Garland is giving a speech ahead of the anniversary of the Capitol attack as he is under increasing pressure from the left. Critics have called for the department to prosecute not just those who breached the Capitol that day, but the political actors and operatives — up to an including former President Donald Trump — who orchestrated the failed attempt to reverse the 2020 election results and whose incendiary rhetoric inflamed the riot.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona recently called Garland an “extremely weak” “feckless” attorney general “who has not been helpful in terms of preserving our democracy.”
As department officials have noted, the DOJ’s response to January 6 has been the largest investigation in the agency’s history, and one of its most complex. More than 700 defendants have been arrested in the probe and the FBI is still calling for the public’s help in identifying more than 350 individuals it believes engaged in violent acts on the Capitol grounds that day.
Dozens of the January 6 defendants have been charged with obstructing an official proceeding, though the department has not yet brought any sedition charges.
In addition to leading the prosecution of the rioters themselves, Garland has also been faced with high-stakes decisions on how to approach Congress’ investigations into insurrection. His department has offered cooperation with lawmakers’ reviews of Trump’s efforts to weaponize the DOJ in the election reversal bid.
The department has also charged ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon for his non-cooperation with the House committee investigation, after a referral from the House. (Bannon is pleading not guilty.)
The Justice Department has not taken public action on a separate House referral seeking charges against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, for his 180 on cooperating with the investigation.
The department also declined to shield Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama in a civil suit brought against the Alabama Republican for his remarks at the January 6 Ellipse rally that preceded the Capitol assault.
This story is breaking and will be updated.