One year into his term as U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland is once again responding to an almost overwhelming call from the left and from some Democratic elected officials – including the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack – to prosecute Donald Trump, the former president.
And in a rare moment the former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is answering his critics – very carefully – but serving up essentially the same response as he did earlier.
“We are not avoiding cases that are political or cases that are controversial or sensitive,” Garland told NPR in an interview published Thursday. “What we are avoiding is making decisions on a political basis, on a partisan basis.”
The Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, the insurrection, and the assault on our very democracy last week filed in court what prosecutors might see as damning felony charges against Donald Trump, including “criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,” and corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding.
Garland explained the Justice Department’s process:
“We begin with the cases that are right in front of us with the overt actions and then we build from there. And that is a process that we will continue to build until we hold everyone accountable who committed criminal acts with respect to January 6.”
In January, facing criticism from those who believe Trump and his associates should be charged and questioning why they have not been, Garland said:
“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators at any level accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”
Today, those looking for signs that Trump will face justice might take some solace in Garland’s non-committal hint: “This had to do with the interference with the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. And it doesn’t get more important than that.”
Reprinted with permission from Alternet