Attorney General Merrick Garland indicated the indictment of former President Donald Trump could be on the table, as the Justice Department aggressively continues to prosecute anyone connected to the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.
Mr. Garland did not name Mr. Trump by name, but said his department will continue to pursue charges against anyone who was part of the riot or infringed on the peaceful transfer of power.
“We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding Jan. 6, for 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,” Mr. Garland told Lester Holt of NBC News in a Tuesday interview.
Mr. Garland was responding to a question about the possible indictment of a former president or presidential candidate, among rumors that Mr. Trump may announce a bid for the 2024 election.
Asked more specifically about Mr. Trump potentially becoming a presidential candidate, Mr. Garland repeated that “we will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer, legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”
The attorney general added that the probe into the roots of the riot is the “most wide-ranging investigation” in the Justice Department’s history.
He also praised the work of the Democrat-picked Jan. 6 committee, which will continue to hold hearings on the riot in September.
“It is inevitable that there will be things that they find before we have found them. And it’s inevitable that there will be things we find that they haven’t found. That’s what happens when you have two wide ranging investigations going on at the same time,” Mr. Garland said.
In its last hearing, the congressional panel zeroed in on Mr. Trump’s 187-minute gap in confronting the riot from its start to when he told demonstrators to go home.
Mr. Trump, like most Republicans, have dismissed the committee’s work as a political ploy to garner favor before the midterm elections.
In a recent speech in Washington hosted by the America First Policy Institute, Mr. Trump teased a run for 2024, hitting at the “corrupt establishment” for trying to damage his reputation to hold onto power.
“They want to damage you in any form, but they really want to damage me, so that I can no longer go back to work for you,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”