitive that effective media monitoring might provide clues that could help law enforcement to prevent such attacks. after allin the white supremacit attackers in buffalo, pittsburgh and el paso gained access to
materials online and expressed their hateful intentions on social media. if somebody had reported this activity to law enforcement it is presumed the police could have acted to prevent an attack. threatening rhetoric isd commonplace and not just on social media. in the buffalo case, threats the shooter allegedly made in school were reported to law enforcement resulting in a psychological evaluation but no follow-up. perhaps that's because the broae scale social media monitoring see something saysu something programs raised so many false alarms that it drowns out the threats and overwhelms law enforcement and the response. law enforcement's tendency to downplay the threat of the white supremacist violence may also play a role. while the counterterrorism experts acknowledge the white supremacist and militants are the most persistent and lethal threats in the domestic terrorism program law enforcement has a history of prioritizing lesser threats particularly protest movements
led by people of color, civil rights activists, peace activists andt environmentalis. failingti to produce domestic terrorism data leaves the justice department and of the fbi free to set priorities based on their own institutional bias. if law enforcement is to be effective in addressing this violence it is essential to better understand how the violent element within the white supremacist movement operates. congress has done its part to provide all of the authority it needs. 51 federal crimes in the tigger was ad nine to five federal hate crime statutes organized crimes, conspiracy statutes. the problem is that the justice department and fbi choose not to prioritize the white supremacist violence and they obscure the data that is necessary to drive the reform. if he white supremacist murderers somebody the fbi could consider it a crime and active odomestic terrorism, hate crime or violent crime. if the fbi categorizes it as domestic terrorism, the investigation would be well
resourced and robustly investigated but it often puts white supremacist violence into prayer list programs such as civil rights in violent crimes, whereby the justice department policies most incidents are deferred to state and local. when senator durbin introduced the domestic actwh of 2017, seeking specific data about the white supremacist and far right militants violence into the fbi's use of the domestic terrorism resources, the fbi instead shuffled its domestic terrorism categories to obscure this data. the justice department likewise hides the data of the prosecutions removing the docket numbers from the prosecuted data that it providesth to congress when it claims domestic terrorism success. the brennan center's food to get the docket numbers but the justice department refused to provide them all claiming that all prosecution statistics are domestic terrorists. the true nature and scope of the
white supremacist threats must be understood to establish the effective reform. congress needs better data about this violence and more transparency about how the justice department and fbi use the domestic terrorism resources. i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. i will start with a five minute round. professor, the great replacement theory is nothing new. to some form of it has been around forever. in the united states we have seen evidence of it with of the activities of the ku klux klan during reconstruction and even into the 20th century. i grew up in saint louis illinois in the early 1900s, with the great migration there was a visceral reaction against african-americans thatli lead ta race riot in the city as well as my current hometown of springfield illinois, and that led to the creation of the naacp. so, we have seen this many times
over. the only question that comes to my mind is this is a different time. do you find in your research the social media approach to information is exacerbating the situation. can we add to that the automatic weapons that theyes are now givg to these mad men who are inspired by this racism the means to kill so many innocent people as they did in buffalo? is that the difference? >> there are two big differences. first, we have the volatile capabilities and those are the weapons you're talking about now combined with volatile ideas and beliefs in the mainstream. if not one or the other, you've got the combination of the two which is why we are seeing many more of these events in the united states than we are say in britain. ande this is a very important combination that is a deadlye
cocktail that promises more violence going forward. the second big change is that we are now seeing those who advocate the great replacement received political benefits and financial benefits. so if we look at politicians, politicians in america in the mainstream are either directly or indirectly stressing the great replacement and becoming more popular. donald trump the former president of the united states is more powerful today as a result of january 6th van he would have been without. that is a very worrisome trend. the figures you showed a number of them they are more popular today as a result of the great replacement so what we are seeing is incentives for more
politicians and figures to follow in those paths. these are the big changes today and why we have to be so concerned about the 2022 and especially 2024 election seasons. we have a challenge to respect the constitution, bill of rights into freedom of speech and yet we see the reality reported by law enforcement here in washington and across the nation that many of the statements are pushing people into extreme violent behavior. there is no easy way to define the line to be drawn to respect the constitution and still keep america safe. what are your thoughts? >> i think that the concept of terrorism and radicalization that the fbi and justice department have and braced isn't established in the evidentiary
studies. my own experience there were people that were neo-nazis and memorized parts of speech is and what influenced by the audiology and others who just liked to make bombs. this was a group that appreciated their bomb making skills. understanding how the violent element operates and networks is much more important than understanding the audiology because there are lots of people who adopt this ideology who are against violence. i had people who were ardent nazis find out who i was hanging out within the movement and put their arm around me and say you are hanging out with the wrong people. come work with us andnd we will put out a newsletter that we can do everyt weekend to put a suit on you and run for the school board. wehe can do things that don't involve violence that will get you killed or put in prison and that won't help the movement. so it's critical for law enforcement too understand the difference and understand how
the violent element works. and my concern is this radicalization theory pushes law enforcement to wantth to grab me information from social media or other public forms of communication rather than focusing on the floor which millionsn of people share these bad ideas instead of focusing on the relatively smaller number of the violent acts into and understanding how the network. 1 of the things that really and case agent that worked my first case with me was able to do in los angeles was mapped all of the violent criminal acts that were occurring by way of supremacist and show how there was some connection between lots of them and if it is willcr justify the investigation to start doing that investigation. but today because the fbi puts these in different categories and more often than not divers with state and local investigators who may or may not prosecute those crimes, they
don't have the knowledge of how the critical element works and unfortunately, they don't seem to want to. there's been plenty of opportunities for them to actually collect the data about the violent crimes to understand it better but they choose not to you and i think that is part of the problem. >> one point that i will close with and that is the reason for the domestic terrorism act that i introduced was the decision and the trump administration to no longer have a category of the white supremacist crime reported to us. they merged it into a violent crime general categorya so that there would be no distinction. i believe more information is better particularly when it doesn't expand the authority of the government or given any new tools of the reports and the reality of what is happening across america. thank you mr. chairman and senator grassley. >> besides the bridge case you've been involved in the rights that broke out in 2020.
the fbi lacked the familiarity with the movement to see violence within riots coming. something both bar and wolf weren't about when they were secretaries. you've also seen threats from white racists, jihadists and actorsrs with anti-law enforcemt ideologies. how do we ensure the department of justice and fbi are nimble and flexible enough to respond to threats of violence caused by different ideologies and how varied is the domestic terrorism threat right now? >> the bottom line if you're in federal law enforcement you have to look at the conduct and the threat as it is being contemplated so you look to the violent act, the planning and thelo preparation.
