In the 1990s, Merrick Garland was a senior prosecutor at the Department of Justice who gained a reputation for his hard-nosed pursuit of domestic extremists, including the Oklahoma City bomber.
Now Attorney General, Garland has wasted no time in returning to his old beat. On Thursday, his first day as AG, Garland addressed the 115,000 DOJ employees he now commands in a virtual speech. Then he set to work, with a particular focus on the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol. From The Wall Street Journal:
Less than an hour after his short speech Thursday, Mr. Garland went behind closed doors with Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray and other national security officials for a briefing on the riot investigation.
Later on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports, Garland met with prosecutors at the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. That investigative body has led the probe into the deadly events of January 6th. Garland praised their work; so far, more than 300 people have been arrested.
Garland’s swift attention to the investigation follows through on a pledge he made during his confirmation hearings. In February he told lawmakers:
“One of the very first things I will do is get a briefing on the progress of this investigation. I intend to give the career prosecutors who are working on this matter 24/7 all the resources they could possibly require to do this.”