AG Merrick Garland: 'Racism is an American problem'

The newly appointed attorney general urged calm in an exclusive interview with Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas as the nation braces for a verdict in the Chauvin trial.
2:21 | 04/20/21

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Transcript for AG Merrick Garland: 'Racism is an American problem'
Well, Michael, now to that ABC news exclusive, one-on-one with attorney general Merrick Garland in his first interview since taking office. Our chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas sat down with him as closing arguments in the chauvin trial were going on to talk about justice and policing here in the U.S. Good morning, Pierre. Reporter: Amy, good morning. The attorney general was here in Oklahoma City on the 26th anniversary of that horrific bombing that killed 168 people warning that the threat of domestic terror is high but right now he's also keeping a watchful eye on that Minneapolis courtroom and its enormous implications on the issue of race and policing in this country. This morning, the attorney general urging calm. As a nation braces for a verdict in the chauvin trial. What's your level of concern about the potential of violence. I intend to wait until the verdict before I will say anything and I would urge the American people to do the same. Reporter: Garland careful not to comment about George Floyd directly or ongoing cases involving race in policing but admitting to being stunned by the images he saw last summer. I also saw the videos last summer all through the summer and like many Americans I was shocked, but many black Americans were not shocked because they have known of this, of this kind of treatment before. Do you believe there is still bias and pockets of racism within law enforcement? Racism is an American problem. I think that, you know, plain to me that there's -- has been and remains discrimination against African-Americans. We do not yet have equal justice under law. Reporter: In some ways issues of race and bias are extremely personal for Garland whose grandparents fled anti-semitism in Europe. And the country took them in. It still is -- Yeah. They protected them at a time when other countries wouldn't. Reporter: Garland says he expects doj will do more investigation where it looks at whether there is systemic bias in entire police departments. Thank you. Now to the race to vaccinate

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

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