frankly the ideology matters far less when you try to disrupt a okterrorism event beyond the actual conduct of the perpetrators unit has to be that way. ultimately a trial that ideology or whatever is motivating that person to commit this act is important because it is a mode of evidence into something you would want to be for the jury that you have to have federal law enforcement postured to be able to identify and respond to actual conduct by individuals and that requires the agency and prosecutors, close coordination with local law enforcement, close coordination with communities particularly vulnerable communities like i mentioned in my testimony. muslims as well. a whole host of communities of color and those that are under threat. you have to be postured to be able to respond and also i would add you have to be flexible in the way that you intake complaints. it's important for federal law enforcement to be responsive and to ensure that they are able to
prioritize and respond to complaints that are brought to their attention. >> is it constitutional to direct executive branch offices to investigate in combating violence committed pursuant to some extremist ideology more thanan others? >> i think that it's at best problematic and it does run afoul of separation of powers and this is that sort of gray area. separation of powers doesn't dramatically seal overlaps between the executive and legislative, but i think this would not fare well in terms of trying to force a priority between individual cases. the supreme court said over and over again and of the cases like quinn even though this body has investigatoryy powers it cannot intrude upon the choice of targets development e of cases, priorities given to particular
areas by the executive branch. that's pretty consistent coming out of the court and lower court cases so that's the one flag that i have and the conversation really should consider if someone represented one of the houseses of congress in litigation, one of the key use is that you don't want to go into litigation unless you have a fairly good idea how you're going to come out because you want to create president against your own institution. i would interview this is a very good course for this body becausewi i think the courts wod look with disfavor on the effort to force the executive branch and prioritize the particular types of cases within the category of terrorism. >> is it helpful to assign the offices around a national security threat that exists today or is it so rapid that
there is a benefit of flexibility?br >> i would always aaron flavor favor of the flexibility. there are in a moments notice the entire threat picture faced by federal law enforcement in the united statess could change as the result of an international incident or the result of some domestic political event. federal law enforcement has to be able to respond in a way that addresses the threat as it exists today as opposed to what it was yesterday or what it was in the preceding years. .. i hope you disrupt those threats. police are now increasingly becoming targeted for extremist violence. i've introduced together more
information on police. what else can we do to combat the rising tide of extremism, a violence directed against the police? >> is a real area of concern. again it's one of those things that does not depend on exideology. if someone is willing to engage in a violent attack they've almost always contemplated some sort of engagement with law enforcement. that leads to unfortunately proactive planning by perpetrators when they're actually seeking out to kill, capture, kidnap law enforcement. rhodes only be supportive of any federal effort to look into the incidence of terrorism directed at law enforcement pretty also would be supportive of any federal measure that would seek to criminalize attacks that are made with the intent of killing law enforcement because of thei. status. quick thinker senator grassley.a senator leahy. >> thank you chair durbin. i appreciate your holding this hearing because i find it
difficult to comprehend we are still in this? position. we are having the same conversation we've had for years now about domestic terrorism, racist ideology motivating violence. it is spreading across this country with little or no check against it. each day and each week seems to bring new tragic incidents increasing number committed by individuals old white supremacist ideologies. no one should be afraid of being murdered because they went to the grocery store or went to their place of worship. or when they go to work even here in the united statesac capitol. yet that is the reality facing millions of americans every day. the heinous mass shooting in buffalo last month is a painful reminder of domestic terrorism motivated by white supremacist
is still very present it is spreading in the united states. that is not hyperbole that is a fact. look to the fbi they reported the number of hate crimes in 2020 is the highest reported in etwo decades half of the investigation involved racially motivated violent extremists. 87%, 87% of the subjects of those investigations are white supremacist. there is another area of tragedy, ten individuals killed in buffalo for shopping at their local grocery store. something we all do it should be the safest place. they died at the hands of an individual who was motivated by a racist conspiracy. theory. there's got to be accountability for these crimes. we all try to get at the root causes of this growing hate.
and as the opening chair stated we need look not for than certain political leaders and media partners that fan the flames of thesese ideologies. and in doing that it gives them the sheen of legitimacy there giving matt mainstream validation. we can be heartbroken but we must be resolute because lives are dependent on us extinguishing the hate in our country. we pray for the victims we pray for congress and all the civil come together and pass real laws that will protect us. we have to stand up to misinformation. we have to act together. this should be above politics. i was so moved listening to your testimony and what you said
about your mother, my heart goes out to you. and everybody who lost people at the top friendly market grocery store. the parents that were married for 68 years i think of that as they celebrate the summer my 60th anniversary. he said your mother was the heart and rock of your family. i know what that means. what would you like us to know about your mother ruth and how your family has been impacted by that loss?th >> think you senator. i would like you to know my mother's life mattered. i would like you to know that there is nothing we can do to
bring hermo back. yoi would like you to know she d not deserve to be murdered. i would like you to know i equally frustrated with the banter in the discussions that have gone on for years. about s white supremacy, and equities within our society and while she was alive she spoke vigorously against it. when her death we are here to carry her legacy forward. to do what she is no longer able to do. we are here to ask for people here to do their jobs.
live up to the oath that they took to serve and protect the people of this country. that is what we are here for prayer we are not here to ask for favors. we are not here to debate this this did not start with my mother's passing. this is been going on my whole .life. i was born black and i was treated diffley from the day i was born in this country. it is time we stood up and recognize that. it is not okay and we cannot keep ignoringd it. thank you sir. >> i think you and pray that we will do the right thing for all americans and myr. family, for y black children and my white grandchildren i pray we do, thank you for your quick center
and qin senator leahy senator l? >> thank you, mr. chairman. professor turley i'd like to startth with you if that is oka. you recently wrote about the cases of two attorneys. mattis and rahman. each of these two defendants was facing domestic terrorism charges based on allegations they had thrown a molotov cocktail into a police vehicle during the antifa riots during the summer of 2020. despite pleading guilty lester tohe one count of a possessing d making an explosive device which i understood it should have carried with it ten year minimum sentence. the biden administration if i understand correctly, just agreed to a new plea agreement that will result in just a few years of prison time. professor turley, our violent attacks on police officers with
explosive devices under this circumstance are they domesticof terrorism events are they domestic terror threats? >> they certainly can be under the definition thats you have ie can fit into that. there are arguments to be made why they decided to downgrade that case from terrorism. the pleaea referred to did not enreceive a huge amount of combination it was still as you noted a plea to an offense that was a ten year offense. to keep in mind one of these individuals was trying to hand out molotov cocktails for other people to throw t them. and the other one when she was arrested was unapologetic and said they onlyth understand violence we speak through violence. so these were quite strong cases there captured on videotape. so it was surprising with the department of justice came in and said we are going to let you withdraw thee earlier plea andt
then pleaded down. the criminal defense attorney i thought it was really quite astonishing of the national security litigation i have not seen anything quite like that double step down to go to remove the earlier plea i think it was very controversial. i want to emphasize i think people of good faith can say the original designation of the case is terrorism. i could see arguments this should not fall within that definition. people of good faith maynas disagree on that as stepped down from the original plea that was so astonishing for some of us. >> okay. one of the things i worry about with all of this is any time there is an active domestic terrorism should be prosecuted for domestic terrorism is bad regardless of what ideology happens to flow from it. and a one of the concerns i've
heard expressed about the domestic terrorism prevention act concerns that have been attributed to department of justice career attorneys in reviewing the legislation they worry this could artificially constrain the department's resources directing them toward one particular ideology over another. with domestic terrorism as in so many other areas of criminal law there is a high likelihood what's a big one year might change the next year. what is happening a lot in one season of one year might change in the next season of that same year. so my concernt would be if we start adopting legislation that directs our activities devotes more resources to one particular ideology over another that might leave prosecutors flat-footed circumstances change and that could create other problems.
