Biden wants Trump prosecuted as Democrats mount pressure campaign on DOJ
A new report claims that President Joe Biden has told people he wants former President Donald Trump to be prosecuted.
The leak was published in the New York Times on Saturday as Democrats mount increasing pressure on the Justice Department to take action against Trump and those in his orbit in connection with the Capitol riot. The focus is on Attorney General Merrick Garland and his “deliberative approach,” as the report puts it, which is causing frustration.
“Late last year, Mr. Biden told those around him that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, according to two people familiar with his comments.” , says the report. “And while the President has never communicated his frustrations directly to Mr. Garland, he has privately said that he wants Mr. Garland to act less like a heavy-handed judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take action. decisive on the events of Jan . 6.”
It is unclear exactly why Trump would be prosecuted. However, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot said its investigators had reason to believe Trump and his associates broke multiple laws in an effort to void the 2020 election. court filing for John Eastman, a conservative lawyer linked to Trump, the panel says he has proof to show that Trump may have engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States and illegally prevent Congress from counting electoral votes.
However, the House committee can only make a criminal referral, leaving the responsibility to the Department of Justice.
FLASHBACK: BIDEN SAYS DOJ SHOULD PROSUE CITATION RESISTANTS TO CAPITOL RIOT COMMITTEE
Trump and his associates have repeatedly denied any criminality related to the Capitol riot, which took place the day Congress convened to certify Biden’s 2020 election victory, and its surrounding events. A former aide, Steve Bannon, was charged with contempt for refusing to comply with committee subpoenas on Jan. 6, while another, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, has so far escaped prosecution.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates commented on the article, insisting that Biden “is extremely proud of the service of the Attorney General in this administration and has no role in the priorities or decisions of investigation”.
The White House did not respond to the Washington Examiner questions about whether Biden privately expressed his frustration with Garland over the Capitol riot lawsuits, whether he had said privately that Trump should be prosecuted, to whom the president expressed those views, whether those private frustrations were communicated to Garland or the Justice Department by anyone other than the president, for what Biden thinks Trump should be prosecuted, and whether Biden publicly regrets weighing in on the January 6 lawsuits previously. The White House also did not respond to questions about whether it knew who disclosed to the New York Times, if he condemns the leak and if the leak is investigated.
Democrats have gone public with their belief that Garland and the Justice Department should be more assertive about the Capitol riot situation. “We take responsibility. The Ministry of Justice must do the same,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, member of the January 6 committee. “Attorney General Garland, do your job so we can do ours,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, another panelist, according to Politics.
In October, Biden urged the Justice Department to prosecute anyone who defies subpoenas from Capitol riot investigators.
“Yeah, yeah,” Biden told reporters when asked if the DOJ should prosecute anyone who resisted House Select Committee subpoenas on Jan. 6. “I hope the committee will prosecute them and hold them criminally responsible,” the president said.
The Department of Justice distanced the agency from the president at the time.
“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Period,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said. Washington Examiner.
The White House attempted to backtrack on Biden’s claim a few days later.
“He thinks it’s an independent decision that should be made by the Justice Department, and they will make that decision,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in response to questions about the president’s comments.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who along with Rep. Liz Cheney is one of two GOP members on the Democratic-led committee, defended Biden. “I think the president has every right to report. I think he has every right to be clear about where the administration is at,” he said.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, also a member of the Capitol Riot Committee, also defended Biden’s efforts to get the DOJ to prosecute defiants to appear.
“I don’t have a problem with him either, as a citizen like me, saying he hopes the Justice Department will aggressively enforce the law so people don’t get away with committing crimes. crimes like this,” he said at the time.
The top Democratic staffer on the Capitol’s riot select committee was among dozens of former intelligence officials who signed a letter in October 2020, weeks before the presidential election, claiming without evidence that the story of the Hunter Biden’s laptop was part of a Russian operation. David Buckley, who previously served as the CIA’s inspector general, is the panel’s personnel director.
In a bid to mark a shift from Trump’s comment that his own attorney general, William Barr, criticized, candidate Biden promised voters in 2020 that “my administration’s Department of Justice will be completely independent of me.” .
Garland himself spoke about the politically charged atmosphere surrounding the Jan. 6 lawsuits at a Friday press conference.
“The only pressure I feel, and the only pressure our line prosecutors feel, is to do the right thing,” Garland said. “That means we follow the facts and the law, wherever they may take us.”
Garland said in early March that the Justice Department’s investigation into the Capitol riot was the “most urgent” in the department’s history. The claim came as Republicans said the Biden administration’s DOJ did not put the same effort into prosecuting the violent 2020 riots as the Capitol storming and criticized the agency for his decision to shut down the Chinese Initiative despite a growing threat posed. by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Attorney General noted in January that “there is no higher priority” at the Justice Department than prosecuting the Capitol riot cases, and he swore that “the Justice Department remains committed to holding all perpetrators of January 6, at all levels, responsible under the law”.
Garland compared the deadly 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to the Capitol riot last June and indicated last May that the DOJ prioritized prosecutions related to the Capitol siege over those related to the Capitol riots. summer of 2020 because the events of January 6 were “the most dangerous threat to our democracy.
At the beginning of March, the Ministry of Justice noted more than 775 defendants had been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot, including about 245 charged with assaulting, resisting, or embarrassing police officers or employees. About 140 police officers were assaulted on Jan. 6, according to the DOJ.
Regardless of Justice Department cases, Trump is under criminal investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney for his actions regarding Georgia following the 2020 presidential election. He is also currently battling against a court order asking him to comply with subpoenas from New York Attorney General Letitia James, and the Trump Organization faces a separate criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney.