/  01.05.2022

Attorney General Merrick Garland is pushing back on criticism that the Justice Department has not been aggressive enough against those who were involved in last year’s deadly Capitol riot.

On Wednesday (Jan. 5), Garland issued a speech marking the one-year anniversary of the deadly insurrection, saying that more prosecutions will come. “The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last. The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators at any level, accountable under law, whether they were present that day, or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead,” the attorney general said.

Garland’s remarks came as Democratic leaders have expressed their frustrations with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) noticeable unwillingness to charge political leaders who may have been responsible for inciting the violence that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021. Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego recently called Garland an “extremely weak” and “feckless” attorney general “who has not been helpful in terms of preserving our democracy.”

However, Garland said the department was not following “an agenda or an assumption.” He also refuted claims that the department’s prosecutions have been politicized.

“The central norm is that, in our criminal investigations, there cannot be different rules depending on one’s political party or affiliation,” he continued. “There cannot be different rules for friends and foes. And there cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless.”

So far, the DOJ has charged more than 700 people in connection to the deadly riot. Garland said on Wednesday that more than 300 of those defendants have been charged with felonies. The FBI is still calling on the public to help identify an additional 300 suspects who were caught on video surveillance or photographed at the Capitol during the riot.

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