now mr. herdman, what would be the practical result in your view various executive office reorganizations that would be required within the department of justice on the domestic terrorism prevention act? >> oh well one concern i would have is from the perspective of say a rabbi in suburban cleveland. where the threats in my synagogue is from a white supremacist or it is from a violent jihadist or some other group that does not matter to me as much is the fact there is a threat in existence. federal law enforcement has to be able to respond to the threat that particular target. i would worry a little bit about escalating or elevating a particular threat profile because you may unintentionally lose sight of other threats. it's better to have a flexible federal law enforcement response senator. >> while it got you on this point i wanted to ask you about something in the aftermath of
the extensive violence that occurred in the summer of 2020, particular in portland, oregon federal prosecutors brought actions. they brought federal charges against 97ul defendants. there were other defendants charged in connection with the riots many of them in state court these 97 the federal charges brought in that district. fifty-eight of those 97 have now tibeen dismissed. now i know you are former u.s. attorney when i was a federal prosecutor would have been unusual to dismiss such a large percentage of any category of indictments that a previous been issued. if 508097 have been dismissed ah b has me scratching my head. you have any idea why these cases against those particular by an extremist were dismissed
in such high numbers? >> i don't know enough about those cases to reflect on it. the one thing i would say is what our guideposts were we are federal prosecutors was the facts fit a violation of federal statute? if they do you pursue prosecution. read enough that's what happened in the case of dismissals or not i just don't know enough about ait. >> thank you. >> thank you sandra lee. senator whitehouse for. >> thank you chairman. welcome to the witnesses. particular mr. whitfield at 86 your mom deserved a hell of a lot better. i want to welcome mike german particular back to the committee. when he got off his undercover work with the fbi he came to rhode island when i was u.s. attorney and was one of the agents in our fbi field office. i had the chance to see the quality of his work firsthand so it's great to have them here. a couple of questions let me start with doctor this history showha incidences when violence against a population superseded
by propaganda against that population. >> yes, sir. northern ireland is probably our key case we should focus on. in northern ireland there was community support forir violence among catholics in the late 1960s immediately preceding the rise of the ira. >> jump in and ask if the lesson of history hears also that sometimes the propaganda against that population is deliberate? >> yes, sir, a key part of the deliberate that matters. this is also critical in the great replacement is the intentionality that is attributed to the actor being evil, malicious. what you saw on the video that senator durbin showed was not simply claims of demographic
change. the court part, the anger that creates the violence is the malicious intent ascribed to those of political actors for. >> mr. german are there indications that propagation of a great replacement theory is deliberate? >> certainly. i think it's important to make a distinction between people on the internet saying things that are troubling, people without any positionn of authority and authority figures saying the same things. because when authority figure says that someone with actual power they present a differente opportunity to somebody who chooses to be violence. there are no longer criminal they are part of a government faction that is encouraging them to commit the violence. the calculus they have to make is much easier to make which is
why they can amass such a large amount of people they could actually overwhelm the capitol police and assault oury democracy. having authority figures repeat these rates as conspiracy theories is what is different now than from when i was working these cases. >> this go back to before authority figures start repeating these theories. and let's go back to their propagation. i believe doctor pape suggested their history shows that before you get to violence against a population very often there is it propaganda targeting that same population with the purpose of fermenting that violence. you have said there areel indications that propagation of great replacement theory is
deliberate. if there are indications that great replacement propaganda is deliberate, are there indications not just of what authority figures might be spouting at but who is creating it and pushing it out into the internet and into society? >> again, the great replacement theory isn't somethingd d new. european colonization of the quote unquote new world was white supremacist program. white supremacy was part of our founding and part of our history. so these ideas have always beenh there. >> it seems that they have a lot more currency right now. there's been a lot of talk about how much this is spread on fox news forey instance. do you think that fox news is creating this as original
content within fox news? are you think they are entities to be fed to fox news? x months we have these ideas in the mainstream sir, the mechanism of their propagation is not a little secret sell somewhere or what's a russian bottom part is the incentive structure of the position what we are seeing is figures who tout the great replacement are being rewarded by becoming more popular after their shores touting the great replacement than before. but we are seeing is politicians becoming more popular, receiving more votes by touting these ideas than before. specifically donald trump our former president highly unlikely to have the political power he has today were it not for january 6 and the ideas
underneath that. so what we are seeing sir is what's these ideas move into the mainstream, the mechanism is no longer a secret sell organization. we have got to go rooted out. it is unfortunately the incentivecr structure and that s why we need a big conversation in the country about this. because otherwise that incentive structure is just going to drive us to more violence. >> of my time expire let me follow up with questions for the record, thank you chairman for. >> thank you, senator whitehouse. senator blackburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. whitfield we all express our condolences to you and your family. for your loss. mr. herdman i would like to come to you and kind of pick up where senator lee left off. when we talk about the requirements the domestic terrorist prevention act per
puts in place on d.o.j., dhs of the fbi. and you are looking at the organizational structure of the agencies involved in this. and your work and experience as a u.s. attorney, your experience leading that group and the advisory committee, talk to me a little bit when you look at reorganizingso the changes that are mandated, how that affects the resources and then the structure at the agency and out in the field just very quickly kind of wrap that up. >> any reorganization or restructuring is going to drive substance and what the ultimate outcomes are going to be. so if there are changes that are mandated by fbi headquarters for
example that trickle down to the individual field offices where there is a prioritization of one type of crime or one type of another the you will see the individual members of that organization., >> was go back to that as far as he trickle down goes. from the comments of professor turley and also fromm you. looking at this legislation it appears it would narrow the focus instead of expand the focus. looking at domestic terrorism. i think we want to make certain all forms of domestic terrorism -- that they are our eyes on all of those threats. someone had mentioned earlier the need for flexibility the agency, so pick up from there. >> yes center that was me
actually who talked about the flexibility. and again i will just point to what we should expect from federal law enforcement is an analysis of facts. i would again emphasize this point i don't think ideology is as important when you are focusing on facts pretty when it's with the conduct of the individual is. how imminent the potential harm it is. what they are planning to most important what they are planning to attack so you can help defed and protect it. and that is devoid of any sort of analysis of the ideology because you have the focus on what the person is capable of. as i pointed to my wood written testimony plenty of cases that no discernible ideology but they put our friends and neighbors in northernth ohio at risk and we d respond to that. >> okay. noprofessor turley i want to coe to you pretty talked a little bit earlier about free speech and political free speech. i know you have always been an advocate for protected political
speech. so i would like for you to talk a little bit more about how law enforcement can differentiate between political free speech and extremist threats as they track and investigate and monitor terrorism. >> thank you, senator. i think the key distinction here was a drawn by mr. german but also determined that it is not ideology actions. it's what people are doing the fbi has to discern. we have a really wicked brew of hate in this country for the only common denominator are people who are consumed byg ha. the fbi has to go and try to isolate where the greatest country.gainst the the concern from the free-speech committee are not alone at the aclu has raised questions about this prioritization but also the
expansion, more of the expansion for the aclu of domestic terrorism investigation. the concern is if you tie a particular ideology as a concern or element for expansion of domestic terrorism, section 2331 is fairly general when you read as a civil libertarian sort of alarms go off you are like wow you could put a lot of stuff covered by this provision. one can understand you have to write more generally. that also means the application of that language is really important. if you combine a focus on ideology it raises concern among the civil liberties community. keep in mind some of our worst periods of time had that trigger we were arresting communist, anarchist, socialist because their views were viewed at as dangerous to the country. >> thank you, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i think all of our witnesses and mr. whitfield our deepest condolences to you and the loss of your mother who sounded like an incredible person. we have been talking a lot about the ideology that drives the kinds of mass shootings in our country. but in listening to some of the responses to questions i think a large factor in a large part of mass shootings that occur in our country has to do a lot regardless of ideology the easy access to guns we have in our country. i would like to ask each of you do you agree the easy access to guns is a significant driver of and they factor in mass shootings in our country? we'll start with you mr. whitfield and correct on the line.
