Appearing on NBC News’ “Nightly News” on Tuesday (July 26), Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the Department of Justice against criticism it wasn’t pursuing an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his allies aggressively enough.
During the interview, Garland insisted the Department was urgently investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and the events that led to it. The Attorney General also vowed to charge “everybody who was criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power.”
Garland also explained why the scrutiny and criticism were “inevitable” but emphasized that the investigation had to be done “outside of the public eye.”
“It is inevitable in this kind of investigation that there’ll be speculation about what we are doing, who we are investigating, what our theories are,” Garland said.
He continued, “The reason there is this speculation and uncertainty is that it’s a fundamental tenet of what we do as prosecutors and investigators is to do it outside of the public eye.”
In the hours following the interview, the Washington Post reported federal prosecutors had started asking grand jury witnesses about Trump’s conduct and their interactions with him leading up to the Capitol attack.
The questioning points to Trump potentially being a subject of the probe that previously focused on Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.
In a follow-up question, Garland was asked whether he had any concerns about the political ramifications of indicting a former President.
Without revealing whether the investigation had turned toward Trump, Garland emphasized: “We pursue justice without fear or favor.”
He added, “We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding Jan. 6 or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable.”