Many of former President Donald Trump’s haters, be they Democrats or Republicans, have loudly and repeatedly demanded that Attorney General Merrick Garland indict and arrest and prosecute Trump over his alleged role in inciting the purported “insurrection” that was the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021.
In an interview this week with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, AG Garland clearly signaled that he was open to the idea of indicting former President Trump, even if he were a declared presidential candidate for 2024 and despite the damage such an overtly partisan move would do to American society, Breitbart reported.
To be sure, Garland didn’t appear to be champing at the bit for an opportunity to slap cuffs on the former president, but that said, his refusal to rule out such hugely significant and unprecedented action is more than a bit concerning for millions of Americans, be they staunch supporters of Trump or not.
DOJ and House committee both investigating the same things
AG Garland’s exclusive interview with NBC’s Holt, which aired Tuesday night, first addressed the fact that there are currently twin investigations into the events of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, both in the Justice Department as well as the intensely partisan House Select Committee, which has made it abundantly clear that it is seeking to prove that Trump is criminally culpable for what occurred.
Garland acknowledged that there were two “wide-ranging” investigations probing the same thing and admitted that both, insisted that the DOJ was moving “urgently” on the matter — despite cries to the contrary from some Democrats and media pundits — but also seemed to downplay the significance of a criminal referral submitted to the DOJ from the committee with regard to Trump.
Garland leaves open possibility of indictment
Following that initial discussion of the dual investigations, Holt at one point referenced prior assertions from Garland “in no uncertain terms” that “no one is above the law,” presumably including a former president or presidential candidate, according to Newsbusters.
Holt asked, “That said, the indictment of a former President, or perhaps candidate for President, would arguably tear the country apart. Is that your concern? As you make your decision down the road here do you have to think about things like that?”
“Look, we pursue justice without fear or favor,” Garland replied. “We intend to hold everyone — anyone — who was criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6, or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable. That’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”
Naming Trump specifically
To clarify, Holt asked again more specifically, “So if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for President again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don’t move forward?”
Garland reiterated, “I’ll say again that we will hold accountable anyone who is criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer, legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”
Finally, asked about the incessant pressure to indict Trump from Democrats and the media, the attorney general said, “The only pressure that I or my prosecutors or the agents feel is the pressure to do the right thing. That’s the only way we can pursue the rule of law. That’s the only way we can keep the confidence of the American people in the rule of law, which is an essential part of our democratic system.”