I've groused about Attorney General Merrick Garland's stone-faced lack of comment on January 6th before, as you all well know. I know that Garland has to be perfect in his case to take down someone like Trump, where everyone involved in prosecuting and trying the case would be immediate targets of terrorists willing to kill, but like myself, Democrats are openly wondering if this is the perfect being the enemy of the good.
Immediately after Merrick B. Garland was sworn in as attorney general in March of last year, he summoned top Justice Department officials and the F.B.I. director to his office. He wanted a detailed briefing on the case that will, in all likelihood, come to define his legacy: the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
Even though hundreds of people had already been charged, Mr. Garland asked to go over the indictments in detail, according to two people familiar with the meeting. What were the charges? What evidence did they have? How had they built such a sprawling investigation, involving all 50 states, so fast? What was the plan now?
The attorney general’s deliberative approach has come to frustrate Democratic allies of the White House and, at times, President Biden himself. As recently as late last year, Mr. Biden confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, according to two people familiar with his comments. And while the president has never communicated his frustrations directly to Mr. Garland, he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr. Garland said that he and the career prosecutors working on the case felt only the pressure “to do the right thing,” which meant that they “follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.”
Still, Democrats’ increasingly urgent calls for the Justice Department to take more aggressive action highlight the tension between the frenetic demands of politics and the methodical pace of one of the biggest prosecutions in the department’s history.
“The Department of Justice must move swiftly,” Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House committee investigating the riot, said this past week. She and others on the panel want the department to charge Trump allies with contempt for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas.
“Attorney General Garland,” Ms. Luria said during a committee hearing, “do your job so that we can do ours.”
This article is based on interviews with more than a dozen people, including officials in the Biden administration and people with knowledge of the president’s thinking, all of whom asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations.
In a statement, Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said the president believed that Mr. Garland had “decisively restored” the independence of the Justice Department.
“President Biden is immensely proud of the attorney general’s service in this administration and has no role in investigative priorities or decisions,” Mr. Bates said.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
Hundreds of Republican state legislators may have legal exposure stemming from Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a former top GOP strategist explained on Friday.
Amanda Carpenter, a columnist at The Bulwark, drew attention to a text message sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 3, 2021. The message references a call with Trump and Peter Navarro the previous day.
"We focused a ton on Trump's call to Brad Raffensberger but the idea Trump was coordinating with potentially hundreds of state legislators to block Biden's certification is...major. We should talk about that a lot more," Carpenter said.
Carpenter noted a press release sent the day before the text message to Meadows that described a very similar call.
In the press release, the group "Got Freedom?" said it "conducted an exclusive national briefing."
"Nearly 300 state lawmakers and others participated in the briefing, which also featured an address by President Trump," the group said. "Also on the call were Rudy Giuliani; professor of law John Eastman; Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing (appearing in his personal capacity), and John Lott, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Justice (also appearing in his personal capacity)."