Attorney General Merrick Garland could prosecute former President Trump for the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Senate Democrats say.
Speaking with The Hill, several Democrat lawmakers said there is a “good chance” the Department of Justice will seek to prosecute Trump, potentially knocking him out of the 2024 election. Merrick Garland has given no indication he plans to prosecute Trump, and Senate Democrats provided no direct evidence or sources to support their claims.
Both Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) said the Department of Justice could have evidence to prosecute the former president without specifics.
“They have all of the evidence at their disposal,” said Kaine, adding that he believes there are “federal statutes that are very much implicated” by the president’s efforts to stop the election certification prior to the riot on January 6. Kaine said:
Garland is a sort of by-the-book guy. You have prosecutors who will talk about things, kind of give you status reports along the way. But that’s not really the most professional things for prosecutors to do.
What prosecutors usually do is they analyze all the evidence and then they either file an indictment or charge or they say nothing. If they file an indictment or charge, they let that speak for itself and they don’t editorialize about it.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said, while he will not rule on the president’s guilt before seeing all the evidence, he still believes there’s “a lot of evidence that he was complicit” in sparking the riot on January 6.
“I think anybody who it’s proven had a role in the planning of [the Jan. 6 attack] should be prosecuted, not just the people who broke in and smashed the window in my office and others,” said Brown.
Though Merrick Garland has not said anything about prosecuting the former president, on the anniversary of January 6, the attorney general said that he would prosecute those “at any level” for enacting what he said was an “assault on our democracy.”
“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible,” he said.
Speaking anonymously, some Senate Democrats worried that such a prosecution could backfire if Trump were to break free of it, similar to the botched Muller report.
“If you pull the trigger on this one, you have to make sure that you don’t miss, because this is one if you miss it essentially validates the conduct,” one senator told The Hill.