‘Racism is an American problem’: Attorney General Merrick Garland

Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas has the first network one-on-one television interview with the new U.S. attorney general since his confirmation.
3:43 | 04/20/21

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Transcript for ‘Racism is an American problem’: Attorney General Merrick Garland
Welcome back to "Gma3" and the exclusive network interview. We are hearing for the first time from United States attorney general Merrick Garland in his own words. And our chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas has that exclusive and at times emotional conversation, he's joining us from Oklahoma City. Pierre, good to see you. Hey there. Good morning. The attorney general was here in Oklahoma City on the anniversary of the horrific bombing and issued a warning on the threat of domestic terror right now but he's also keeping a watchful eye on the chauvin trial and enormous implications of the verdict. I asked him if there was still racism in police departments and he gave a blunt answer. I intend to wait to the verdict before I say anything and I encourage the american people to do the same. We will use every resource available to ensure that equal justice occurs. Do you believe there is still pockets of racism and bias within law enforcement? And how widespread do you think it is? Racism is an American problem. I think that, you know, plain to me that there's has been and remains discrimination against African-Americans and other communities of color. And other ethnic minorities. I think it is reflected in discrimination in housing, in employment, in the justice system. All of these things are still in America. We do not yet have equal justice under law. Pierre, he's acknowledging a problem. What does he plan to do about it? Well, he's planning on doing more investigations where the justice department looks at whether there is systemic bias within a police. For the ag, issues of race and discrimination appears to be personal. He got very emotional talking about how his grandparents fled Europe to escape anti-semitism. And the country took them in. It still resonates with you. It protected them. At a time when other countries wouldn't. So all of us and our family feel an obligation, a public service to try to protect other people the way the country protected us. A very emotional moment there for the attorney general. How did that strike you, Pierre, when you watched him recount what his grandparents went through? Reporter: Well, I asked him about the feeling of being the other. And he clearly had an understanding this runs deep in their family. And it shows you the power, the hurtful power of when there is racism and discrimination. And I know you discussed a myriad of topics with the attorney general, Pierre. Among them, the recent rise in mass shootings. How concerned is he about that trend that we've seen for so many years continue to tick upwards? Very, very concerned. He called gun violence an epidemic and warned that the country should not become numb to the carnage that we see playing out every day. I pressed him on whether the administration would push for legislation. He said that they would, but he acknowledged the gridlock in Washington is very much in he's a man clearly with a lot on his plate. Pierre Thomas, another great conversation. Another great reporting from you. So good to have you here on "Gma3" with us, Pierre. Take care. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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