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tv   Attorney General Merrick Garland Delivers Remarks on January 6th Attack  CSPAN  January 6, 2022 6:30am-7:01am EST

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today on c-span, or watch on the go with our new c-span go mobile app. you can also watch our videos on demand or search our library where you will find all of our coverage of the january 6 attack on the capitol and the government's response. >> attorney general merrick garland spoke ahead of the one year anniversary of the attack on the u.s. capitol. he provided an update on the justice department's role investigating and prosecuting those responsible. from the justice department, this is 30 minutes.
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in the water industry is two elements -- first is how much -- attorney general garland: good afternoon. it is nice to see some of you here in the great hall and be able to connect with all of you virtually. on diving first day as attorney general, i spoke with all of you for the first time. today, i have brought us all together again. first to thank you. thank you for the work you have done, not just over the last 10 months, but over the past several years -- work you have done in the face of unprecedented challenges, ranging from a pandemic to an
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attack on our democracy. thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and for your dedication. i am honored to serve alongside you. second, as we prepare to mark a solemn anniversary tomorrow, it is a fitting time to reaffirm that we at the department of justice will do everything in our power to defend the american people and american democracy. we will defend our democratic institutions from attack, we will protect those who serve the public from violence and threats to violence. we will protect the honor stone of our democracy, the right to every eligible citizen to cast a vote that counts. we will do all of this in a manner that adheres to the rule of and honors our obligation to
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protect the civil-rights and civil to produce everyone in this country. tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of ginger six, 2021 --of of january 6, 2021. in the early afternoon of january 6, as the united states senate and house of representatives work meeting certify the vote count of the electoral college, a large crowd gathered outside the capitol. after 2:00 p.m., individuals in the crowd began to force entry into the capitol by smashing windows and assaulting police stationed there to protect congress as they take on one of the most solemn proceedings in our democracy. over the course of several
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hours, outnumbered law enforcement officers sustained a barrage of repeated, violent attacks. about 80 capitol police and 60 d.c. metropolitan police were assaulted. as our own court filings and thousands of videos that, perpetrators punched dozens of law enforcement officers, knocking some unconscious. some perpetrators tackled and dragged law enforcement officers . among the many examples of such violence, one officer was rushed in a door. another was dragged down a set of stairs faced down number repeatedly tased and beaten and suffered a heart attack. some perpetrators attacked law enforcement officers with chemical agents that burned their eyes and skin. some assaulted officers with pipes, holes and other dangerous
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and deadly options. perpetrators also targeted, assaulted, tackled, harassed journalists and destroyed their equipment. with increasing numbers of individuals having breached the capitol. members of the senate and the house of representatives, including mike pence, had to be evacuated. as a consequence, proceedings in both chambers were disrupted for hours, interfering with a fundamental element of american democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. those involved must be held accountable. there is no higher priority for us at the department of justice. it is impossible to overstate the heroism of the capitol police officers, washington, d.c. metropolitan police department officers, and other
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officers who defended and secured the capitol that day. they demonstrated to all of us and our country what true courage looks like. the result, -- their resolve, sacrifice, and bravery protected thousands of that day. five officers who responded selflessly to the attack have since lost their lives. i ask everyone to please join me in a moment of silence in recognition of the service and sacrifice of officer brian sicknick, officer howard leave in good, officer jeffrey smith, officer gunther has she done, and author -- officer kyle freitag. [silence]
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i know i speak for all of us in saying that tomorrow and in our work in the days ahead, we will not only remember them, we will do everything we can to honor them. in the aftermath of the attack, the justice department its work on what has become one of the largest, most complex, most resource intensive investigations in our history. only a small number of perpetrators were arrested in the tumbles of generate six itself. every day since, we have worked to identify people across the country. we have done so at record speed and scale in the midst of a pandemic, during which some courtrooms were not able to operate. led by the u.s. attorney's office for the district of columbia and the fbi's
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washington field office, doj personnel across the department in nearly all 56 field offices, in nearly all 94 u.s. attorneys offices, and in many remaining justice components have worked countless hours to investigate the attack. approximately 70 prosecutors from the district of columbia and another 70 from other as attorneys offices and doj divisions have dissipated. so far, we have issued over 5000 subpoenas and search warrants, seized approximately 2000 devices, poured through over 20,000 hours of video footage, and searched through an estimated 15 terabytes of data. we have received over 300,000 tips from ordinary citizens who have been our indispensable partners in this effort. the fbi's website continues to
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post photos of persons in connection with the events of january 6. week continue to seek the public's assistance in identifying those individuals. as of today, we have arrested and charged more than 725 defendants in nearly all 50 states and the district of columbia for their roles in the january 6 attack. in a charging perpetrators, we have followed prosecutorial practices. those who assaulted officers or damage the capitol faced greater charges. those who conspired with others to obstruct the vote count also faced greater charges. those who did not undertake such conduct have been charged with lesser offenses, particularly if they accepted responsibility early and cooperated with the
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investigation. in the first bouts of the investigation, approximately 145 defendants pled guilty to misdemeanors, mostly defendants who did not cause interest -- injury or damage. such pleas reflect acceptance of responsibility. they help conserve both judicial and prosecutorial resources so that attention can properly focus on the more serious perpetrators. in complex cases, initial charges are often less severe than hr charge offenses -- then later charge offenses. this is purposeful as investigators collect more evidence. by now, we have charged over 325 defendants with felonies, many for assaulting officers and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.
