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Biden AG Pick Merrick Garland: DOJ Open To Helping ‘Craft Legislation’ With Congress To Combat Online Misinfo, Incitement

   DailyWire.com
Judge Merrick Garland nominated by US President-elect Joe Biden to be attorney general delivers remarks at The Queen theater January 7, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware. - Biden nominated Judge Merrick Garland to be attorney general, Lisa Monaco to be deputy attorney general, Vanita Gupta to be associate attorney general, and Kristen Clarke to be assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, said he wanted to look at possibly creating legislation to combat misinformation and incitement online in response to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Garland made the remarks during his day one of his confirmation hearings on Monday where he was repeatedly asked about the riot and even mentioned in his opening remarks, saying, “If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

During the question-and-answer portion of the hearing, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said, “I’ll be serving as the chair of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law in this Congress and look forward to working with Senator Sasse who will serve as ranking member, one of the core things we’ll be looking at is how online misinformation is contributing to domestic terrorism to division here.”

“Do you think the DOJ has a role to play in examining the role of misinformation and incitement online, to contributing to violence?” Coons asked. “And that the DOJ has a role in working to help us develop reasonable solutions to this challenge?”

“Well, again, Senator, I think that every opportunity the Justice Department has to work with members of the Senate to think about how to solve problems and how to craft legislation is one that we should take,” Garland responded. “I don’t have in mind particular legislation in this area, I do think that an important part of the investigation of violent extremist groups is following their activities online and getting an idea of what kind of information and misinformation is putting being put out. Well, I look forward to talking more about this with you.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): I’ll be serving as the chair of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law in this Congress and look forward to working with Senator Sasse who will serve as ranking member, one of the core things we’ll be looking at is how online misinformation is contributing to domestic terrorism to division here. You’ve discussed your own experience with domestic terrorism cases. And your plan to prioritize this issue. It’s something the FBI director has said is one of our most pressing threats. Do you think the DOJ has a role to play in examining the role of misinformation and incitement online, to contributing to violence? And that the DOJ has a role in working to help us develop reasonable solutions to this challenge?

MERRICK GARLAND, BIDEN AG NOMINEE: Well, again, Senator, I think that every opportunity that Justice Department has to work with members of the Senate to think about how to solve problems and how to craft legislation is one that we should take. I don’t have in mind particular legislation in this area, I do think that an important part of the investigation of violent extremist groups is following their activities online and getting an idea of what kind of information and misinformation is putting being put out. Well, I look forward to talking more about this with you.

COONS: Well, there’s increasing regulatory schemes both in Europe and in California and other states being considered. And I look forward to working with you on striking that appropriate balance between protecting data privacy, protecting individual liberty, but also protecting the competitiveness of the United States and globally, making sure that we’re pushing back on digital authoritarianism. Last, I’m glad to see the department is prosecuting. I think there’s 235 charges brought so far against rioters who invaded the Capitol and attacked our democracy in January 6. I’ve supported calls for a 911-style independent commission, to investigate the bigger picture of what caused this and what we might learn from it. Do you think an independent commission of that style would help complement the department’s work and help the American people better understand the root causes of that riot that incident and then better help us both protect the capital and those of us who serve here, but more importantly, protect the underpinnings of our democracy?

GARLAND: Well, Senator, I do think the 911 Commission was very useful and very helpful in understanding what happened then. And of course, the the Congress has full authority to conduct this kind of oversight investigation or to set up an independent commission. The only thing that I would ask if I were confirmed, is that care be taken that it not the investment, that Commission’s investigation not interfere with our ability to prosecute individuals and entities that caused … the storming of the Capitol, and as Well, no, this is a very sensitive issue about you know, disclosing operations which are still in progress, disclosing our sources and methods, and allowing people to testify in a way that then makes it impossible to prosecute them. So with those caveats, I certainly could not object to anything that the Congress would want to do in this regard.

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