More than 1,110 alumni of the Department of Justice issued a statement supporting Attorney General Merrick Garland’s pledge, made in his speech delivered in advance of January 6, 2021 insurrection anniversary, to seek accountability for anyone – “at any level” – who was criminally responsible for the “assault on our democracy” that culminated in violence that day. The DOJ alumni, who served both Republican and Democratic administrations, called on the Attorney General to include in the investigation the violence at the Capitol, as well as “any actions of administration officials and others to overturn the will of the voters that preceded and followed the insurrection.” The alumni published their statement here.
The alumni explained that they were, as they wrote, “horrified” by the insurrection at the Capitol and by the pivotal roles played by former President Trump, other high-ranking officials, and Members of Congress in efforts to subvert the 2020 election, and that they were thus encouraged to hear the Attorney General pledge to include high-ranking government officials in the scope of the Department’s ongoing investigation. While the alumni praised the meticulous investigation the Department is conducting, they called for the investigation to move expeditiously. As the signatories wrote in their statement, “[W]hile the Attorney General rightly counseled patience as the Department moves the investigation toward higher-level actors, we urge him to preserve the public trust by holding culpable leaders to account as soon as possible.”
In supporting an expansive investigation into the campaign to overturn the election, the alumni underscored the propriety of including former President Trump as a subject of the investigation and affirmed the importance of the Department’s critical role in holding even a former president accountable for criminal conduct. The signatories wrote:
“The Attorney General has made it clear that the former president and his confidants will be treated the same as the hundreds of others who have been subject to investigation or to prosecution and punishment for their roles in the January 6 insurrection. That is the embodiment of the Department’s mission to ensure the non-political and even-handed administration of justice, and we commend the Attorney General for his commitment to upholding that mission. His speech appropriately recognizes that if those who hold the most power are allowed to act with impunity while the less powerful are sent to prison, equal justice under the law would be a lie, and respect for the rule of law and democracy itself would be in grave danger of destruction.”
The Attorney General must “translate his important words into concrete actions to impose accountability on the powerful people who sought to destroy our democracy accountable in every case supported by the evidence,” the alumni wrote.
The signatories comprise individuals who have served in both career and high-ranking politically-appointed positions in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Many had careers that spanned decades in multiple administrations.
Their full statement can be read here.