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20 defendants charged with felonies have already pled guilty. approximately 40 defendants have charged with conspiracy to obstruct congressional proceeding or law enforcement. in the months ahead, 17 defendants are already scheduled for trial. a necessary consequence of charging less serious offenses first is that courts impose shorter sentences before longer ones. in recent weeks, however, as a judges have sentenced the first defendants convicted, we have seen significant sentences that reflect the seriousness of those offenses, both in terms of injuries that cost and the serious risks they pose to our democratic institutions. the actions we have taken thus far will not be our last.
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the justice department remains committed to holding all january 6 perpetrators at any level accountable under law, whether they were present that day for or otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. we will follow the facts wherever they lead. because january 6 was an unprecedented attack on the seat of our democracy, we understand that there is broad public interest in our investigation. we understand that there are questions about how long the investigation will take and about what exactly we are doing. our answer is and will continue to be the same answer we would give with respect to any ongoing investigation. as long as it takes and whatever it takes for justice to be done consistent with the facts and
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the law. i understand that this may not be the answer some are looking for, but we will and must speak to our work. anything else jeopardizes the viability of our investigations and the civil liberties of our citizens. everyone in this room and on these screens is familiar with the way we conduct investigations, particularly complex investigations. we build investigations by laying a foundation. wheat result more straightforward cases first because they provide the evidence for more complex cases. investigating the moreover crimes generates linkages to less overt ones. coburn actors can lead us to others -- oc -- covert actors
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can lead to less corporate ones. in circumstances like those of january 6, a full accounting does not suddenly materialize. to ensure that those criminally responsible are more that are held responsible, we must collect the evidence. we follow the physical evidence, at digital evidence, but most important, you follow the facts, not an agenda or an assumption, but the facts. over four years ago, the justice department concluded that the best way to ensure independence, integrity, and fair application of our laws and the best way to ensure the health of our democracy is to have a set of norms to govern our work. a central norm is that it held
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criminal investigations, there cannot be different rules depending on one's political party or affiliation. there cannot be different rules for friends and foes, and there cannot be different rules for the powerful and the powerless. there is only one rule. we follow the facts and enforce the law indicate weight that respects the constitution and products civil liberties. we conduct every investigative -- investigation guided by the same norms. we adhere to those norms even when and especially when the circumstances we face are not normal. adhering to the department's long-standing norms is essential to our work in defending our democracy, particularly at a time when we are confronting a rise in violence, and unlawful
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threat to violence in our shared public spaces and directed at those who serve the public. we have all seen that americans who serve and interact with the public at every level, many of whom make our democracy work every day, have been unlawfully across the country, election officials and election workers, airline flight crews, school personnel, journalists, local elected officials, u.s. senators and representative and judges, prosecutors, and police officers have threatened or attacked. these are our fellow citizens who administer our elections and ensure our safe travel. they teach our children. they report the news. represent their constituents, and, keep our community safe.
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some have been told that their offices would be bombed. some have been told they would be murdered and precisely how. that they would behind. -- that they would be hanged. that they would be beheaded. police officers have been target with extraordinary levels of violent. flight crews have been assaulted. journalists have been targeted. school personnel and their families have been threatened. a member of congress was threatened in a gruesome voicemail that asked if she had ever seen what a 50 caliber shell does to a human head. another member of congress, an iraq war veteran and purple heart recipient received threats that left her terrified for her family.
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in 2020, a federal judge in new jersey was targeted by someone who had appeared before her in court. that person compiled information about where the judge and her family lived and went to church. that person found the judges home, shot and killed her son, and injured her husband. these acts and threats of violence are not associated with anyone set of partisan or ideological views. but, they are permeating so many parts of our national life that they risk becoming normalized. and routine. if, we do not stop them. that is dangerous for people safety. and it is deeply dangerous for our democracy. in a democracy, people vote, argue, and debate.
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often, vociferously, in order to achieve the policy outcomes they desire, but in a democracy, people must not employ violence or unlawful threats of violence to effect that outcome. citizens must not be intimidated from exercising their constitutional rights to free expression and association by such unlawful conduct. the justice department will continue to investigate violence and illegal threats of violence to disrupt the violence before it occurs and hold perpetrators accountable. we have marshaled resources in the department to address the rising violence and criminal threats of violence against election workers, flight crews, school personnel, journalists, members of congress, and against federal agents, prosecutors, and judges.
