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tv   Attorney General Garland Testifies on Departments Budget - Part 1  CSPAN  May 18, 2022 3:05pm-4:23pm EDT

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attorney general merrick garland was on capitol hill to testify on the justice department's 2023 budget request. he also faced questions about title 42 being used at the u.s. southern border, the opioid crisis, and a recent surge in violent crime across the country. in this senate appropriations subcommittee hearing is just under two hours. [indistinct conversations]
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[indistinct conversations] [gavel] this hearing will come to order. when i remember turn on my mic. and we will take questions just for everyone's information, we will take questions in order of occurrence rather than by seniority today, which i know will make all of you who arrived early very happy.
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and we are delighted to i'm -- delighted to correlate to order the subcommittee on science constant related agencies. and welcome the attorney general, met john garland, who is today's witness for the hearing the president fist of the year 2022 funding request. it's very good to see you again. and i'm sure as you know we'll have lots of senators coming in and out you have the first real hearing day back after a two week break, there's a lot going on. so i hope you will be patient. this year is the presidents fiscal year 2023 budget request for the department of justice is 39 billion. that's an 11% increase compared to the fiscal year 2022 enacted level for the department. this budget provides a renewed focus and critically important areas like protecting civil rights, including a request for
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increased resources for the civil rights division and community relations service to provide for more attorneys and mediators, as well as supporting grant programs that address hate crime prevention. funding increases are also requested four agencies and programs that strengthen national security, including additional resources to investigate domestic terrorism, combat foreign threats, and prevent gun violence. it's also good to see the departments request for increased funding for many grant programs, including nearly double the resources for the office on violence against women programs. funding requested for newer programs including those in the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention seem to be much needed in order to help youth and families, especially after this pandemic. i hope we will receive an allocation that allows us to fund long-standing as well as newark programs at as high a level as possible. increased grant funding also
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means increased support for our police departments. this budget request does include that, particularly for community oriented policing services or cops. but i would like to know that this subcommittee has included strong funding for law enforcement grants over the past several years. and i think that is a commitment of this committee. one area that senator moran and i have worked closely on this to ensure that burn jack funding received a steady increases annually. for my state of new hampshire, the majority of burn jack funding supports our states jug task force which works to keep in illegal narcotics including fentanyl out of our communities and as we know that epidemic of opioid misuse as dramatically increased doing the pandemic. weevils to work together on a bipartisan basis to increase funding for programs that
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include improving relations and strengthen trust between police and the communities they serve. last year we provided a total of 200 and $1 million for these programs. this also includes overhauling the cops development program to have dedicated funding for mobile crisis teams, police department accreditation, and officer training. i'm pleased to see that the department seems to also like the way we've restructured this cops program and we packaged it as the just policing program in your budget requests this year and now before i want to close i want to thank the 120,000 career employees of the department of justice including law enforcement personnel and attorneys for their work keep americans safe. i know it's been a challenging year with our country facing unprecedented threats from those that are newer and rapidly changing like cybercrime and those that are sadly familiar like terrorism your and your employees are
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meeting these challenges we'll continue to work through a global pandemic, and we all very much appreciate the work. i also want to thank all of those in the department who investigated and prosecuted the isis beetle terrorists, the isis terrorists known as the beatles, including al shafi i'll shaking pleading for americans, [inaudible] and peter classic. the hard work of the u.s. attorney's office for this eastern district of virginia you recently really refire recently resulted in a a message for indefensibility around the world that those who commit heinous crimes americans will be prosecuted, but it provides some measure of closure and justice for the families of those murders. so, mister attorney general, i look forward to our discussion today, and with that i'd like to recognize our subcommittee vice chair my colleague senator
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moran. >> senator shaheen, thank you for convening this hearing. before turning to the subject matter of the hearing, i want to express my sincere appreciation for your stewardship of our fy 2022 appropriations process and like my colleagues who are members of this subcommittee. the subcommittee held seven hearings including a broadband hearing in january that i believe was one of the best we've had in our tenure. >> thanks. >> we've produced a strong bipartisan bill in the senate, even with complicated dynamics that work outside of our control. and in conference, despite a very tough allocation, senator leahy, a very tough allocation, we secured a final bill that makes critical investments in scientific research law, enforcement, a space exploration, economic development and, u.s. competitiveness. it is a bill this subcommittee can be proud of. senator shaheen, thank you for your leadership. i am excited to continue to work with you and my colleagues as we kick off the 2023 appropriation process. chairman garland, welcome to this hearing.
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this budget that he's been presented supports doj grant programs under the newly authorized violence against women act which i was a proud which, i was proud to cost was, and for programs that support local police and sheriffs departments. i want to highlight these programs as a critical tool to address the shocking increase in violent crime, including a 30% surge in u.s. border right, the largest single year increase in 50. unfortunately violent crime continues to like the attention it requires. it is absolutely critical that the department of justice support state and local law enforcement, but through grant programs and through joint law enforcement operations. the budget includes a increase for fy 22 to fy 22 connected levels, for doj. however, rhetoric and behavior from the administration to often send a different signal of law enforcement officers not respected or shown respect from our leaders there, will not be respected within the community.
