President Joe Biden reportedly believes that former President Donald Trump should be prosecuted for crimes related to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol last year.
Biden has made comments to trusted friends and advisers as recently as late last year that he believes his predecessor is responsible for some crime related to January 6 and should be prosecuted. He has gone so far as to voice frustration with the pace of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s investigation into the riot that has not resulted in charges against Trump, according to The New York Times. As The NYT reports:
The attorney general’s deliberative approach has come to frustrate Democratic allies of the White House and, at times, President Biden himself. 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. 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.
On Friday, Garland was asked about potential political pressure he may be feeling to deliver results in the investigation into January 6 and hundreds of criminal charges already filed over the event. Garland said that the only pressure he feels is “to do the right thing.”
“The only pressure I feel, and the only pressure that our line prosecutors feel, is to do the right thing. That means we follow the facts and the law, wherever they may lead,” Garland said.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates told The NYT in a statement that the president has not attempted to interfere with the Justice Department’s investigation, asserting that Garland had “decisively restored” the department’s independence in a shot at the Trump administration and DOJ under former Attorney General Bill Barr.
Bates told The NYT: “President Biden is immensely proud of the attorney general’s service in this administration and has no role in investigative priorities or decisions.”
Notably, Trump’s relationship with his attorney general deteriorated in the final months of his administration as Barr pushed back against Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud. Barr resigned in December 2020 before Trump’s term finished the next month.
As Biden reportedly wants more from Garland on the January 6 investigation, Biden’s son, Hunter, is under federal investigation over his foreign business deals, including deals in Ukraine and China. Last week, the White House said that it stands by Biden’s 2020 claim that his son did not benefit financially from deals in China, despite documents showing that companies controlled in part by Biden collected millions in payments from a Chinese energy conglomerate.