Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy Holds Hearing On Domestic Violent Extremism In America

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, May 12, 2021) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Wednesday held a hearing of the full Committee to examine the increasing prevalence of domestic violent extremism in the United States. 

Viewed by many experts as the most persistent and lethal threat facing our country, attacks and plots by domestic violent extremists are on the rise.  In 2020 alone, white nationalists and like-minded extremists conducted 66 percent of terrorist plots and attacks in the United States.  The FBI’s case load of open investigations into domestic terrorism has nearly doubled, and that number only continues to rise after the violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. 

Leahy said: “Over the last four years, extremists who were once relegated to the fringes of our society and uniformly condemned by our nation’s leaders suddenly felt they had support at the highest levels of the United States government – indeed, from within the Oval Office itself.  We had a President who instead of simply condemning the violence in Charlottesville where a woman was killed during a white nationalist rally, he said to a nation there were ‘very fine people on both sides.’  When asked to denounce white supremacy during an election debate, instead of doing so without equivocation, he told the right-wing Proud Boys to ‘stand back and stand by.’  And he urged the crowd to ‘fight like hell’ moments before they did just that, storming the Capitol.  You cannot strike a match near gas and act surprised when it catches fire.”

Leahy invited Attorney General Merrick Garland and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to testify before the committee.

Video of the hearing is available HERE

Leahy’s full statement is available HERE

Attorney General Garland’s statement is available HERE

Secretary Mayorkas’ statement is available HERE

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