January 05, 2022

Congressman Schiff on Attorney General Garland’s Remarks on January 6

“Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland gave an important and eloquent speech in defense of our democracy, and the Justice Department’s central role in its protection. As an American, and as a former Assistant United States Attorney, it gave me great pride to again witness how integrity has been restored to the leadership of the Department.

“Garland outlined the many threats to our democracy, from efforts to undermine confidence in our elections to attempts to disenfranchise people, to the growing prevalence of threats of violence against officeholders at every level of government. And he committed to using the considerable power and resources of the Justice Department to preserve our franchise and to go after any who violate the law and threaten it.

“Garland committed to holding “all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under the law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” and to follow the facts wherever they lead. This was vitally important and underscored his commitment that the law should be equally applied to all involved in criminal conduct, no matter their position of authority, party, or station in life.

“What was left unsaid, was whether the Justice Department was equally committed to holding accountable those who may have violated our criminal laws by trying to overturn the election in the days leading up to January 6 or thereafter.

“It has now become clear that January 6 was not an isolated occurrence, but part of a multi-pronged strategy to overturn a presidential election and negate the will of the voters. Some of the most egregious parts of that strategy, involved attempts to coerce local and state elections officials — like the Secretary of State of Georgia — into interfering with the official conduct of the election and defrauding the people of their franchise.

“It is critically important that those acts also be investigated, and if criminal laws were violated, that those individuals also be held responsible. No matter who they are. The Justice Department cannot maintain that a current president is immune from prosecution and then take the position — through action or inaction — that so too is a former president. That would make a president above the law, a proposition both dangerous and anathema to our constitution and the intent of our Founders."