Like many of us who have watched the Justice Department’s slow and largely insufficient investigation into the Jan. 6 riot, Rep. Ruben Gallego is fed up with Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“I think Merrick Garland has been extremely weak, and I think there should be a lot more of the organizers of Jan. 6 that should be arrested by now,” the Arizona Democrat, told CNN on Tuesday.
He said Garland’s failure to decisively move forward with a Jan. 6 investigation is posing issues in determining whether and who among former President Donald Trump's associates may have committed crimes through their potential involvement in the insurrection.
“This is why we should have an active attorney general that can separate those that were doing political work from actual work helping the insurrection,” Gallego said.
“The problem that we have now is that we have a very obstructionist Republican Party that should be part of helping us decide how to save democracy, instead of trying to cover up for their crimes,” he continued. “And you have, again, an attorney general who is feckless and has not been helpful in terms of preserving our democracy.”
Gallego certainly isn’t the only one feeling the rage. Several other Democrats — and even federal judges — have criticized Garland’s Justice Department for its lax prosecutions of Jan. 6 insurrectionists.
“No wonder parts of the public in the U.S. are confused about whether what happened on Jan. 6 at the Capitol was simply a petty offense of trespassing with some disorderliness, or shocking criminal conduct that represented a grave threat to our democratic norms,” Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell for the District of Columbia said during a court hearing in October.
Gallego on Tuesday also warned that the conservative attacks on democracy are evolving:
I don’t think the attack you’re going to see in the future is going to be by a bunch of angry fat men trying to get into Congress. I think the actual attack is going to happen in the legislatures, in the county recorder’s office, in the board of elections. There’s an ongoing slow coup by a bunch of Brooks Brothers-dressed politicians that are going to try to basically change who counts the votes for the elections coming up in 2022 and 2024.
During a press conference Wednesday, Garland pledged to pursue Jan. 6 perpetrators at “any level,” adding that federal investigators would “follow the facts wherever they lead.” It remains to be seen when and how this vow will come to fruition.
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