>> thank you, senator. yes absolutely. gun access is certainly a driver of this violence. it is certainly a large part of the problem. but i would say it comes under the banner of white supremacy. it is one of the things d contributing to it on there'sa lot of other things that come under that banner projects weakens set aside the ideology of my career with you the white supremacy in our country is a huge part of that. mr. turley pickwick think is senator there's no question wetr have a country awash with guns. we have hundreds of millions of weapons in the country for the task i am working with a lot of members with right now in terms of finding a way to do that constitutionally paired there are limits and we are waiting for a major decision from the supreme court that may give us some insight into what the range of movement can be under the second amendment progress where
the supreme court has acknowledged her certain limits based on second amendment rights. professor pape do you agree? without a doubt. in 2015 we have five mass shootings around the world related to the great replacement killing many people or are in the united states. tithat is almost surely due to e easy access of weapons that canr kill ten and more and very rapid period of time compared to the rest of the world too. >> mr. herdman? quick senator, every case i described for the committee involved at least the contemplation of acquiring firearms or the actual attempted or acquisition of firearms. like they do within the other type of violent crime on the federal level, what we are dealing with federal firearm or terrorism offenses we are almost always looking at a gun at the center of that violation pickwick so you would agree easy
access to guns on our country is a problem? >> the characterization of easy access. >> it's pretty easy in our country compared to a lot of other countries. >> i only pause because there's one case i'mis thinking over the individual did not purchase a firearm because that a prior y felony conviction is one of te cases i discussed her today. mr. german? x yes i believe the easy access to firearms is a contributor to mass shootings. i pointed to writing my colleagues at present the brennan center michael waldman and brennan's center fellow eric have produced this issue. >> are based on the relative acknowledging that easy access to guns in our country really contributes to horrific shootings that we should do something about limiting who can get guns and limiting access to
guns. professor pape you mentioned you noted in your testimony that violent populism is rising in our country. do you think that this trend is going to change anytime soon? and if not why not? and if so why? >> if we don't do anything, if nothing changes i am worried that yes it is going to continue into the future. i point about guns ma'am if i may, we are now in the worst of both worlds. we are pushing gun legislation that will almost surely not pass. that is my view as a political scientist. but, what it is doing and so according to our data internationally represented surveys as it is in making those individuals who would have the violent sentiments even more concerned and more dangerous. so we need to be aware that it is not a free move to simplymo call for legislation on guns that goes nowhere.
because there are manyt peoplen those 18 million that i point out who are already concern the federal government is coming for their rights. so if we push legislation which goes nowhere what we are doingde inflaming the problem very important to see our data. the system as i was just explaining to the other senator we have a system now that once these dangerous ideas are in the mainstream not all incentives for mainstream media figures and mainstream politicians tost propagate them even more paid those incentives are not exactly they what violence there are benefits. we have seen this and other countries in india, northern ireland will politicians and media figures pushed dangerous ideas to gain votes or gain
media popularity and they accept or do not notice or do not understand it is also creating violence as a byproduct. that is what is dangerous about the next few years as we go forward we have created a system now where these ideas are in the mainstream pre-they are no longer in the fringe on there are incentives for both political leaders and media figures to continue to propagate those dangerous ideas. >> i agreed to professor this is a complicated situation. on the other hand i realize a lot of attitudinal things going on in our country the kind of violence we see. on the other hand if weco do non enact some kind of legislation hawaii has some the strictest gun safety laws and note hawaii has the lowest incidence of gun violence in any other states where there is a cause and effect here. we propose legislation i agree with you that we do not enact
gun safety legislation that exacerbate the situation. but what if they actually passed some of these laws? i think of a big help don't you? i think you mr. chairman thank you. >> thank you german durbin thank you for holding this important hearing. to mr. whitfield, thank you for sharing your memories of yourse mother. thank you for helping all of us understand the kind of life that she led up. the weight that she offered personal loving caring support for each and every member of your family the way she traveled to care for your father and to make sure he was in good hands free to make the way she inspired your dedication public service food in addition to offering my condolences i want to thank you and your siblings for what you're doing to put your pain and your loss to a positive purpose appeared to
come here and call on all of us in congress to take concrete steps to combat terrorism inspired by the ideology of white supremacy. nothing that i can say or we can say here will lessen your loss. but i hope you know that we hear you and we are taking your message and the witness you and your family have offered our nation to heart. >> thank you sir. >> only asked two questions of other witnesses before run out of time. professor pape, so much of our political rhetoric today is cranked up to the extreme on the ends of our political spectrum. and some then it lose perspective on the profound impact the words of elected officials and politicians have as you cited examples all over the world and history were marginal figures become politically popular and rewarded for their feeding and ideology of hate.
