Ruben Gallego accuses Merrick Garland of ‘weak’ response to Jan. 6 riot

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Ruben Gallego accuses Merrick Garland of ‘weak’ response to Jan. 6 riot

Two days before the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a Democratic lawmaker has accused the Department of Justice of not doing enough to hold those behind the deadly violence accountable.

“I think [Attorney General] Merrick Garland has been extremely weak and I think there should be a lot more of the organizers of January 6 that should be arrested by now,” progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) told “CNN Newsroom” Tuesday.

While more than 700 people have been charged in connection with the riot and roughly 70 have been sentenced, Gallego charged that investigators have focused too much on people who physically entered the Capitol building, rather than allies of former President Donald Trump who have said they wished to delay the congressional vote count as long as possible on Jan. 6, 2021 to build pressure on then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject the certified state results.

“I think some of them are doing criminal acts, especially interference of Congress in terms of their duties,” Gallego said. “I think we have to certainly look at them. This is why we need to have an active attorney general that can separate those that were doing political work from actual work helping the insurrection and or the coup plotters.”

Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol's Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Rep. Ruben Gallego has accused the “very obstructionist Republican Party” of protecting Jan. 6 protesters.
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Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Rep. Ruben Gallego has called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to prosecute people behind the “political work” of the Jan. 6 riots.
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A protester hangs from the balcony in the Senate Chamber amid the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021.
A protester hangs from the balcony in the Senate Chamber amid the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021.
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“The problem that we have right now is that we have a very obstructionist Republican Party that should be part of helping us decide how to save democracy, instead of trying to cover up for their crimes,” Gallego added. “And you have, again, an attorney general who is, you know, feckless and has not been helpful in terms of preserving our democracy.”

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment in response to Gallego’s statement.

Earlier in the interview, Gallego suggested Republicans at the state level were engaging in what he called an “ongoing slow coup by a bunch of Brooks Brothers-dressed politicians that are going to try to basically change the — who counts the votes for the elections coming up in 2022 and 2024.

“So, in some regards, yes, I think we’re more resilient in case of a physical coup attack, but at the same time the ongoing political coup is occurring,” he insisted.

A protester is has milk poured into his eyes after being pepper-sprayed as demonstrators breach the U.S. Capital building grounds in Washington, DC, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Jan. 6 protesters should “face legal repercussions.”
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Capitol police officers use pepper spray to block off protesters outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Capitol police officers use pepper spray to block off protesters outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a letter to House Republicans over the weekend, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Democrats of using the riot as a “partisan political weapon to further divide our country.”

“Our Capitol should never be compromised and those who broke the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full accountability,” McCarthy wrote. “Unfortunately, one year later, the majority party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again.”

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