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The attorney general and federal prosecutors are watching all of the Jan. 6 hearings

Attorney General Merrick Garland attends a news conference at the Department of Justice, Monday, June 13, 2022 in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin
Attorney General Merrick Garland attends a news conference at the Department of Justice, Monday, June 13, 2022 in Washington.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is watching the House hearings on the lead-up to and day of Jan. 6, 2021 — as are the Justice Department lawyers prosecuting cases related to the attack on the Capitol.

"I'm watching and I will be watching all the hearings, although I may not be able to watch all of it live. But I'll be sure that I'll be watching all that. And I can assure you that the January 6 prosecutors are watching all the hearings as well," Garland said at a press conference about a separate enforcement action.

Garland said he was not going to be able to give "my own personal responses to this kind of evidence that is coming out" of this month's committee hearings, as he does not comment on pending investigations.

The House Select committee on the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol siege held its second public hearing earlier on Monday, laying out its case that former President Donald Trump pursued a seven-part strategy to remain in office after losing the 2020 election, which included whipping up supporters into that day's violence.

At its first hearing last Thursday, Vice Chair Liz Cheney specifically called out the Justice Department to prosecute more and there has been pressure for months now from Democrats and activists to charge Trump for the insurrection. But there have been questions raised about whether Trump could be prosecuted and if he can be implicated in the riot if he was not on Capitol grounds.

"We are proceeding with full urgency with respect, as I've said many times before, to hold all perpetrators who are criminally responsible for Jan. 6 accountable, regardless of their level, their position and regardless of whether they were present at the events on Jan. 6," Garland said. "We're just going to follow the facts wherever they lead."

Authorities have charged 840 people so far, and they're investigating the backers of political rallies that preceded the Capitol attack.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.

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