U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said he would “pursue justice without fear or favor” in his decision on whether he would charge former president Donald Trump with crimes related to the Jan 6 Capitol attack and his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The statement comes as news reports indicate the Department of Justice’s investigation is heating up.
The DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation into the events surrounding and leading up to the Jan 6 insurrection on the Capitol, an effort that Garland called “the most wide-ranging investigation in its history”.
New reports say that the DOJ inquiry is homing in on Trump’s role in the insurrection.
Investigators have now questioned witnesses about Trump’s involvement in schemes to overturn the vote, and received the phone records of Trump officials and aides, including former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Federal investigators have also reportedly directly questioned witnesses about Trump’s efforts.
Experts say that these actions signal an escalation.
People have wanted the DOJ to move faster. Responding to criticism that it is not acting quickly enough, Garland said the department was “moving urgently to learn everything we can learn about this period, and to bring to justice everybody who is criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power … which is the fundamental element of our democracy”.
The House committee could make a criminal referral. Whether it will, or whether it should, is a matter of debate within the committee itself.
Garland has said in no uncertain terms that no one I above the law. He said that the DOJ will hold accountable anyone who is criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the legitimate, lawful, peaceful transfer of power.
Garland said: “We pursue justice without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6, or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable. That’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”
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