Merrick Garland Notifies GOP Traitors That Justice is Coming

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In a speech on Wednesday — the day before the one-year anniversary of last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged that the efforts of federal officials to get justice for that day would not prematurely cease, even as Republicans like Trump himself continue trying to pretend like it’s not worth the level of concern that’s been shown. As Garland put it in remarks that were released before he delivered his speech, the Justice Department “remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Obviously, that sounds like Trump himself should be among those concerned. Garland added in his speech that there’s “no higher priority for us at the Department of Justice” than holding the perpetrators of the January 6 violence accountable, and he also said this week that “there cannot be different rules depending on one’s political party or affiliation. There cannot be different rules for friends and foes. And there cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless.” He noted more broadly that, “in a democracy, people must not employ violence or unlawful threats of violence to affect [election outcomes]. Citizens must not be intimidated from exercising their constitutional rights to free expression and association by such unlawful conduct.”

(The preceding quotes are as recorded by journalist Zoe Tillman.) In a broad sense, Trump and other Republican leaders spent months inspiring the riot with their blatant lies about the integrity of last year’s presidential election, which they falsely claimed to have been rigged for Biden. More acutely, Trump also egged on the crowd at his outdoor speech in D.C. that began shortly before the Capitol attack, and once that melee started, he apparently spent some time just watching television coverage of it — reveling in it, it would seem.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, has raised the possibility of recommending Trump to the Justice Department for prosecution on offenses like obstruction of an official proceeding, which is a felony. Asked in a recent interview about Trump’s potential criminality, Cheney said: “That’s certainly a question that we’re asking, and that’s part of our investigatory process. We know that efforts to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress certainly would carry with it criminal penalties. But determinations about criminal referrals haven’t been made yet. That’s certainly a question that we’re asking and an area that we’re looking at.”