House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has called on the Department of Justice to prosecute everyone involved in the January 6 Capitol building attack. His call comes less than a week after The Washington Post reported that some officials were engaged in early discussions on whether or not to pursue every charge.
“It is critical that all of the perpetrators of this insurrectionist attack be identified, investigated, arrested, charged and subsequently prosecuted. The Department of Justice must dedicate every available resource to its offices across the country in order to ensure that all of these individuals are held accountable,” Nadler told the DOJ in a letter.
Nadler’s letter, addressed to acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson, also called on the DOJ to provide guidelines for how charges will be pursued, and what criteria will be used to differentiate between those charged with felonies and those with misdemeanors.
Nadler also requested information about the “strike force” looking into possible sedition charges. Back in mid-January, the DOJ referenced a “strike force” that would study whether to bring sedition charges, which carry a maximum 20 year prison sentence, against some of the participants in the Capitol building riot, reports Politico.
“The events of January 6 were an attack on our democracy and, in effect, our entire country. We thank you for the role that the Department’s investigators and prosecutors will play in bringing those responsible to justice, and in helping to prevent any such future attacks,” concluded the Democratic House Judiciary Chairman’s letter.
Nadler’s letter comes a week after The Washington Post reported, citing multiple people familiar with discussions, that law enforcement officials were debating whether to pursue charges against those who were only suspected of entering the Capitol building.
“If an old man says all he did was walk in and no one tried to stop him, and he walked out and no one tried to stop him, and that’s all we know about what he did, that’s a case we may not win,” one official told The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.
The report emphasized those discussions were only in their early stages, and nothing had been decided. The report also noted that prosecutors have other options at their disposal. For example, people accused of jumping the fence at the White House in the past have been offered deferred plea agreements, “a diversion program akin to pretrial probation in which prosecutors agree to drop charges if a defendant commits no offenses over a certain time period,” reports the Post.
In a statement to The Washington Post, a DOJ spokesperson seemingly denied that not everyone would be charged: “There is absolute resolve from the Department of Justice to hold all who intentionally engaged in criminal acts at the Capitol accountable.”
“We have consistently made clear that we will follow the facts and evidence and charge individuals accordingly. We remain confident that the U.S. District Court for Washington, DC can appropriately handle the docket related to any resulting charges.”