for decades and hideous concepts like this great replacement theory were relegated to the margins of political discourse. those days seem to be over and you have talked through how many of there january 6 insurrectiont who stormed our capitol, beaten and killed police officers, threaten to hang our vice president were motivated by this great replacement theory. newer research shows a connection between the individuals who violence and insurrection specifically those individuals stormed our capitol on january 6 and the counties in the country where the white population is declining compared to a more diverse population. do you believe the mainstreaming of political rhetoric that causes great replacement theory contributes to the spread of violent populism? what do you think we have an obligation to thosein of us elected in terms of calling out and did not sing this great replacement theory? >> i think a very important historical analogy in the
1970s. he is the famous serbian leader who in the 1970s and 80s was a minor finger until the late '80s he touted ascension of the great replacement idea in serbia. case has some muslims are gaining so much demographically they will replace white serbs. that led him to become more famous to become the president of serbia and then just a few years later that very concept led to one of the most disastrous civil wars in europe's history in bosnia. >> at war and ultimately a genocide progress ultimately a genocide. it was hard to see the roots of that and say 1986 , 87. even in 1989 when he gave the famous speech that many of you will recall. butt this is the danger of those ideas because they take on a life of their own.
that is really what is important. yes, sir, i do thinkf we have an obligation as a country it is our political leaders it is our community leaders it is our university leaders. it's notot just one side it's nt simply a law enforcement problem. because by the time the perpetrator hasth acted, too may are already dead as we are seeing around this room. we cannot wait and wait until after the fact. the key here is to have a senational conversation, are we willing to tolerate in the mainstream when we know we are already associated with what has happened in bible w study groups in 2015. families already know we have already got that evidence in front of us we need the conversation are we going to
accept this as a country or not? >> if i might, mr. german to follow up this is a country that will never out like dangerous ideas. but has to takein action against dangerous actions. finding that balance if i might mr. chairman i think is important. you spoke of the domesticc terrorism prevention act would critically needed assistance to state and local law enforcement to actually properly identify, investigate, prosecute actions violent actions that might be inspired by these dangerous theories that need to be denounced by mainstream political figures would help me understand why that is an important component of the law been proposed by the chairman and how you think congress and law enforcement can strike a balance that preserves treasured civil liberties while protecting against a rising tide of white supremacist domestic violent extremists? >> i think what is important is
getting the data. there is discussion earlier given the justice department and the fbi flexibility to address what kind of violence is occurring. the problem is without flexibility there has been an active de- prioritization of the most violent threat. so today the fbi cannot tell you how many people white supremacist killed last year or the year before that, or the year before that because they do not collect that kind of incident data. and if you look at -- at the fbi characterizes these crimes as violent crimes or hate crimes instead of domestic terrorism that is deferred to state and local investigation. so they do not even know what happens there they do not collect that data. but in the federal system the justice department prosecutes a white supremacist mostly through the violent crimes program but i saved mostly, significantly to the violent crimes program. so you have cases where dozens
at a time white supremacist violent white supremacists are arrested but that does not go into the terrorist statistics for the problem is really the data. to the extenta domestic terrort prevention act requested that data, i think that is what is critical to understand where this should be prioritized but it's absolute correct. there are other ideologies that people claim and justify their acts of violence. we have to know which area to amass our resources. if we are not amassing our resources to the most violent threat, we are not satisfying the obligation the fbi to predictor. >> thank you what i hear you saying isce this horrific violet act, the shooting that took so t many lives innocent americans just enjoying their freedoms going about shopping at a grocery store. doing nothing wrong but if we do not do more as mainstream
political leaders from both parties at all levels to stand up andt speak out against this great replacement theory and if we do not do more to empower law enforcement to track, to report, to investigate and to take action against those who becomed violent who are motivated by this theory then we are failing this moment in our nation. thank you and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator koontz i would like to add this been quite a bit said about the domestic terrorism prevention act which failed to before and on the floor off the senate a couple weeks ago, and is been introduced several years ago the bill requires reports to congress on all underlined domestic terrorism activity with a breakdown by specific category. the categories include members may not of seen this fbi circular but the categories include racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, antigovernment authority violent
extremism animal-rights violent extremism, abortion -related violent extremism all forms so we did in the bill are brought to the floor was required white supremacist terrorism be restored as one of those categories it was eliminated under president trump. so this notion we are keeping it all generic is not true the fbi have already delineates what we are doing is reestablishing category. senator booker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it shatters me that you have to be here in the pain you and your family are enduring. it is unimaginable. i want to thank you for turning your pain into purpose. coming down here is got to beg very difficult and the faster testifying before congress on the issues that show mee what kind of mother you had. i was also moved i walked in
late to the hearing is at a classified briefing and heard you talk very candidly what it was like growing up as a black man in america. and how you realized very young that you are perceived as more dangerous often, that's often used as a justification for people taking police action for we know blacks are more likely to be killed by the police. we know implicit racial bias study after study it shows a black person and white person in this country accused of the same nonviolent drug crime the black person will get longer sentences we know black women this country are more likely to die in childbirth even when you control for race and education. because their pain is not perceived to be taken as seriously. the kind of subtle humanization that often comes.
what is moving to me about you is that you understand this is not about black versus white. this is us, we are all in this together. we are a nation that needs each other far more than we realize. and i think on that fateful day in buffalo we realize the danger allowing hatred in any form and our country to fester. because that hate is not just visited upon one. it affects and impacts are felt directly by families and communities. tears at the overall fabric of our democracy. mr. pape, i think your testimony was really moving to me. this is about the whole of our democracy, it really is. i have never imagined i would be this worried about the future of
our country. in the mainstreaming of these ideas begins to undermine the necessary cohesion for democracy to function. this is a great question in america's history in every generation seems to answer at the right way, we get better at being a multicultural democracy? what would melt the hate of the irish the hate of catholics, the hate of southern europeans, the hate of asian americans, will we not allow that to undermine the highest ideals of humanity that this country represents? and so i feel like we are on a parallel precipice. so much of this when i turn on my tv and saw the january 6 riots, so many of them had anti-semitic symbols. and racist symbols. andd so i know from your data yu had this is not militia and
those were all concerns. my colleague for bringing up the issues of the ease of access to gun is what causes the violence. we should not ignore that reality. i am more concerned about thens culture of contempt we have in our country. you said something i do not want to have false equivalents are know me as a politician would've raised a lot of money during the state of the union address i yelled out an expletive at the present of the united states donald trump if i would've said something like you lie, i know this because it happened to present obama that person had their best fundraising quarters after he did something by bringing in that kind of outrage into our sacred >> space in a congressional hall for a presidential speech. i guess that you think i want to get in my ten seconds left is
one, driving this point home this is not about us versus them. this is about the continuation of our country, of our democracy as we are inching closer this hatred this contempt spreads. and then i would like for you to close by just telling to me you keep talking but the limitations and your skepticism about us doing certain things. but what should we ultimately be doing as this body to try to bring this nightmare we are all experiencing in real-time to an end? >> the crucial thing senator is to compare this to the 1920s we also had great replacement ideas. then it was catholic versus protestants. that led to the secondd kkk. the difference is the greater polarization of the country now. we are having political logjams today in ways we did notot in te 1920s. and that is what is creating, it
is almost impossible now for our political leaders to come to agreement on these major threats to our democracy. but weit need to do is we need o break through those logjams. i can tell you the importance of it, how? what is your anecdote what is your advice? >> the obvious thing to do is to build from the center and to build working groups of the senators who can really work together the most. and to build out from there and to build a national conversation from that group regardless of what happens in the outcome of the 2022 election or so forth. them difficulty is electoral pressures are so intense it is getting and the way of any serious and governing, sir. this is what is different between today and the 1920s buried in the 1920s we also have these types of threats. we did not have the degree of
the political polarization that we have today. we have got to find ways, even as we are polarized to focus on the center going forward. i will just say in conclusion mr. chairman there is a tocsin and i agree with your prescription. think it is going to take thousands of acts of humble grace to begin to cure what is all of these pressures. however iin don't know the very algorithms that are built into our social media my friend dan jones and newt gingrich wanted to a section on crossfire the lesson called cease-fire the producers stopped them because cease-fire was making ratings gi down. we have all of these larger corporate entities that want to germinate outrage and hate because it sells better. it increases a stronger platform greater audience participation. rmthis is the trap we are and tt isis germinating hate. it has affected this body as a
whole. the only correction i would have to do is i think the onus is on acts of grace of this body pretty honestly think it is just the sector and not media, business, culture, churches if it doesn't go all the way down to our neighborhoods we are lost. so that is the only hope we are not only not our enemies we are each other's greatest hope and greatest promise for getting out of a trap and if not god bless america but we are in peril.ea >> thank you, senator booker,h senator cruz? lex think it mr. chairman think it's to each of the witnesses here today. there ought to be at least three propositions on which all of us can agree. number one, violent crime is always unacceptable and should be punished severely. number two, hate is wrong. number three, the machinery of the federal government should not be used as a tool to target
and persecute your political opponents.as all three of those propositions should be ideas that bring us together regardless of where you fall on p the political spectru. unfortunately we see over and over again efforts to politicize acts of violence. when it comes to whiteti supremacy, when it comes to vicious the hate groups like the klan or the nazi party, in my view they are unequivocably hateful, bigoted, racist morons. who should be denounced and despised. i do think my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle try very hard to erase the history of the clan.
