Biden Attorney General

Judge Merrick Garland, nominee to be Attorney General, testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday at Capitol Hill in Washington. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON — Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's attorney general nominee, vowed Monday to prioritize combating extremist violence and said his first focus would be on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as he sought to assure lawmakers that the Justice Department would remain politically independent on his watch.

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