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U.S. spike in domestic terrorism keeps me awake at night, says attorney general

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United States Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday asked Congress to provide more funds to investigate and prosecute domestic terrorism, saying it was a growing threat that kept him awake at night.

Garland, who had served as a federal appellate judge and federal prosecutor before President Joe Biden appointed him as head of the Department of Justice, was testifying about the department’s budget request for fiscal year 2022.

“We have a growing fear of violent extremism and domestic terrorism,” Garland told a US House of Representatives budget subcommittee. “Both keep me awake at night.”

He did not name specific violent groups, but far-right members Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are among more than 400 people arrested in the deadly Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of the former President Donald Trump.

United States Attorney General Merrick Garland issues statement to the Department of Justice in Washington, United States, April 26, 2021. Mandel Ngan / Pool via REUTERS

The hearing marked Garland’s first appearance before Congress since his confirmation as the country’s chief law enforcement officer in March.

He told the House panel that the lethality of weapons available to foreign and domestic terrorists has increased, and that the Justice Department “is devoting its resources to the defense of the country in both cases.”

“We have an emerging and growing threat,” Garland said.

He pointed out in his opening remarks that the Justice Department is requesting $ 85 million in additional funding from Congress to bolster its efforts to fight domestic terrorism.

Garland said the ministry is also seeking a historic $ 1 billion investment in its Office of Violence Against Women, and that the budget proposal includes a $ 232 million increase in funding to help tackle gun violence. .

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