Justice will prosecute officials “at any level” linked to the assault on the Capitol

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US Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged Wednesday that prosecutors in his department will go after officials “at any level” responsible for the riots of January 6 by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, in the United States Capitol.

“We will follow the events wherever they take us … for as long as it takes,” Garland told Justice Department attorneys and staff, in a televised appearance a day before the first anniversary of the Capitol assault, the building that is seen as a symbol of American democracy.

Garland said more than 700 people who participated in the riots were arrested, some accused of assaulting police, breaking windows and doors and looting congressional offices, delaying lawmakers from certifying that Trump had lost his re-election bid. 2020.

Garland did not name any targets for the ongoing investigation, but said: “The actions we have taken so far will not be the last.” “There can be no different rules for the powerful and the powerless,” he added.

Some Democratic lawmakers began to complain about the pace Of the investigation and they asked Trump and your key advisers are held accountable for his attempts on January 6 to block congressional ratification that Democrat Joe Biden had won the November presidential election.

But Garland noted that “a full account does not come out all of a sudden” of how the assault on the Capitol was planned and unfolded. He said prosecutors have no agenda or assumptions, but “they have no higher priority” than learning all they can about the riot.

“We will follow the money … we will follow the facts,” Garland said.

The Justice Department has not given any public indication of the extent to which it might attempt to hold Trump and his political allies accountable for the unrest.

At a rally near the White House On January 6, 2021, before the riots unfolded, Trump urged thousands of supporters to go to Capitol Hill and “fight like hell” to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden’s victory.

Trump made the unsubstantiated claim at the rally – as he continues to do to this day – that the vote count was fraudulent and deprived him of a second four-year term. Numerous audits in key states on the political battlefield have shown that initial vote counts were very accurate and that any one-off error would not have changed the outcome in Trump’s favor.

Research Committee with “Unique Vital Interest”

A special committee of the House of Representatives is investigating the assault and has a legal dispute with Trump over whether to deliver phone call logs and documents that could shed light on his actions before and during the chaos on Capitol Hill.

A US appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the investigative committee has a “unique vital interest” in seeing any documents related to the riot and its planning. However, Trump appealed to the US Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling, arguing that the White House documents should be protected from public disclosure.

The committee chairman, Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, said on various talk shows Sunday that the nine-member committee is particularly interested in why Trump resisted. the pleas of her daughter, Ivanka Trump, Republican lawmakers and Trump Administration officials for more than three hours to end the protest.

Finally, Trump released a short video asking the rioters to leave the Capitol, adding: “We love you; they are very special”.

In the video, Trump brought up the false conspiracy theory that he actually won the election, saying, “I know their pain; I know they are hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a crushing election, and everyone knows it. Especially on the other side. But they have to go home now. We have to have peace. “

After the Capitol was cleared of protesters, Congress certified Biden’s electoral victory in the early hours of January 7.

Trump initially announced that he would hold a press conference on Thursday on the first anniversary of the riots, but canceled it on Tuesday in the evening and said he will speak about it at a political rally on January 15. Trump says he is considering putting together a campaign team to win back the White House in 2024.

Of the more than 725 people arrested so far, 225 have been charged with assault or resisting arrest. More than 75 of them were charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon against police officers. Prosecutors say 140 United States Capitol police officers and Washington City police officers were injured during the attack.

So far, prosecutors in Washington say some 165 people have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, from misdemeanors to obstruction of serious crimes, with 70 defendants receiving some sort of sentence. Of these, 31 people were imprisoned and 18 were sentenced to house arrest, and the remaining 21 defendants were released on parole.

Some trials of the defendants challenging the charges against them are scheduled for next month.

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