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we've also seen in the appalling agree increase in attacks on police officers. it is no department that the departments -- police department that shows officers a short start short staffed and have issues in recruiting new officers. the budget request would undermine the port of prison -- excuse me -- the bureau of presidents ability to benton state will modern facilities that are able to deliver education [inaudible] and felicia program. in addition, the request proposes new unauthorized grant programs intended to inhibit americas exercise of their second amendment rights. the budget request is ultimately a -- it's disappointing that these messaging programs were pro privatized over the bunches critical nations is fully addressing the surge in violent crime. the budget request is a first step in the appropriations process, and i look forward to working with you, attorney general, and with senator shaheen, as we craft the fy 2023 appropriations bill. thank you >> thank you, senator moran, i realize that the chair of the appropriations committee,
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senator leahy, is here. i've got to ask if he would like to offer some opening remarks. >> no i just appreciate you, and senator moran holding this. i'm delighted that the attorney general is here. i am delighted that the country has a good attorney general. and that everybody else. >> thank you, senator leahy, i will turn it over to you, attorney general garland. >> is this working? yes. good morning. better? okay. good morning, chairman shaheen, ranking member miranda, distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. over the past 411 days that i've been attorney general, three coequal priorities have guided the work of the justice department.
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keeping our country safe, protecting civil rights, and upholding the rule of law. these priorities reflect the justice department's mission and our mission is reflected in the presidents fy 23 budget. i first finding priority is keeping our country safe from all threats, foreign and domestic, whether from hostile nation states, terrace, or common criminals. as our country's chief law enforcement officer, i am committed to supporting members of law and force meant at all levels of government as they work to protect our country. while also safeguarding several liberties and ensuring our own accountability to the american people. to these ends the presidents fy 23 budget request more than 20. 2 billion dollars. to support the work of the justice department's law enforcement components and u. s. attorneys offices nationwide. as they carry out their complex mission sets. these resources will strengthen the justice department's efforts to reduce violent crimes and gun violence. to
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counter the multitude of serious and threats to our country from terrace, cyber criminals, and hostile nation states. to combat the violent drug trafficking, networks that are fueling our nations overdose epidemic and to protect our nations democratic institutions. including the one we sit in today from violent attack. in addition the, president has proposed a total of more than 30 billion dollars a new investment over the next decade. this to support law enforcement by finding the police, prevented crime, and accelerating criminal justice reform. and fy 23 alone the presidents budget requests more than eight billion dollars in grants for states and localities nationwide to find the police. including by putting more police officers on the beat and to implement community based strategies to
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prevent crime and gun violence. the presidents fy 23 budget also prioritizes the protection of civil rights. we are seeking a 32% increase in funding for the civil rights division, as well as additional resources for our u.s. attorneys, the fbi, the community relations service and our office for x cyst dutch this. our civil rights work remains vital to safeguarding voting rights, prosecuting hate crimes, ensuring constitutional policing, and addressing unlawful discrimination. another area of environmental focus is safeguarding economic security, fairness and opportunity. this is reflected in our request for resources to protect the american people from intellectual property crimes, to reinvigorate and i trust enforcements, and consumer protection. to combat corporate crime and to bring to justice those who seek to profit unlawfully from the covid-19 pandemic. in particular, the department requests a total of 200 and $73
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million, an increase of 41. 6% for the and i trust division. to carry out its critical mission of promoting competition in the american economy, and protecting workers, consumers and businesses alike. finally, we are requesting 11. 7 billion dollars to ensure the just administration of our nation's immigration courts and federal corrections systems. this includes one point 35 billion dollars for the executive office for immigration review which i'll be referring to as your, to reduce the immigration court back law by hiring more than 1200 new staff including approximately 200 immigration judges teams, over the fy 22 elected level. i request for a 0. 18 billion dollars for the bureau of prisons will ensure the health, safety, a mile bag of more than 150,000
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individuals in federal custody, as well as the officers who protect them. this request would allow b. o. p. to hire 1300 new correctional officers and first step act staff and would be used to support rehabilitate programming and improve conditions of confinement. i respectfully asked for your support for our budget as our justice department works to uphold the rule of law to keep our country safe and to protect civil rights for all. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. >> thank you very much. for those people who came in a little later, let me just point out, we will have a five minute questioning period, and people will be called on in order of arrival, rather than seniority, because we are no longer doing any virtual hearing in this committee. i will begin. last month, you announced the establishment of task fourth capture, which was described as an inter agency effort dedicated to enforcing
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sanctions, exports restrictions, and economic counter measures against russia. as i understand, this includes targeting the crimes committed by russian officials, all the guards, and others who aid or can the i know that the country is watching very closely of what's happening in the war, the unprovoked war of russia against ukraine, and that one huge element in that is being able to reduce the amount of funding for that war that russia has. can you talk a little bit about where you are in terms of the inter agency efforts. the kind of cooperation you're getting internationally? >> yes, i second what you said about what we are all seeing on the news almost every day. the incredibly graphic videos of horrible atrocities that are going on in ukraine. it's not just the war, it's the way in which the war is being prosecuted by the russian government, the pictures of
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dead bodies, of civilians and the, streets some bound with their hands behind their backs. the intentional bombing of civilian residential apartments, of a theater in mariupol all of those pictures are just terrific. they are the kind of things that anybody going up in the 20th century never expected to see in the 21st again. a land war in europe. so every part of this government is doing its part the justice department's role right now is to investigate and prosecute sanctions violations. so, we have, as you said the kleptocapture task force. its purpose is to go after the assets that the treasury department is sanctioned as well as to go out after assets that have been laundered against the money laundering
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statutes for criminal behavior. by the russian oligarchs. so, in addition we are participating in the treasury department's report task force. which is the international task force where i have met with virtually. the home secretary's attorney general and treasury secretaries of the participating countries. the international cooperation has been superb. really superb. and heartwarming for law enforcement officers who often have to twist arms and beg for extraditions and other sorts of cooperation abroad. there is no resistance at all now. >> can you talk about how the department is going to be dealing with the proceeds from any recovered assets? >> yes. so, that money would go into
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the asset foreiture fund. first thing we have to do is freeze the, asset second is we have to get a forfeiture and it has to go into the forfeiture fund. we would support legislation that would allow some of that money to go directly to ukraine. that's not the current circumstances, with respect to the fund. but the current circumstance is, like all forfeited assets, would go into the forfeiture fund. >> thank, you we will take that under advisement in the committee. let me also editorialize a minute, and say that i hope these efforts will allow for future follow-up that will take a look at how corrupt money is being laundered in the west. and produce a real effort to shut that down, not just in russia but wherever it's occurring. one of the issues
