Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas informed senators on Wednesday that the biggest domestic threat going through the United States comes from what they each referred to as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.”

“Specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race,” Mr. Garland informed the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The cupboard secretaries’ appearances marked a dramatic shift from the tone of the Trump administration, when the threat from white supremacists and comparable teams was intentionally downplayed, partially to raise the profile of what former President Donald J. Trump described as violent threats from radical left-wing groups.

Last yr, the former head of homeland safety’s intelligence department filed a whistle-blower complaint wherein he accused the division of blocking an intelligence report about the threat of violent racism and described white supremacists as the deadliest domestic terrorists in recent times.

“The department is taking a new approach to addressing domestic violent extremism, both internally and externally,” Mr. Mayorkas informed senators on Wednesday.

While the Justice and Homeland Security departments have lengthy been concerned in countering violent extremism inside the nation, Biden administration officials have mentioned the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riots at the Capitol introduced an pressing have to focus extra on domestic extremism.

But Senate Republicans didn’t share that focus. The high Republican on the committee, Senator Richard C. Shelby, of Alabama, mentioned that Democrats had been politicizing the challenge by portray domestic violent extremists as coming from the far-right. He equated the riots to the protests throughout the summer season of 2020 towards police violence.

Other committee Republicans grilled the legal professional common and homeland safety chief on border safety and different immigration points.

The Justice Department is main the investigation into the Jan. 6 riots and has arrested greater than 430 individuals throughout the nation, Mr. Garland mentioned. As recently as last week, prosecutors started informally negotiating plea offers. Some of the defendants have fighting the charges.

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