Atty. General Merrick Garland pledges to hold the January 6 rioters accountable

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Speaking a day before the one-year anniversary of the attack on the United States Capitol, Atty. General Merrick Garland on Wednesday pledged to hold those involved “at any level” accountable in the riot, whether they were present during the fight or not.

In his address to the Justice Department, presented as an update for insurgency investigation employees, Garland pushed back critics who have questioned his commitment to aggressively target those who may have organized or incited the insurgency. disturbis. He described the investigation as “the largest, most complex and most resource-intensive” in the department’s history and noted that these probes are time consuming. “We will follow the facts, not an agenda or an assumption,” he said. “The facts tell us where to go next.”

Noting that 145 mutineers have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and another 20 have pleaded guilty to felony counts, the attorney general said prosecutors have issued more than 5,000 subpoenas and investigators have confiscated about 2,000 electronic devices. 20,000 hours of footage and 300 videos evaluated. of the public.

“We understand that there are questions about how long the investigation will take and what exactly we are doing,” he said. “Our response is, and will continue to be, the same response we would give to any ongoing investigation: whenever necessary and whatever is necessary for justice to be done, in accordance with the facts and the law.”

Garland did not mention the name of former President Trump or give any indication as to who might be in the crosshairs of prosecutors beyond the 725 people already charged in the violent assault by a mob seeking to block the Congress certification of President Biden’s victory.

Garland’s speech came as the department has faced criticism this week over whether it has aggressively pursued those who played a role in planning or inciting riots.

Deputy Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) Accused Garland of being “extremely weak” and “infected” in how his department has pursued the investigation.

“There should be many more January 6 organizers who should be arrested by now,” Gallego told CNN on Tuesday.

Sandra Garza, the longtime girlfriend of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after fighting the rioters, said Trump “must be in jail.”

“I hold Donald Trump 100% responsible for what happened on January 6 and all the people who have enabled him, have enabled him that day and continue to enable him now,” Garzat told PBS Newshour on Monday. .

Sicknick was sprayed with a chemical during the uprising and collapsed hours later. He died the following night at a local hospital. Although a forensic doctor determined that he had suffered twice and died of natural causes, Capitol police believe his death was a duty.

More than 100 police officers were injured in a clash with thousands of Trump supporters, many of whom had attended a rally where the president urged them to head to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Authorities said the violence killed five people, including Sicknick. Garland called for a moment of silence during his speech by Sicknick and four other officers who committed suicide in the weeks following the attack.

In his speech, the Attorney General said that the Department of Justice had also intensified the application of the increase in violence aimed at “those who serve the public”, including election workers, journalists, flight crews. and local elected officials. Capitol police have also seen a sharp rise in threats against members of Congress and senators.

“We have all seen that Americans who serve and interact with the public at all levels, many of whom make our democracy work every day, have been illegally attacked with threats of violence and real violence,” he said. Garland.

The threats “are permeating so many parts of our national lives that they run the risk of normalizing and being routine if we don’t stop them,” he warned.

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