Ad Spot

March 6, 2021

Biden introduces his pick for attorney general

By Darlene Superville, Steve Peoples and Eric Tucker

Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden introduced his pick for the nation’s top law enforcement official on Thursday, turning to experienced judge Merrick Garland to help de-politicize the Justice Department and restore the rule of law after what the incoming president described as four years of lawlessness under President Donald Trump.

Biden also described the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as “domestic terrorists” and assailed the Republican president for inciting the siege.

“The past four years we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law, clear in everything he has done,” Biden said, vowing a dramatic shift in his administration. “More than anything, we need to restore the honor, the integrity, the independence of the Department of Justice that’s been so badly damaged.”

If confirmed by the Senate, which is likely, Garland would take over as the U.S. attorney general at a critical moment for the country and the agency. He would inherit urgent challenges related to policing and civil rights, an ongoing criminal tax investigation into Biden’s son Hunter and Democratic calls to pursue criminal inquiries into Trump after he leaves office.

Beyond those issues, Garland would be tasked with repairing the American people’s broader distrust in the Justice Department, fomented during a tumultuous four years under Trump’s leadership. The Republican president regularly meddled in the department, most notably firing FBI Director James Comey while his agency was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Biden vowed that Garland’s loyalty would rest not with the president, but with the law and Constitution.

“You don’t work for me,” Biden charged as he introduced Garland.

Facing the public for the first time at Biden’s side, Garland promised to restore an equal commitment to law and order and integrity to the nation’s top law enforcement agency, pointing to Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol as a consequence of failing to do so.

“As everyone who watched yesterday’s events in Washington now understands, if they did not understand before, the rule of law is not just some lawyers’ turn of phrase, it is the very foundation of our democracy,” Garland said.

Garland may be a familiar name to political observers.

Senate Republicans spurned him four years ago, refusing even to hold hearings when President Barack Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court. His confirmation prospects as attorney general were all but ensured when Democrats scored control of the Senate majority by winning both Georgia Senate seats.

Biden also introduced three others for senior Justice Department leadership posts on Thursday, including Obama administration homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, the No. 3 official. He also named an assistant attorney general for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, now the president of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an advocacy group.

Garland was selected over other finalists including former Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

Comments

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month