Testimony as prepared for delivery
Good morning, Chairman [Bob] Goodlatte, Ranking Member [John] Conyers and distinguished members of the Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss how we can continue working together to ensure the security of our nation, the strength of our communities and the safety of our people.
As we gather here this morning, I know that we’re all thinking of the two bailiffs who were killed and the sheriff’s deputy who was wounded in a shooting at a courthouse in Michigan yesterday. The Department of Justice stands ready to provide whatever help we can to state and local authorities as they investigate this heinous crime and our sincerest condolences are with the friends, colleagues and loved ones of the devoted public servants that we lost.
This incident follows on the heels of the series of devastating events that rocked our nation last week: the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota and the deplorable murder of five brave Dallas police officers – Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa, who were protecting a peaceful protest, along with several of their comrades who were wounded. The Department of Justice – including the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service and our U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas – is working closely with our state and local counterparts and we will offer any assistance we can as the investigation in Dallas unfolds. Among other resources, we will send assistance to the victims and their families. Our hearts are broken for the families and loved ones of those we lost in these tragic events. And our gratitude goes out to the brave men and women who wear the badge and who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.
As we grapple with the aftermath of these events, the Department of Justice will continue to do everything in our power to build bonds of trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities we serve. That work has never been more difficult – or more important. We will continue to offer our state and local partners funding, training and technical assistance for critical programs and assets like body-worn cameras, de-escalation training and education in implicit bias. In fact, in the last month, we announced that we would begin providing implicit bias training to federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors. We will continue to promote the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing through training and technical assistance. Our Civil Rights Division plays a critical role in ensuring constitutional policing and accountability and rebuilding trust where trust has eroded. And through our Office of Justice Programs and our Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, we will continue to give local departments the tools they need and the training they require to come home safely – from funds for bulletproof vests to training in officer health, safety and wellness.
At the same time that we’re working to support police and citizens in their efforts to build stronger and more united communities, we remain committed to keeping those communities safe and secure. Just a month ago today, 49 innocent lives were taken in an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando – an appalling act of terror and hate that underscored the urgency of confronting threats to our nation wherever they emerge and whatever form they take. There is no responsibility that this department takes more seriously. We are moving aggressively against those who seek to receive training from, or are inspired by, foreign violent extremist groups and we have arrested more than 90 individuals since 2013 for conduct related to foreign fighter activity and homegrown violent extremism. And we are working closely with our counterparts abroad to pursue terrorists and investigate attacks around the world. As the recent incidents in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have reminded us, terror knows no borders and in the face of violent extremism, we must stand with our global partners in unity, readiness and resolve.
I want to close with a comment about the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State. As you are aware, last week I met with Director Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted that investigation. I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation. While I understand that this investigation has generated significant public interest, as Attorney General, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the underlying facts of the investigation or the legal basis for the team’s recommendation. I can tell you that I am extremely proud of the tremendous work of the dedicated prosecutors and agents on this matter.