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that you and i discussed on the phone, in advance of this hearing, what is my concern about how long it's taking to get some of the nominees approved for u.s. attorney, four marshals. i understand that there are two problems. one has been the challenge of getting the background checks done on those nominees. i guess, i would be interested in hearing whether there are more resources that need to be put toward that. if we need to take a look at that process and see if there are changes that need to be made. and then, of course, the other challenge is here in the senate with individuals who are holding up those nominees. so, can you speak first to what happens when we have u.s. attorneys in new hampshire, our u.s. attorney nominee, it's been over a year. almost, i think, over a year now that she has been forwarded to the white
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house and is on hold. can you just speak to the challenge with addressing crime around the country, when we have u.s. attorneys who are taking that long to get approved? >> yes, so, the united states attorneys as well as the united states marshals, the tip of the spear of our effort to fight violent crime. they are the ones who convene the task forces in every one of the 94 u.s. attorney office districts. the task forces are combinations of all of our federal law enforcement, the for law enforcement agencies of the justice department as well as a law enforcement agencies of the department of homeland security and other federal agencies. combined with state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement. the is cooperative task forces also, then, cooperate with the local communities. that is the way in which the best attack on violent crime as possible. to look at what is needed in the local area, to identify the primary drivers. particularly,
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the repeat shooters. to get them off the streets and get them in jail. to organize those things, we need to confirm the united states attorneys. the work of the acting's is excellent but, as everyone knows, in order to establish policies and programs than any office, it's important to have a permanent head. so, i couldn't urge more strongly for the senate to approve as swiftly as possible. the u.s. attorney nominees and the marshals nominees. >> well, thank you very much. is it fair to say that the holdup, when people are holding these individuals up for other purposes, that that has a negative impact on our ability to fight crime? >> i don't want to get into the inner workings of the senate, but what i will say is that anytime we are not getting confirmed law enforcement officers it does have a negative effect on our ability to fight violent crime. cybercrime, all the
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responsibilities that the united states attorneys and marshals have. >> well, thank you. i won't quote you with that, i will say it myself. senator moran. >> general garland, thank you. you are where, and we have even talked about it yet this morning, the tremendous increase and levels of violent crime. the murder rate has surged 20% in 2020, it's the largest increase in over 20 years in a single year. but, overall, violent crime, which includes assault, robberies and rapes, increased by 35%. joint operations between federal law enforcement and local and state law enforcement seem to be successful. we've had operation legend and operation triple beam and our state. director wray joined me in kansas earlier this year, we met with our local state law enforcement
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officials. during that conversation, the chief, carl oak men of the kansas city police department, expressed his desire, first of all, of how successful those joint operations where and his desire to see more of them. of course, that's not unique to the kansas city region of our state. to what extent our joint law enforcement operations a part of the doj's plan to combat violent crime? >> they are the center of our strategy. in may of 2021, after i had been in office just a couple of months, i saw the same statistics that you're referring to now. about the rise in violent crime, the startling rise in 2020, which continued into 2021. and so, i launched our first violent crime strategy for the department. that really includes three pillars, all of which are the ones you're talking about, which is joint task forces among federal law enforcement, joint task forces between federal and the state and local law enforcement, and involvement of the community.
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because it's essential that the community let us know where the bad guys are and who the bad guys are. so, it is the core of what we do. so, the money that we're asking for comes in, i would say, two buckets here. we're asking for more than $20 billion, that's an increase of 8. 2%, for our federal law enforcement in the justice department, all of whom participate in these task forces. so, that includes u.s. attorney's office, the fbi, the atf, dea, u.s. marshall services. then we're asking for 8. 2 billion dollars, which is an increase in 5. 4 billion, for grants for state and local law enforcement, for the sheriffs you're talking about, for the police you mentioned in your opening as well. this includes money for cops hiring, for the byrne jag grant that the chair spoke of, which are used for these task forces. for
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ovw grants, some of which are also used for investigative task forces. that's the way we are able to create these joint task forces, so i completely agree with your assessment. >> general, thank you. you mentioned the u.s. marshals. i too would mention that u.s. marshal services regional fugitive task force as another valuable combination of local and federal law services. let me turn to 2021, the doj office of the inspector general, released a report that revealed multiple agents at the fbi had mishandled the investigation into former usa gymnastics physician larry nassar and subsequently lied about their misconduct. i want to take this moment, in your presence, to again raise my strong concerns with the fact that it seems these agents have not been held fully accountable for what you described as an institutional failure. i understand the doj
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is reviewing its earlier decision, this is an issue that blumenthal and i pursued in the commerce committee, but you are reviewing the decision not to criminally charge these agents. could you provide me a status update as to where this issue lies? >> yeah, so, you are right this is a horrible institutional failure. it's almost unspeakable. it is unspeakable what happened to those and, also unspeakable the way in which the investigation failed to proceed we have created institutional changes in that regard to make sure does not happen again. the fbi has revised its procedures. the deputy attorney general has issued memorandums to the field
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so that whenever u.s. attorney's office, or federal law enforcement decides not to follow up and immediately devise a state and local law enforcement so they can continue. your description of the question of the investigation so the fbi's internal disciplinary work is still in progress. the question of reopening the earlier deination is in the hands of the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, candidly was continuing to reveal matter. >> does that mean that the fbi made a report to that official who is now
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reviewing that report? >> it is the referral, it came from the inspector general's report. it's the report that you are aware of that was given to the criminal division, to review the earlier decisions of the client. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator moran, and senator leahy. >> thank, you chair. attorney general, as i mentioned earlier, i'm glad you are here this morning. the time is short. i will get right to the questions. let's start with the voca fix act, the dossier. signed into law last year. we passed this, excuse me, we passed this legislation, a much-needed steady stream of deposits into the crime victims fund. the crimes victims all over the country. a major piece of the legislation requires funds collected under deferred and non prosecution agreement, to be deposited in the crime victims fund.i understand there was a sizeable deposit the first months of invitation, the questions were referred and non prosecution agreements have actually been quite low. across november for example, the actual total, the actual
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deposit was around 1 million dollars. what accounts for such low starkly deposits from what it used to be? is the department concerned that this may end up with a zero balance in the crime victims fund? >> so, this is going to be a complicated answer. i'm going to do the best i can. i may have to refer to assistant attorney general loftus, who knows the details of the numbers far better than i. i will see if i can walk you through where we are here. the voca fix, which we greatly supposed, and are greatly appreciative, allow the money to include the deferred prosecution agreements, which were not available far. the deputy attorney general sent a memorandum to all united states attorney general offices and to the fbi and law enforcement to ensure that the money comes