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in 2021, the department charged more defendants in criminal threat cases than in any year in at least the last five. as we do this work, we are guided by our commitment to protect civil liberties including the first amendment rights of all citizens. the department has been clear that expressing a political beliefs or ideology, no matter how vociferously, is not a crime. we do not investigate or prosecute people because off their views. peacefully expressing a view or ideology, no matter how extreme, is protected by the first amendment. but, illegally threatening to harm or to kill another person is not. there is no first amendment right to unlawfully threaten to harm or kill someone.
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as justice scalia noted in rav versus city of st. paul. true threats of violence are outside the first amendment because laws that punish such threats "protect individuals from the fear of violence, from the disruption that fear engenders, and from the possibility that the threatened violence would occur." the latter point is particularly close to home. for those of us who have investigated tragedies ranging from the oklahoman city bombing to the january 6 attack on the capitol. the time to address threats is when they are made, not after the tragedy has struck. as employees of the nation's largest law enforcement, -- law enforcement agency, each of us understands that we have an obligation to protect our
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citizens from violence and fear of violence. we will continue to do our part provide that protection. but, the justice department cannot do it alone. the responsibility to bring an end to violence and threats of violence against those who serve the public is one that all americans share. such conduct disrupts the piece of public spaces and undermines our democracy -- the peace of public spaces and undermines our democracy. we are all americans. we must protect each other. the obligation to keep americans and american democracy safe is part of the historical inheritance of this department. as i have noted several times before, a founding purpose of the justice department was to battle violent extremists attacks on our credit institutions. in the midst of reconstruction
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following the civil war, the department's first task was here the civil rights, promised by the 13, 14th, and 15th amendments. this meant protecting black americans seeking to exercise their right to vote from acts and threats of violence by white supremacists. the framers of the civil war amendments recognized that access to the ballot is a fundamental aspect of citizenship and self-government. the government -- the voting rights act of 1965 sought to make the promise of those amendments real. to do so, it gave the justice apartment valuable tools with which to protect the right to vote. in recent years, however, the protection of the voting rights act has been drastically weekend -- weakened.. the supreme court 2013 decision
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in the shelby county case effectively eliminated the preclearance protections of section five, the most effective tool for protecting voting rights over the past half-century. subsequent decisions have substantially narrowed the reach of section two as well. since those decisions, there has been a dramatic increase in legislative impacts that make it harder for millions of eligible voters to vote and elect representatives of their own choosing. those enactments range from practices and procedures that make voting more difficult to redistricting maps drawn to disadvantage both minorities and citizens of opposing political parties, to abnormal postelection audits that put the integrity of the voting process at risk, to changes in voting administration meant to diminish the authority of locally elected
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or nonpartisan election administrators. some have even suggested permitting state legislators to set aside the choice of the voters themselves. as i noted in an address to the civil rights division last june, many of those enactments have been justified by the unfounded claims of material vote will -- vote fraud in the 2020 election. those claims, which have corroded people's faith in the legitimacy of our election, have been -- elections, have been repeatedly refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both the last administration and this one as well as by every court, federal and state, that has considered them. the department of justice will continue to do all it can to protect voting rights enforcement powers we have.
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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. but as with violence and threats of violence, the justice department, even the congress, cannot alone defend the right to vote. the responsibility to preserve democracy and to maintain faith in the legitimacy of its essential processes lies with every elected official and with every american. all americans are entitled to free, fair, and secure elections that ensure they select the representatives of their choice. all americans are entitled to live in a country in which their public servants can go about their jobs serving the public free from violence and unlawful
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threats of violence. and, all americans are entitled to live in a country in which the transition from one elected administration to the next is ecom placed pete -- is accomplished peacefully. the justice department will never stop working to defend the democracy to which all americans are entitled. as i recognized and i spoke with you all last march, service in the department of more than a job and more than an honor. it is a calling. each of us, you and i, came to work here because we are committed to the rule of law and to seeking equal justice under law. we came to work here because we are committed to ensuring the civil rights and civil liberties
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of our people. we came to work here because we are committed to protecting our country as our oath says. from all enemies foreign and mastic. to get -- and domestic. together, we will continue to show the american people by word and by deed that these are the principles that underlie our work. the challenges that we face and will continue to face are extraordinarily -- extraordinary. but i am moved and humbled by the extraordinary work you do every single day. -- every single day to meet them. i look forward to seeing more of you in person soon and to our continued work together. thank you all. >>[abbas] --[applause].
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calls, tweets, and facebook comments on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the u.s. capitol. there will be remarks from president biden and vice president harris, coming up in a couple of hours. "washington journal" is next. ♪ host: this is the "washington journal." " for january six. it was a year ago when rioters attacked the u.s. capitol. there were over 150 federal and police officers injured, over $1 million in damage, and the deaths and indirect deaths of several people. this is the site of the capitol today. today, several events will be held inside and out of the capitol to remember the event, including a speech later today by president biden. our program will consist largely of your phone calls about january 6.


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