that it was formed by elected democrats. that it's leadership was almost entirely elected democrats. that the authors of the jim crow laws were without exception elected democrats. and i also think today's congressional democrats tried to usehi the charge of white supremacy which is undoubtedly evil bigoted and wrong and a weapon by their own party. they tried to use that as a proxy or attacking a political party they disagree with. and they do so by diminishing anti-jewish violence, anti- asian violence, violence or
directed at white people. violence directed at police. my view is simple, violence is always wrong. whatever your ideology, left ring, right wing, knowing if you are seeking to hurt people it is wrong. his violence from white supremacy extremist organizations of problem? absolutely as is violence from other hate groups. the brooklyn subway at shooter was a known black supremacist who called for racial violence the waukesha attacker who murdered six people driving an suv into a christmas parade was a viciously left wing black nationalist bigot.
2016 and other black nationalism gun down five police officers in dallas i was there with president obama at the funeral for those police officers.e he did so on explicitly racial grounds in 2019 to anti-semitic domestic terrorist gun down for people in a kosher grocery store. san francisco in the past year has seen a 567% increase in anti- asian violence. anti-jewish hate crimes in new york city are up to 148% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021. and then of course we have the violence of the antifa riots and the black lives matter riots that rocked this country. as stores were looted police cars were firebombs, police were
assaulted people were murdered. my colleagues in the democratic side of the aisle sought to excuse, sought to apologize for even went so far as to raise money to bail out of jail the violent writers committing these acts off violence. when it comes to violence, the department of justice should not treat it as an excuse simply to target the political opponents of whatever administration is in power republican or democrat. but instead violent crime should be prosecuted vigorously across the board to keep people safe. mr. herdman, you personally prosecuted the anarchist bridge bothers five left-wing extremists who broke off of the occupied protest and plotted to
bomb a bridge in the cleveland area, is that correct? >> yes editor. >> can you describe that case and what you encountered there? >> it was an evolving threat picture parade there were number of different attacks or contemplated in this book to >>admit written testimony for their discussions about going to chicago and engaging in attacks onre nato or g8 summit that was held that year they also discussed attacks in tampa with the republican national convention being held or that year. o ultimately settled on a bridge in the car national park and attempted to bring it down a group of them gathering a one night on may 1 of 2012 in order to try to bring the bridge down. >> a new art judgment, do policies that result in giving a slap on the wrist to violent criminals and violent terrorists that release people who commit riots and acts of violence release them with minimal to no
jail time, to those of protect society? do they keep us safe from violence? >> one of the advantages of being a federal prosecutor he typically got people held on bail and we typically have very strong penalties for when they were convicted of federal crime. if we're going to hold somebody accountable under federal law for violation of federal criminal law those are my expectations as a federal prosecutor they beheld on bail and they would get severeun sentence as a result of the violent crime. >> thank you. >> thank you very much senator durbin went to votea too. and so i just want to start out u by noting that the intelligene community has identified racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists as a category of people most likely to conduct mass casualty attacks. i think we have an agreement on that. one thing that was not notice this is just one year of
statistics but was not noted by cruz that was the fbi reported the racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist it was investigating in 2020 syllabi be very clear about the category, 87% were white supremacist. i think it's very important the record reflect that. it certainly not all of them. it is at least for the recent year we have data on it was the majority of them. so, getting to that commissioner whitfield i am so sorry for your loss. i understand your mom was a loving and devoted mom and wife. and she was at the market buying groceries for your dad who is in a nursing home. and i cannot imagine what you, the father the rest of your family are going through pretty want to respect your courage for coming forward and speaking today.