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from deferred prosecution agreements is tagged for the victims of crime fund. we are making those changes. >> is it making it clear that's a priority? >> yes. the money there must be put in. it is a priority to make sure that happens. you are right, in september, my figure is $254 million, was deposited, which was the largest monthly deposit in the last four fiscal years. that was immediately after the voca fix came into effect. in fy 22, the numbers i have for the first six months are $409 million in the fund. you know, these are cyclical, they go up and down, it depends on whether there was a deferred prosecution agreement, whether
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there were forfeitures and other seizures during that time. i don't think we have enough information yet to know. >> i would ask only that the department makes it clear, that is a priority, it goes there. because of time, i wanted to mention another thing. there are a lot of bipartisan support of the violence against women reauthorization act. we'll be determined to do, we put it into this committee, the appropriations committee, as part of the fy 22 omnibus appropriation john. we are concerned in the normal coast of events it might not have gotten enough or about. but the presidents fy 23 budget doesn't account for some of the new programs that were included in the violence against women act. many of us have worked across the aisle to prove that act in large. i know when i was chair of judiciary but, we had an
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native americans and lgbtq community, sexual exploitation of minors. som is the department going to support the new programs connected by? will you make sure that your budget shows that? >> the answer is yes. i'm not sure which programs i'd like to have stabs talk about, -- >> okay, i will. we came together to get the, to get it through the way we did.
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i also want to make sure that we have the funding and, that you have what you need there. lastly, i will just submit this for the record. i see my time is up. you recently issued freedom of information act guidelines, i'm concerned about, and i'm pleased by that, but i'm concerned about the enforcement of it. i will also submit a letter record on that. i appreciate your answer, attorney general. >> thank you, -- >> senator collins.
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>> welcome mister attorney general. the administration has taken conflicting positions on whether or not the covid pandemic constitutes a public health emergency. could you please explain to the subcommittee how the departments can justify arguing in court that the pandemic has subsided enough to warrant the termination of title 42, which will worsen the problem of tens of thousands of unvaccinated migrants illegally entering the country while at the same time arguing in a separate case that the public health consequences are dire enough to warrant compelled mask usage by americans on public transportation? >> yes, thank you, senator. i think it's important to under-for me to explain the role of the justice department, which is not to make judgments about the public health, not to make judgments about policy in either the two areas that you are raising, but rather to make determinations of whether the programs and requests of the agencies that are responsible for those are
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lawful. so, with respect to the mask mandate on the planes, i think this is quite transparent, the cdc announced its assessment that this was a program that was continued to be necessary in the confines of airplanes and public transportation. the only question for us is that a lawful, and they asked us to appeal, the solicitor general concluded it was lawful. we have appealed. with theirespect to title 42, it is the same analysis from our side, from the justice department side. the only question here is, the cdc's program and the cdc's announcement and its assessment. we defend that program as long as it's lawful. we don't make the public health determinations that you're speaking of. >> and i understand that. i think the cdc has put the justice department in an untenable position. arguing one position
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in one case, and i conflicting position and another case. but i understand that you don't make the public health determinations. let me switch to another consequence of the uncontrolled southern border. in the year between september 2020 and september, 2021, more than 104,000 americans died from drug overdose. in maine, we set a horrific new record. 636 people died from drug overdoses. that was a 23% increase from the previous year. in 2021, the ceased more than 10,000 grams of fentanyl. that's a 67%
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increase from the previous year. just three months and two this year, agents tell me that they have already seized half of last year's total. lot enforcement officials in maine and elsewhere tell me that these drugs are largely entering the united states through the southern border, where resources that could be targeting drug interdiction are instead being diverted to help with the influx of migrants illegally crossing the border. do you agree that the governments inability to secure the southern border has led to more drugs coming into our country? >> look, the opioid emitted hammock, particularly the influx of fentanyl is just
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horrifying, it's extraordinarily sad for the large number of americans who are becoming addicted and who have become addicted. the job of the justice department is to fight the large-scale drug trafficking organizations that are bringing this money, these drugs, into the country. that is the reason we have asked for large increases for all of our anti drug programs. the dea has asked for 102 million dollar increase. for a total of 3. 1 billion dollars to fight the very issues that you are speaking of. the u.s. marshal service has asked for a billion dollars for drug trafficking fugitive capture. the u.s. attorneys offices, a hundred and $6 million, the fbi 100 and
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$61 million. the criminal division for 46 point $9 million. including regional opioid task forces. the cops grants, the money that we're giving, includes the money for the anti-meth task forces and anti heroin. we are asking for all the money we can get. we are not stopping here. as you don't know, i announced the a date meant an extradition of the former president of honduras to the united states to face justice for organizing drug trafficking coming out of the northern triangle. we will be persistent in that effort. >> thank you. >> senator manchin? >> thank you, mister chairman. thank you, senator, thank you, honorable garland. i want to continue here support a public service. we appreciate
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our position. i'm voting rights. i always believe the health of democracy depends on a voting system that is accessible, free, fair and, secure. history tells we come along with ensuring all individuals, regardless of the race, sex, or political affiliation have the ability to cast a vote. we can all agree that we still have a lot of work to do. i particularly concerned by the recent opinions and rulings that seemed, under decades, the legal precedent under the voting rights act. specifically, in february, a federal district coat an arkansas rule that only a u.s. attorney general has standing to enforce section two of the voting rights act. the court found that it would be inappropriate to imply a private right of action to enforce section two of the voting rights act. your opinion on that, sir, with that interpretation, are you agreeing or disagreeing? would impact, if any, could this have on voting rights, if this was adopted across the country? >> very good question, senator. on the first question, normally i don't -- i've already a pines. i don't think it hurts any to
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do that. we have filed across the country and a number of these cases. we believe there is a private right of action. to enforce the voting rights act. it's always been assumed that that was the case, since the act was passed in the mid 60s. no one has ever questioned it, i think, until this year. to the second point, the consequences of the justice department, the only ones who can bring voting rights cases, i'm going to be blunt, you're going to give us a lot more money. if the justice department has to bring every single case to enforce voting rights, we're going to -- >> the arguing about, that sir, sorry to interrupt, the arguing about, that you have pros and cons on that? the litigation. if you had everybody being able to declare that they've been infringed upon. we don't see that going any further than that. we're having all these discussions and our committees.
