Attorney General Merrick Garland has said he is following the Jan. 6 hearings amid calls to prosecute former President Donald Trump.
During a press conference on Monday about gun violence, CNN Justice correspondent Evan Perez asked Garland if he’s had a chance to watch the House Select Committee hearings investigating the Capitol riots and if he’s learned anything that might be helpful. for the Justice.
“I am watching and I will watch all the hearings, although I may not be able to see it all live,” said Mr Garland. “I can assure you that the January 6 prosecutors are also looking at all the hearings.”
He added that he would not be able to say what his own “personal reaction” to the hearings would be.
“The Justice Department’s old position is that we don’t comment on ongoing investigations,” Garland said. “We do that both for the viability of our investigations and because it’s the right thing to do with regard to the civil liberties of people under investigation.”
“Our investigations are generally quiet and secret, so we don’t tell witnesses where we are, we don’t want them to know, we want truthful answers. As we approach, we want to be able to do our subpoenas and search warrants without any risk,” Mr. Garland said. “Eventually that information comes out… in the form of our search warrants and affidavits, it comes out in our warrants. .. in our pleadings and eventually if there are charges.”
“But in order for our investigations to run efficiently, we’ve learned over many, many years that this is the way our investigations should run,” added Mr. Garland.
“We have now charged more than 800 people in connection with January 6, some of them have pleaded but others are facing legal proceedings. And for us to comment on evidence, some of which concern them, some of which concern others, could affect their cases and could affect our ability to operate in an effective manner,” the statement said. Mr. Garland, adding that the investigation is not limited “however”.
Mr. Garland’s refusal to comment on the investigation comes as members of the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol siege prompted the department to pursue criminal charges.
“There are certain actions, parts of these various efforts to reverse the election, that I see no evidence that the Justice Department is investigating,” Adam Schiff, a California Democratic commission member, said in a statement. told ABCs This week on Sunday. “I would like the Justice Department to investigate any credible allegations of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump.”
Fellow committee member, Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, told CNN’s State of the Union that “one of the conventions that was crushed during the Trump administration was the respect of politicians for the independence of the law enforcement function”.
Attorney General Garland is my voter, and I don’t scold my voters [but] he knows, his staff knows, American lawyers know, what’s at stake here,” he added. “They know how important it is, but I think they rightly pay a lot of attention to precedents in the history and the facts of this case.”