The justice department has no qualms about the political backlash that would inevitably occur as a result of the agency’s criminal indictment donald trump as it continues its efforts to investigate the blocking attempt Joe Biden to take office after his election victory, the Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
The DOJ chief discussed the investigation in a new interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday night. An excerpt was released by the news station ahead of the full interview.
Asked if prosecutors would consider the potential for mass civil unrest following the indictment of Donald Trump trying to stop Joe Biden from becoming president and inspiring the Jan. 6 attack, Mr. Garland indicated that they would not.
“We pursue justice without fear or favor,” the attorney general replied to NBC’s Lester Holt. “We intend to hold accountable all those who were criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6, for any attempt to interfere with the legal transfer of power from one administration to another. This is what we do.”
The Attorney General’s remarks do not deviate significantly from those he has made previously regarding the Justice Department’s efforts to respond to Jan. 6.
But Mr. Garland’s idea that the investigation is centered on the “attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power” is significant because it leaves open the possibility that the DOJ investigation encompasses much more than the violation of the Capitol by an armed mob itself. This leaves wide open the possibility that the efforts of Donald Trump and his team to convince state lawmakers and other officials to support the fake voters lists are in the sights of the DOJ, as are the personal efforts of Mr. Trump to encourage his supporters to amass in Washington DC for January 6 itself.
The Justice Department under Mr. Garland has been quiet and mostly leak-free regarding the Department’s January investigation; Beyond announcing charges for individual participants in the riot, the agency has given little guidance as to whether any members of Donald Trump’s campaign, administration or inner circle will be held responsible for the attack on Congress that began moments after the president himself urged his supporters to descend on Capitol Hill.
What little is known about the scope of the investigation so far has largely been gleaned from Mr. Garland’s few public statements, criticism from Democratic lawmakers in Congress, and the rare news about the grand jury investigation. One such development occurred yesterday when it was reported that Marc Short, chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, testified that day before the grand jury in Washington.
In addition to the Justice Department’s efforts, there is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation-led investigation into Mr. Trump and his team’s efforts to reverse his loss to Joe Biden in that state. Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp testified remotely before this grand jury on Monday.