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Biden Wish for Trump Prosecution Leaked Amid Pressure Campaign on DOJ

A new report claims President Joe Biden has told people he wants former President Donald Trump to be prosecuted.

The leak was published in the New York Times on Saturday as Democrats mount increasing pressure on the Justice Department to take action against Trump and people within his orbit in relation to the Capitol riot. At focus are Attorney General Merrick Garland and his “deliberative approach,” as the report put it, which is causing frustration.

“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,” the report read. “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.”

Just what Trump would be prosecuted for is unclear. However, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot says its investigators have reason to believe Trump and his associates broke multiple laws in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In a recent court filing for John Eastman, a Trump-linked conservative lawyer, the panel said it has evidence to show Trump may have engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States and illegally impede Congress’s counting of electoral votes.

Nevertheless, the House committee can only make a criminal referral, leaving the onus on the Justice Department.

Trump and his associates have repeatedly denied any criminality related to the Capitol riot, which took place on the day Congress met to certify Biden’s 2020 election victory, and its surrounding events. One former aide, Steve Bannon, has been indicted on contempt charges for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee, while another, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, has so far escaped prosecution.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates offered comment for the article, insisting that Biden “is immensely proud of the attorney general’s service in this administration and has no role in investigative priorities or decisions.”

The White House did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s questions on whether Biden privately expressed frustration with Garland related to Capitol riot prosecutions, whether he had privately said Trump should be prosecuted, to whom the president expressed these opinions, whether these private frustrations were communicated to Garland or to the Justice Department by someone other than the president, for what Biden thinks Trump should be prosecuted, and whether Biden regrets publicly weighing in on Jan. 6 prosecutions previously. The White House also did not answer the question about whether it knows who leaked to the New York Times, whether it condemns the leak, and if the leak is being investigated.

Democrats have gone public with their belief that Garland and the Justice Department should be more assertive with the Capitol riot situation. “We are upholding our responsibility. The Department of Justice must do the same,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the Jan. 6 committee. “Attorney General Garland, do your job so we can do ours,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, another member of the panel, according to Politico.

In October, Biden urged the Justice Department to prosecute anyone who defied subpoenas from Capitol riot investigators.

“I do, yes,” Biden said to reporters when asked if the DOJ should prosecute anyone who resisted subpoenas from the House Jan. 6 select committee. “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally,” the president said.

The Justice Department distanced the agency from the president at the time.

“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley told the Washington Examiner.

The White House attempted to walk back Biden’s assertion a few days later.

“He believes it’s an independent decision that should be made by the Department of Justice, and they’ll make that decision,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in response to questions about the president’s comments.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who along with Rep. Liz Cheney is one of two GOP members of the Democrat-led committee, defended Biden. “I think the president has every right to signal. I think he has every right to make it clear where the administration stands,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, also a member of the Capitol riot committee, similarly defended Biden’s push to get the DOJ to prosecute subpoena defiers.

“I also don’t have a problem with him, as a citizen like me, saying he hopes the Department of Justice will aggressively enforce the law so people don’t get away with committing crimes like this,” he said at the time.

The top Democratic staffer on the Capitol riot select committee was among dozens of former intelligence officials who signed a letter in October 2020, weeks before the presidential election, claiming without evidence that the Hunter Biden laptop story was part of a Russian operation. David Buckley, who was formerly the CIA’s inspector general, is the staff director of the panel.

In a bid to mark a change from the commentary by Trump that his own attorney general, William Barr, had criticized, candidate Biden had promised voters in 2020 that “the Justice Department in my administration will be totally independent of me.”

Garland himself spoke of the politically charged atmosphere surrounding the Jan. 6 prosecutions during a press conference Friday.

“The only pressure I feel, and the only pressure that our line prosecutors feel, is to do the right thing,” Garland said. “That means we follow the facts and the law, wherever they may lead.”

Garland said in early March that the Justice Department’s investigation into the Capitol riot is the “most urgent” in the department’s history. The claim came as Republicans said the DOJ in the Biden administration had not put the same effort into prosecutions tied to the violent riots of 2020 as the storming of the Capitol and criticized the agency for its decision to shutter the China Initiative despite a growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

The attorney general said in January that “there is no higher priority” at the Justice Department than prosecuting the Capitol riot cases, and he vowed that “the Justice Department remains committed to holding all Jan. 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law.”

Garland compared the deadly Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 to the Capitol riot last June and indicated last May the DOJ was prioritizing prosecutions related to the siege of the Capitol over those tied to the 2020 summer riots because the events of Jan. 6 were “the most dangerous threat to our democracy.”

As of early March, the Justice Department said more than 775 defendants had been arrested in relation to the Capitol riot, including roughly 245 charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding police officers or employees. An estimated 140 police officers were assaulted on Jan. 6, according to the DOJ.

Separate from the Justice Department matters, Trump is a subject in a criminal inquiry by the Fulton County district attorney for his actions as they relate to Georgia after the 2020 presidential election. He is also currently battling a court order for him to comply with subpoenas from New York Attorney General Letitia James, and the Trump Organization is facing a separate criminal inquiry from the Manhattan district attorney.

50 Comments
  • Rightlane1111 says:

    I’m a Conservative…always was..always will be. What the MSM is missing is this: January 6th was about OUR vote. This was not about Trump, it was about our vote. Thanks to the information coming out of True Vote, plus very credible evidence from Mr. Lott and Denesh DeSuoza (sp)…the votes were disenfranchised by ballot stuffing (just one example). We The People were cheated. This was not all about President Trump…it was about our votes

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