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we're trying to get the clarity on that. doesn't seem like to me that person has that right. it has a been exercised, if it's been frivolous, i haven't seen it going further, i don't know how it's been a strain on the court system. >> you know, i haven't done an analysis of the court system. this has been the rule that we've had all the way since the mid 60s. i've never heard any complaints that it is taxing the court system. >> we haven't either. sir, if i could switch a little bit on that. that is very helpful. we are working on. that on the prowess catching, where there's a lot price gouging right now. we saw that with when we first had the, when we first had covid brought to our attention, the horrible epidemic back in may, march of 2020. we saw that with the n95 mask, clorox wipes, toilet paper, and now we're going to see it again this time with fuel pricing and food pricing, things of that sort.
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should there be criminal price gouging statute? >> this is a matter of huge debate. i trust in economics, i'd like to hold off on that. our staff would be happy to work with -- >> what constitutes you all, basically taking, under your surveillance if you will, acceptable prices for scarce products? what constitutes acceptable price for scarce products? >> for us, the questions are unlawful agreements to fix prices, and exclusionary behavior by monopolists and near monopolistic. if we're in those circumstances, if they exclude competition, that falls under the antitrust laws, and likewise agreements on prices between competitors. i want to follow up also on senator collins concern on the opioid epidemic. myself and senator -- the state of west virginia,
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we've been number one, as far as getting slammed with this. can you speak to the status of doj's current efforts to curtail the opioid crisis, including the appalachian regional opiate of the are pro strikeforce. >> i hope you agree, that's a very effective task force. that money is included in our request for me finds. i'm not sure whether that's the one that comes under the officer justice programs, under the criminal division, those task forces, both the meth and heroin ones, that senator collins was concerned about the last time we spoke, and the opioid one that you are talking about -- >> we need your support for that, sir. >> the support expanding those. if we get the money requested that budget -- >> very quickly, i want to follow up. -- it would amend the immediate suspension order, the standard overview
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from the suspension likelihood of an immediate threat standard to a probable cause standard. that's again, order standard of review from a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat, to a probable cause standard. one additional authority do believe doj or fbi need in order to effectively stop the flow of prescription opiates and other illegal drugs? the substantial likelihood is pretty darn broad. probable cause, we know exactly what that entails. >> i haven't been directly involved in the question of the standard here. consumer protection branch does the work -- >> if you could, look we have that piece of legislation, i think all of us have been, all the states have been ravaged by this horrible addiction that we have, the drugs continue to flow. it might give us a better chance to fight this opioid, as the drug onslaught. if you could look into the language. that's the dea, the enforcement, the
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authority act. >> senator manchin, thank. >> senator kennedy? >> thank you, mister chairman, thank you general for being here. can you pull that mic closer to you. >> is that better? >> yes. general, hey i think the justice department is losing. i think you're losing on crime. i think you're losing on drugs. i think you're losing on immigration. i think you're losing on chinese espionage. let me start with crime. what percentage of cops in america do you think are bad cops? >> a very small percentage. >> how small? >> i don't have a number. >> one of the country's
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chief law enforcement officers, is it less than 10%? >> yes. let me be clear. we believe that most police officers follow the constitution and their practices, most police departments do. all police officers, i believe, want to work in police departments that follow constitutional policing requirements. >> is it less than 5%? >> i don't have the numbers. i think it probably is. again, i don't have any numbers for you. >> do you think those cops are racist? >> no, i do not. >> what percentage of cops do you think, in your judgment, i know you can't get mean exact figure, do you think are racist? >> i'm not resisting, because i have a number that can't give you, i just really, i don't have any way of making that evaluation. >> what does your gut tell you, less than 5%? >> one thing i learned, not get answers from my gut. >> you think it's less than 5%? >> i don't know the
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answer, i'm sorry. >> you don't know? >> i don't, now -- >> why doesn't the justice department support stop question, and frisk? >> i'm not sure. you mean stop-and-frisk? >> some call it stop-and-frisk. >> i don't know that the justice department has a position. this is a state and local roll normally. >> do you think it works? >> i'm sorry? >> do you think it works? >> i think in some questions it works, of course could be abused. >> right. why doesn't the justice department aggressively encourage law enforcement officials to use that technique? it's been declared constitutional as you know? >> the supreme court has affirmed the cost to nationality of
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stop-and-frisk, that's exactly right, we don't, this federal government doesn't do patrol. this is work for patrol. >> i know you don't, you're one of the country's chief lot fortunate vessels, maybe the chief, what you say matters. here's what i'm asking. let's take chicago, where you have, we haven't made any inroads and stopping the killing. chicago is now the world's largest outdoor shooting range. we know that a lot of the shootings come from gangs. why wouldn't you want to call the police chief the mayor in chicago, say, look, you know who these gang members are. when you have reasonable suspicion, and objective standard, more than just a hunch, why don't you aggressively stop, question, and frisk these gang members? you get guns off the street. you'll get drugs off the street. and you look at a lot of gang members off the street. you'll stop people killing each other. why won't you do that?
