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Attorney General Merrick Garland: Our actions related to Jan. 6 not over

By Clyde Hughes, Simon Druker
1/7
Attorney General Merrick Garland: Our actions related to Jan. 6 not over
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday in advance of the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Pool Photo by Carolyn Kaster/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that actions taken by the Justice Department against those responsible for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection "will not be our last."

"Those involved must be held accountable and there is no higher priority for those of us at the Department of Justice," he said in a speech to department employees.

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The speech essentially was an update on his department's investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a day short of one year after pro-Donald Trump extremists forced their way into the building.

The deadly attack at the Capitol was intended to reject certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden, but only delayed counting of Electoral College votes.

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Over the past year, the Justice Department and a House select committee have been investigating the assault to assign blame and punish the perpetrators.

"We have marshalled the resources of the department to address the rising violence and criminal threats of violence against election workers, against flight crews, against school personnel, against journalists, against members of Congress, and against federal agents, prosecutors and judges," Garland said.

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He did not address specific people or charges.

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"The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last. 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 for the assault on our democracy," he said.

"So far, we have issued over 5,000 subpoenas and search warrants, seized approximately 2,000 thousand devices, poured through over 20,000 hours of video footage and searched through an estimated 15 terabytes of data.

"As of today, we have arrested and charged over 725 defendants in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack."

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Of that group, 145 have pleaded guilty to various federal charges, Garland said.

He also shot down any notion that partisan politics are playing a role in the investigation.

"We follow the facts, not an agenda or an assumption, the facts tell us. With our criminal investigations, there can not be different rules depending on one's political party or affiliation. There cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless," said the Attorney General.

Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger appeared before the Senate rules committee to update lawmakers on reforms made to his department since the attack a year ago.

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Toward the end of his speech, Garland touched on the administration's push to pass a new voting rights bill.

"It is essential that Congress act to give the department the powers we need to ensure that every eligible voter can cast a vote that counts," Garland said.

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