and what you to know there is a lot of us that are on your side here and want to take action. while there is nothing we can do to bring back your mom or the other victims of the grocery store, how can our response to this tragedy help you, your family and your community to heal? >> thank you, senator. first of all, by calling it what it is. and sweeping it under the rug and beating the bushes white supremacy. it is a problem. and this young man though he pulled the trigger others loaded the gun. others fed him. others radicalized him. all of the things we've been talking about here today contributed to his racist evilra behavior. and until we start holding those entities accountable and calling
them out we are not going to be able to do anything about this. there is aho lot of talk about e ideology the truth of the matter is if you just deal the acts you're never going to stop it you're going to be after the o fact all the time. how do you stop it? you have to deal the ideology but you have to start at the root if you are going to ferret this thing out. he asked me what you canst do? i don't have the answers. but we have to call it what it is. identifyingtart by what the issues are and address them and have real conversations about that. we have to face these things. >> it is a really good point thank you for that. : : real conversations about that. we why it's important to
identify crimes as domestic terrorism getting to the point that he just made when they occur because of the signal that sends but also categorizing and keeping track of the crimes in that way? >> it's critically important to understand the criminal acts and focus for law enforcement on the acts. for the rest of us and people in
positions of authority to denounce important conspiracy theories for the lack of accuracy but for law enforcement they need to focus on the actual criminal activity to make sure they are not infringing on first amendment rights of people just expressing their ideas but there is plenty of that activity out there that law enforcement today putsfi into different buckets tt d prioritize or don't even have the fbi and justice department looking and we need to call like things like and make sure this information is into being lost because it provides intelligence. >> welcome back to the committee. the fbi read joint terrorism task forces along with u.s. attorney's office across the country on the frontlines on front lines onthis effort to adc terror during the rolled committee hearings and i chaired
that investigation of the january 6th investigation on the capital we found aic key issue n the run-up to the attack as you know was a failure to share information between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. we know that wasn't the cause but in fact we learned we had to do atw better job and how we responded. based on your experience as an attorney what are the ways federald law enforcement can wk alongside state and local partners when it comes to domestic terrorism? >> it's essential you have too have local and state law enforcement present if you're running an fbi field office. sharing of information through the state center or other bulletins that cand go out to local law enforcement are critical to make sure that information gets out and also in much a unheralded part of this s
regular communication with political leadership. that is a critical element of the work in coordinating with local authorities to ensure mayors, council people, everyone responsible for public safety functions in a given area are aware of what the potential threats are. >> anotherev question in testimy before the senate intelligence committee in april of 2021 the fbi director noted social media has become in many ways the key amplifier to domestic violence extremism because disinformation canha spread quickly among like-minded people because of the algorithms and they've set it up in a way they've profited greatly at the expense of so many people. do you believe social media hase made it difficult and can radicalize people and inspire them to violence? >> that is true. a social media house and made a
lot of things better in america but it certainly hasn't played a positive role when it comes to spreading disinformation and radicalizing people who do harm to others. >> it's one of the reasons many of us on the committee on a bipartisan basis and throughout the senate are focused on this whether it's allowing researchers to look at the algorithms and senator kunz is leading with many others are looking at that amplification issue because it actually means profits for them and that hate speech and violent speech and that kind of thing is spreading that has led to many deaths. anyone else want to answer that question? >> i think it's important to note in our research the surveys that findd between 18 to 21 million have insurrection in sentiments to this day it's not
a social media problem. i understand social media is potent and i'm one of the tigger visit researchers who pushed that four, five, seven years ago. i am a believer that can matter in certain circumstances but it's important to note today for the 18 million with the insurrectionist sum the country as of just april, 40% report fox news and news as their major news source. only 18% facebook, youtube and twitter40 and 10% far right socl media like nfo wars and telegram. i'm not telling you that pound for pound the viewer of fox can be is stimulated as the viewer wars.o what i'm telling you is there are so many more viewers in the mainstream. the problem here is the mainstream and it's a difficult problem to get around but it is
something we need to confront and if we keep thinking this is just another social media problem -- >> i may be the first one bringing this up and i don't think anyone is saying that. we know that killers have basically posted online, they posted warnings many of them online and even videos of them committing the crimes because that's the reality. that virtual reality is their reality and for us to just turn our backs and not think it has something to do with it i think is wrong and that's where they are seeing the ads for the guns with santa claus and star trek figures and star wars figures. as horrible as all of this is at its core this is about white supremacy. there is widespread agreement on
that it's not just about guns but how the information is being transmitted and our inability to do one thing about it because we've done nothing so i want to make that clear as they go ahead to that this part of the solution. >> thank you, senator klobuchar. thank you for covering while i was gone. >> thank you mr. chair and i just wantha to thank you for the committee to scrutinize the racist rhetoric and online spaces that are fueling the rise of domestic terrorism in america in addition to the mainstream outlets. as we are doing this it isn't just appropriate but necessary to consider easy access to guns
in america as an enabling these extremists. in buffalo the perpetrator's pes weapon of choice after the radicalization, the weapon of choice was an ar 15 that enabled him to turn his hatred into carnage and just this past weekend you know as well as i do there were ten more mass shootings that meet the definition of mass shootings. 10. at least 15 people dies as a result and at least 60 were injured and that's not to mention the countless other friends and family members of the victims and others that are now categorized for fear it could have been them or might be them next time in those
communities and across the country. i've said it before andth we wil say it again this has got to stop. it is unacceptable. our children deserve better. turning to my questions. over the years we have seen an alliance on the internet and most notably not exclusively but most notably social media t to spread racist conspiracy theories and to radicalize and recruit domestic terrorists. first question in your testimony you share your belief that racist conspiracy theories are often hiding in plain sight and reporting the spread of these theories and relevant threats of violence to law enforcement could help prevent future
attacks however you also note the reality that the fbi receives thousands of tips concerning violence on social media each and every day. in light of this reality what are your thoughts on how local, state and federal law enforcement officials can play a more strategic role in identifying credible threats of violence against americans? >> part of the problem is that the fbi and congress reduce the criminal predicates necessary so by removing the need for evidence triage but there is evidence to suggest a crime may occur was the standard i worked under, indication that criminal activity may be occurring.