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>> the best way for the federal government to stop violent crime is to work at each local level and determine, and let the state and locals determine what the best use of their -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt. i'm trying to get some answers. >> why won't you do that? >> because there is no one solution fits all that the federal government can suggest to state and local law enforcement. we believe state and local law enforcement knows best as to what to do their. we provide -- >> it's not work. >> we provide our technical expertise. we put lots of resources into joint task forces. >> general, i have to shut this down, i only have 15 seconds, is that why you are asking in the middle of a raging inflation for 7% more money, two point 63 billion dollars to provide technical
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increase, technical advice? i mean, we're going backwards here on crime, general. you are the states of the country's chief law enforcement officer. you won't even answer my question about how you feel about stop, question, and frisk? >> i think it's a resource allocation issue for each local police department. i believe that the justice department does the best by putting the money that we are asking for, the increase along enforcement, that can be assisting the state and -- local >> is that was quite response to tell the mothers of those kids getting killed in chicago? you don't understand. it's a resource allocation. >> what you're supposed to tell the mothers in chicago, and what i told them, and when i was there, the justice department was there to provide all the resources that this subcommittee will give us to stop violent crime. the more resources -- >> -- >> that is a question for the state and local. i'm sorry. for the state and the local law enforcement.
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>> i don't go over much as manchin did. >> that is not the standard by which we judge behavior. >> thank you, general. >> you are welcome. >> thank you, senator moran, and welcome, mister attorney general. >> i want to start with some thanks to you and president biden and your team at the justice department for implementing something that many of us have push forward for a long time, which is the final rule with respect to ghost guns. these are, of course, weapons you can buy them over the internet in pieces, quickly, assemble them and they shoot and kill people just like a regular firearm. one major difference, they do not have serial numbers, which is why they're becoming the weapon of choice by criminals in my state of maryland, places like baltimore city, and around the country. i want to apply to you for moving forward on that
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effort and also applaud the president for nominating a director of atf, steve dettelbach, a good candidate. i hope the senate will confirm that expeditiously. the atf has gone headless for way too long, as you know. we need a strong atf to crackdown on illegal gun trafficking, among other issues. as you know, congress has brought back congressionally directed spending. we can try to target resources where our communities say they are needed the most. senator card and i worked with this committee to channel important resources. to address the really serious violent crime problem and baltimore
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city. there is no one solution, but we provided a series of resources for community based crime and violent prevention programs, community policing, my question to you, mister attorney general, baltimore city is waiting on those funds. how quickly can we get them? can you give us your commitment that you can get those out the door quickly? >> if you give us the money, we can get them out the door quickly. an important part of our ability to fight violent crime in baltimore and other locations, where it is a very serious problem, is having more assistant u.s. attorneys to prosecute these cases. federal government has stronger -- >> so, mister attorney general, just one clarification here, i'm talking about in this question, the money we already have appropriated. these are monies that we've provided. they are in the custody of either the department of justice or treasury. we would like to get the money out the door. >> as far as i know, our priority is to get the money out the door. it doesn't do us any good to keep it in main justice, i assure you. >> we'd
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like to encourage your team to get it out. it is a serious situation there. now, to the broader issue raising, with respect to resources for the u. s. attorney and maryland, for the atf in maryland, for u.s. marshal's services in maryland, we have seen some increases over the last couple years. i want to thank you and your deputy attorney general, monaco, who's had a series of phone calls for senator carton and myself. we do need more resources. we have a very serious problem and baltimore city. we do have good cooperation between the federal government, state and local jurisdictions. can you talk about specifically how resources your question here can strengthen our ability to get more resources to baltimore city? >> so, through no fault of the subcommittee, we did not
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get the amount of money the united states attorneys that was in the budget requestand that was in the marks of the subcommittee as a consequence of that. we received 128 billion dollars less then we would have the clarity to crust, so for that reason we're asking for increases for the u.s. attorney's offices to allow us to hire hundred 57 more assistant u.s. attorneys. obviously, the more u.s. assistant attorneys we have, the easier it is to allocate them around the country, to the places that are in need. the same is true with respect to atf. we are asking for an increase of 122 agents. again, the more that we have, the more we are able to expand the locations in which we can put people. >> thank you, i look forward to supporting that budget request, for the reasons you laid out. i hope the committee will as well. my final, i just have a statement here, mister attorney general, the congress on a bipartisan basis has recognized that the
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fbi needs a new consolidated headquarters, that meets its security requirements. before the previous administration, three sites have been located. in the last bill passed by the congress appropriations bill, we directed the general services administration to select one of the three earlier identified sites for the new fully consolidated fbi headquarters. so, as the chief law enforcement officer, we expect you to work with us to make sure that the law is followed. and i am confident that you will do that. thank you, thank you madam chair. >> thank, you senator van hollen. senator hagerty. >> thank, you senator shaheen and thank you, ranking member warren, for holding this hearing. thank, you attorney general, for being back with us today. i want to touch on something that's a great concern to my constituents, and frankly to the confidence of many people in our system that you control, through the department of
