Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t rule out prosecuting ex-President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot even if he runs for the White House again in 2024.
Garland said the Justice Department would “pursue justice without fear or favor” when asked by NBC News’ Lester Holt about prosecuting a former president and possible future candidate for the highest office.
“We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable, that’s what we do,” Garland said in an interview set to air Tuesday night on NBC Nightly News.
“We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”
When pressed again by Holt during the sit-down if Trump becoming a candidate could affect his decision-making, Garland reiterated, “we will hold accountable anyone who is criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer — legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”
The Department of Justice has been probing the possible criminal conduct connected to the Jan. 6 riot and efforts by Trump allies to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
At the same time, the House select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack has held eight public hearings so far on the siege at the US Capitol.
When asked if a criminal referral from that House committee would be welcomed by the Justice Department, Garland said it was “totally up” for the committee if they took that step.
“We will have the evidence that the committee has presented and whatever evidence it gives us,” he told NBC. “I don’t think that the nature of how they style, the manner in which information is provided, is of particular significance from any legal point of view.
“That’s not to downgrade it or to or disparage it. It’s just that that’s not what, that’s not the issue here,” he added. “We have our own investigation, pursuing through the principles of prosecution.”
Last week, Garland stressed the importance and wide-ranging nature of the investigation.
“No person is above the law,” he told reporters last week.
The full NBC interview is scheduled to air at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
With Post wires