the removal of those through the guidelines and legislation like the patriot act opened up the floodgates so see something say something l became the policy ad fbi had a policy of responding to every allegation that came in and what this does is just like pulling the fire alarm when there isn't a fire. we know it's illegal because it dulls the response and this tends to dull the response the agents responding tend to believe this is going to be a false alarm just like all the others and i'm going to do the least i can because i have more piling up in my inbox while i'm out and i think that is the problem and restoring those predicates would help the fbi and state and local law enforcement triage so they can focus where there is evidence of
criminal activity. >> i was going to acknowledge the new york attorney general is launching an investigation to the company whose platforms were used in planning and i was goini to ask what additional suggestions you would have for the pathways to radicalization. we talked about modifying the grade. to begin an investigation. anything else? >> gone thing to keep in mind social media is a double-edged sword for violent people on the internet. guess it helps them spread their message but it also leaves a permanent record that is evidence that can be used against them and often times what we see is they are very leaky and the data is out and was helpful to civil litigants who brought a case against the
rally organizers because they had access to that material. likewise the fbise had access bt you didn't see them making the same efforts to prove the cases in the united the right case except in one exceptions. so that's the problem is they need to use whatever evidence there isn't a follow-up when there is a violent crime. most ofm, the people were not er prosecuted for it so that's part of the problem. and portland was mentioned before. proud boys were also coming across state lines to commit violence for years and is a lack of law enforcement attention is what enableded them to pass such networks they could mobilize according to the government obligations organize the attack on the capital so it takes
looking at the evidence of that criminal activity, but too often that gets ignored. >> another question if i may because you've heard me talk about this time and again america is a nation of immigrants.. that's our story since the birth of this nation and i believe that the diversity of our country as a result is an incredible strength. in america we believe we are all created equal and should enjoy equal rights so it's deeply disturbing to me to see right-wing media figures as well as politicians including the former president prompting racism, hatred and division in
the united states of america, sometimes subtly, sometimes not subtle at all. so it's important that we shed a light onto these threatening ideologies that fuel domestic terrorism so we can stop the spread of violent hate. in your testimony you stated some politicians and media figures tell whites that they are being deliberately replaced by minorities and are destined second-class citizens and minorities will have more rights than whites and the reference to second-class citizenship ands impliesthere is a first-class citizenship. i want to focus that word replace is very purposeful and powerful so in your studies does
this expand on have you found individuals who believe in and promote the replacement theory how they may believe they are more deserving of citizenship or that first-class citizenship than those of another race? >> senator durbin showed in the beginning some prominent examples of exactly what i'm referring to. but i would like to do is tell you about the focus groups we have conducted that i haven't told the committee about yet and you might find this even more interesting because i'm sure you will be ableve to find the clips in the media. so we haven't just been servingd the population. we have been focus grouping t people in that 18 million and what we have discovered is many of them are able to repeat almost word for word the kind of
dialogue and how the parties are replacing with nonwhites through other policies and it's also about how they feel they have a target on their back and they are becoming second-class citizens in their own country so it's not simply the media language that i am reporting to in those couple of sentences. what you don't see is underneath that, the 80 focus groups we have conducted that is providing evidencet after evidence of the power of that media and i would suggest as a follow-on hearing it would make sense to focus t directly on the role of the great replacement in mainstream media and to bring on the actual people with academic researchers and we can have a discussion of why is it to those folks in the
mediach don't think they are increasing violence. >> out of curiosity what rights are we talking about and what narights are they losing potentially? >> because of confidentiality i can't tell you the exact names but someone thatte is 69-years-old, a male in connecticut that ownse a $1.5 million home, beautiful, complaining how he is the son of an emigrant, he comes from immigrants about what is happening now as a result of the great replacement is his political rights are being taken away, pointmi by point by point. this is the belief and at this deal that the idea that the election was stolen. there are people who believe that a a that election was stoln and what thatt equates to in their mind as their political
rights are being taken away. then they movedn to their economic rights where they will discuss affirmative action policies and so forth that they see as harming their children so it's not so much the 69-year-old man well-off living in connecticut worried about getting a future job. he will explain how his children and grandchildren are having their economic rights taken away. those are the positions being pushed in these narratives that i'm explaining so many of the immigrants and people that came to this country came to achieve political inequality or economic inequality. >> thank you, professor. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i couldn't help but notice the reference to connecticut. you and i have talked and i have great respect for the theories
that you have advanced into the analogy or the comparison that you draw but tell me if i'm wrong inor the 1920s, assault weapons or firearms like assault weapons were pretty rare if used at all. maybe organized crime, doctors or mechanized to be automatic or semi automatic.. but it was a wash to use his words. i think the connection here between violent extremism and domestic terrorism and white supremacy, the replacement
theory, that combine of toxic and poisonous forces with firearms is unmistakable and should be an area for action that doesn't violate the first amendment. i supportac law enforcement and believe we need to support police in their efforts against violencece but you go down the list of white supremacist attacks 2012 oak creek wisconsin, charleston south carolina, 2018, pittsburgh pennsylvania, 2019, el paso texas,li 2022 buffalo new york.
where racist white supremacist violentt extremists. these are linked to firearms and often it is the loan of vendors offendersas they are called by e committee regarded as a major source of violence and i'm quoting one of those intelligence reports fromre the odni, quote, access to firearms. i don't know whether members of the panel want to comment but it seems to me that the constitutional argument against banning assault weapons or raising the age, the argument against the red flag that separates people from firearms if they say they are going to kill themselves or others seems to me that constitutional
argument is pretty spacers and we are in a different era from the 1920s. >> i won'tsp speak on the constitutional issues but the buffalo shooter when you read the manifestoto in detail you wl see he didn't just select your 15 and a general sense. he built his whole attack plan around the ar 15 and a few details that are important to bring out if i may that he deliberately selected the shopping center he was going to go to because the reviews online showed certain idols were slow and he was going to target with his ar 15 the idols that were slow to maximize the number of people hee could kill before he would be captured or killed so he built the attack plan not just in a vague sense but
details and it's so disturbing when you see that this took he put methodical thought. the age limit i think there is room foron us to discuss. i have to tell you i am skeptical if the courts are going to press this body on why they are banning the ar 15 but not higherre caliber weapons the ar 15 is the most popular in the united states one out of five hipurchases. people like it because it is modular, you can change it and that appeals to people. you have at least 15 million of these things so constitutional and practical barriers you have to address it on the constitutional side people talk about the earlier ban that was
before heller, before the court said the second amendment is an individual right. i think you're going to have a much more difficult time going in with the ar -- ar 15 with comparison to other weapons. >> but you would agree on the age limit. >> that's something we've been talking about a couple of weeks now and i think there is room as was stated even the first amendment isn't in absolute right. we did see an age limit struck down in california that is still in litigation. we don't know how the court is going to come down on that end of the reason we are looking at that case is whether we will see what the range of movement is. >> my time is expired and i litigated when i was the
attorney general in fact i tried the case in the supreme courtlt and we won but that is a state supreme court decision, not a united states supreme court decision and i recognized the court is about to rule on a case. i think the point is indisputable that a country that is a wash to assault weapons and i'm one of the leading advocates that we passed but i think prevention is the key.
>> thank you senator blumenthal and the panel of witnesses for being here today with your friends and family. appreciate so much. your attendance. it's a sound we have to come together for this reason but standing up for your mother and your description of her life is an important thing for america to share and you've given us that. the others that are represented here today our hearts go out to you and we accept your otchallenge. we are elected to do a job. there is no excuse and i hope that we can summon the political will and courage to get that done. thank you for each of your contributions and i will say briefly to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle it was democrats that wrote the jim crow law, democrats that may
have organized to the earliest days of the ku klux klan. i'm not arguing that point. the results are also theze republican abraham lincoln that enacted at the constitutionalof amendments to guarantee the right to vote so there would be based on raceion and yet sadly the republican party when given theer chance to renewn that commitment recently did not stand by president lincoln so history has a lot of explanations and none of us can escape it. i think you all for being here. extremism is the sad reality in america and we have to do everything we can to make the country safe. buffalo new york was an illustration and with that the senate judiciary committee will stand adjourned.
a student who survived the shooting in uvalde by smearing herself and her friends blood testifies in a hearing on gun violence on wednesday. we will also hear from victims families from both uvalde and the recent supermarket shooting in buffalo new york 10 a.m. on c-span three. c-span now, the free app or any time online on c-span.org. after a closed-door investigations the january 6th
committee is set to go public to an ns committee members question key witnesses about what transpired and why during the assault on the capital. watch live coverage beginning thursday at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span now the free mobile app or any time online on c-span.org. your unfiltered view of government. next u.s. trade representative kathryn on the administration's trade priorities and transnational partnerships. she talks about trade deals with indo pacific nations and holding china accountable through trade policy. other topics include the impact of the pandemic and the impact of the russia ukraine war on trade and inflation