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justice. and that's the matter of the hunter biden investigation. you received a great deal of press, but i want to ask you about how the communications have worked within your department and the white house on this. first, have you been briefed on the hunter biden investigation matter yourself, genera garland? >> so, the hunter biden investigation as i said, even in my own nomination, confirmation hearing, is being run by and supervised by the united states attorney for the district of delaware. >> i'm aware of that, but he reports to you? >> he is supervising the investigation, and i am not at liberty to talk about internal justice department deliberations. but he is in charge of that investigation. there will not be interference of any political or improper kind. >> and are any senior officials in your department being briefed? >> again, he is the supervisor of this investigation. and the normal processes of the department occur, but he is the supervisor
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of this investigation. >> well, if you won't be able to say whether there have been communications there, i would like for you to tell me, answer this question, if you would. do you think it would be appropriate for the president of the united states to call you into the oval office and tell you that his son didn't break the law regarding this matter? >> absolutely not. the president has not done that, the president has committed not to interfere, not only in that investigation but any kind of -- >> i agree with you, but i do wonder this, then. why the president is recording to tv and having his surrogates go on tv to say just that message. just last month chief of staff shared on television, quote, the president is confident that his son didn't break the law. the white house communications director said that president biden maintains his position that his son did nothing that
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is unethical. this is on national television. the president's already told his subordinates, clearly, these are people he can fire at will, that he and his family did nothing wrong. how can the american people be confident that his administration is conducting a serious investigation? >> because we put the investigation in the hands of a trump appointee, from the previous administration, who is the united states attorney for the district of delaware. and because you have me as the attorney general, who is committed to the independence of the justice department from any influence from the white house in criminal matters. >> well, i think the observation here is terribly critical because there is an obvious conflict of interest here. because of those who are investigating the biden family in their enterprise can be fired by the head of the family that is being investigated. that is, joe biden can fire the attorney general in delaware, he can have an impact on all of your staffing. i want to ask you this. under what circumstances do you consider, or how do you evaluate whether you would appoint a special counsel? >> well, i think this
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is a fact and law question in each case, determining and depending upon cases go forward and a question of whether the justice department, with his normal processes, should continue. i want to be clear, the, special counsels are always slow employees of the justice department. we don't have an independent counsel statute anymore. but the democrats and the republicans experimented with this, and i think probably in the end neither side liked it. that's why we ended up with the law not being re-authorized. but, in any event, the special counsel is also an employee of the justice department. >> have you had any consideration about whether to do this? >> again, i think our internal deliberations have to stay within the department. >> again, i'll just restate that there is an obvious conflict there that raises concerns amongst my constituents. i'd like to turn to some public evidence,
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though. there are emails and photographs that show president biden while he was vice president, meeting several of hunter biden's associates. including a burisma executive, the company that paid hunter biden to sit on the board. and a russian firm that paid hunter biden -- at the same time. all of this was why president biden was running portions of the united states foreign policy, including ukraine. there is evidence that hunter biden paid for joe biden's living expenses while he was vice president. a hunter biden email from 2010, titled jr b bills, joe biden bills, discusses the upkeep of biden's lakefront home. another 2010 email, from a confidant to hunter biden, saying, quote, your dad just called me, he could use some positive news about his future earnings potential. to me, this suggests that joe biden's salary is tax funded salary and his lifestyle as vice president of the united states wasn't enough to support his lifestyle. that same confidant, and also hunter biden's business partner, made nine visits to the white house between 2009 and 2013 and met with joe biden in the west wing while joe biden was vice
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president. and we have a text message from joe biden to his daughter stating that, don't worry, unlike pop, meaning joe biden, i won't make you give me half your salary. so, it seems president biden was serving as vice president and running u.s. foreign policy at the same time that his son, hunter biden, was raking in money from shady foreign business deals. and this was money that was being diverted to benefit vice president biden. so, general garland, do you have any reason to dispute the evidence that suggest president biden was involved with and using money from hunter biden's business deals? >> senator, following the long-standing rule of the justice department, we don't discuss investigations or evidence that may or may not be relevant to investigations. that's a matter for the united states attorney's office that is investigating the case. >> well, thank you. >> attorney general garland has requested a break at 11:15, so what we are going to try and do is get senator schatz and senator
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capito in, and then we will have a ten minute break and take up the rest of the questions. senator schatz? >> thank you very much, chair shaheen and vice chair moran. attorney general, thank you for being here. i'm going to try to get through five questions, so if i get quick answers i would be great. what, if any, are the doj's plans to reinstate federal prosecutorial discretion for non interference in states, territories and tribes where marijuana is legal? >> so, as i understand, our role with respect their, it's really the same it is with respect to states -- you're talking about marijuana prosecution, right? >> yes. >> i lay this out also in my confirmation hearing, and my view hasn't changed since then. and that is that the justice
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department has almost never prosecuted a use of marijuana. and that's not an efficient use of the resources, given the opioid and methamphetamine epidemic that we have. >> that's good enough for me, let's move on. i want to talk a little bit about prea oversight. there have been a number of recent sexual abuse cases at fci dublin and several other federal prisons across the country. what is the department going to do to address these prea violations?
