U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks on the Department of Justice, upfront of the one 12 months anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.
Carolyn Kaster | Pool | Reuters
Attorney General Merrick Garland left open the chance that former President Donald Trump might be prosecuted in reference to inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, revolt in an exclusive interview Tuesday with NBC News.
“Look, we pursue justice without fear or favor,” Garland told NBC News’ Lester Holt, when asked whether indicting a former president would “arguably tear the country apart.”
“We intend to carry everyone, anyone who was criminally answerable for the events surrounding Jan. 6, for any try and interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to a different, accountable,” Garland continued. “That is what we do.”
For more on this story watch NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT.
“So if Donald Trump were to turn into a candidate for president again, that will not change your schedule or how you progress forward or don’t move forward?” Holt asked.
“I’ll say again that we’ll hold accountable anyone who’s criminally answerable for attempting to interfere with the transfer — legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the following,” Garland answered.
Garland’s remarks got here because the Justice Department has faced increasing pressure to act decisively following weeks of testimony before the bipartisan Jan. 6 investigatory committee by former Trump administration officials who alleged that Trump incited the rioters who invaded the U.S. Capitol and that he ignored pleas of his own people to stop them.