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>> this is another terrible set of events. we have prosecuted a number of the individuals responsible now at dublin for this. we have put in place a new warden at dublin, within the last three weeks. the deputy eternal has set up a task force to investigate and determine what the procedural failures here where and how these kinds of failures can be prevented in the future, and the matter has been referred to the inspector general for an internal investigation. >> thank you. will the doj at least consider, i don't want you to commit to it now, but consider the supporting the reestablishment of an inter agency law enforcement equipment working group to oversee and provide recommendations for federal programs that include the transfer or sales of controlled equipment to law enforcement? we know this issue comes out periodically, this is a space where this can be done intelligently. i think that we've seen 1033 and various other programs where equipment is transferred to local departments and it can be very useful, or it can be overkill. the point of a working group like this is to sort of sauce out what's departments need and what seems to be over arming local police forces. >> i appreciate you are not asking for a commitment, but of course any consideration of that issue requires inter
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agency discussion. because some of the equipment you're talking about is defense department equipment. so, certainly, i would be happy to consider that. >> this is a hawaii specific question. we don't have a halfway house in hawaii since october of 2019. so, does the department have an interim or emergency set of measures to ensure that hawaii's halfway house eligible individuals still have access to services? >> yeah, so, as you noted senator, i think we've discussed, before the bureau of prisons has had a problem expanding residential reentry center in hawaii for a number of reasons. not the least of which is that the providers are very scarce. b. o. p. i i understand has made progress on a day reporting center, a contract that hopes to make an award in the next few months. >> final question. easy one.
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what is your position on clemency for leonard peltier? >> this is a matter that goes into applications, goes to the pardon attorney. pardon attorney makes recommendations to the attorney general to the president. and, so i'm not going to comment on that now. >> can you comment on where we are in the process? >> i assume, but don't know if an application has been made. i actually don't even know whether -- i've read about this in the press, so i don't know anything more about it than whatever it in the press. >> and this does across your desk? >> certainly not as an initial or even secondary matter. this goes to the pardon attorney and then the deputy attorney general. i'm not saying i wouldn't be involved, but it certainly has not crossed my desk. >> thank you very much. >> thank you senator schatz. senator capito? >> thank you, thank you attorney general for being with us today. i just want to begin with expressing my deep concern about the flow of fentanyl into the country from the southern border.
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senator manchin mentioned west virginia that the tip of the spear, as you know. senator collins brought this up as a big issue. we've had meetings over the last two weeks, being at home. fentanyl is the killer. i, mean it's what is coming up through the southern border. so, i would impress upon you how absolutely critical it is that the situation at the southern border has got to get better. i understand the demand side as what's driving this and a lot of ways, but if we can cut the supply i think we can cut a lot of tragedy out of a lot of people's lives. and i know you understand that as well. let me ask a question. over the pandemic, we've seen a significant increase in first-time gun owners, with almost 60% increase in african american gun owners, 50% increase in hispanic gun owners, 43% in asian american gunrunners. i guess i would ask you if you have a perception as to why this is. but, the reason i'm asking the question and i'm
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interested in it, of course i want to see our second amendment rights protected but also the next system that runs the background checks goes through west virginia, as you know. do you have any kind of perception as to why gun ownership is up among different groups? and, during the pandemic, i know it's been bigger and all groups. what would you attribute that to and what kind of strain is this having on our next system? >> i don't know the answer, i'm sorry, to the first question. this is the kind of analysis that i can't make up, i can't even guess at. i don't know what the causes are. the second question i can answer. the more gun sales, the more difficult it is for the knicks system, but that's the job of the next system. that's why we're asking for an increase in two point $6 million for the system in the presidents budget here, to take
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into account the increase in the number of sales. >> right, and they can certainly use it. we know, we want accurate records, we want good records. they're working 24/7, as you know. recently, fbi director christopher wray stated during an interview that there is a 59% increase in police officer killings. that, is officers being killed at a rate of almost one every five days. this is alarming to me. we had one of these incidents in our hometown. it's occurring at ambushes, attacks. you are asking for more money in 30 billion dollars and mandatory spending for law enforcement help. what are you looking at in this area to protect, i know hiring is an issue, but protecting our forces? this is very concerning to me. well, it's extraordinarily concerning to me and do all of the hundred and 20,000 members of the justice department. most of whom, are involved in law enforcement. so, these are our brothers and sisters who are sometimes being targeted directly, sometimes being
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killed in line of duty. sometimes, as a consequence of suicide. we have a overall task force involving investigative threats which includes in particular threats against law enforcement -- >> are using the threats go up. >> yes, extraordinarily so. you are right, i don't know the number that director wray cited, it sounds exactly right to me. the number is extremely worrying. >> i would like to see the focus of some of this new finding go into this precise issue. the suicide issue, obviously, is something that is deeply troubling as well. i think a lot of it is a lack of respect for law enforcement in certain areas of the country, around the country, we're having trouble hiring in, we had we try to do reform, we couldn't get it across the finish line to try to help our local law enforcement. -- do you buy a straining, all kinds of things. we see that they are issues within our police
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department. i'm very concerned about this. let me ask you another question, i noticed in your statement that you're going to create a new division to combat climate crisis. the reason i'm asking, the reason i'm interested, i'm on the ap w committee, and the ranking member there. there is a lot of enforcement at other places it on environmental justice. you're going to create a new office for environmental justice. are these directives coming from the white house, why now? why with all of the other efforts that are going on throughout all the different cabinet positions in the government, is this something that you're putting high priority on right now? >> i think you rightly noted, it's not a division. it is an office within our already existing environment division. the reason is, there is
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responsibilities but in the environment decision and then civil rights division. so, according nation of, particularly on environmental justice issue requires coordination between. >> as not being handled in other areas? for instance, and the epa enforcement, and their environmental justice office? >> to be honest, i don't know about their environmental justice office. we had a civil rights division, which does prosecutions for civil rights violations, with the environment division, which as the affirmative cases. we wanted to have some coordination between the two. that is the reason for having this office. >> i mention about three things i would put in front of this, thank you so much. >> thank you, senator, we will now take a break. we will reconvene at 11:30. this

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