Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego tore into Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday over his department’s handling of cases related to last year’s attack on the Capitol.
“I think Merrick Garland has been extremely weak, and I think there should be a lot more of the organizers of Jan. 6 that should be arrested by now,” Gallego said in an interview on CNN.
The Arizona congressman, a retired Marine who sheltered reporters in his office during the Jan. 6 riots, called Garland “feckless” and said he “has not been helpful in terms of preserving our democracy.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request to comment on Gallego’s criticisms.
More than 700 people have been arrested in connection to the events surrounding the insurrection that took place nearly a year ago. To date, more than 150 have pleaded guilty and dozens have been sentenced — largely for misdemeanor crimes.
A POLITICO analysis published Tuesday showed that as of early January, only 30 people have been sentenced to prison for their role in the riots, though hundreds of cases are still pending and further investigations are ongoing.
In addition to the attorney general, Gallego directed his ire at GOP lawmakers who he accused of trying to shield Jan. 6 rioters.
“The problem that we have now is that we have a very obstructionist Republican party that should be part of helping us decide how to save democracy instead of trying to cover up for their crimes,” he said.
Gallego said that, a year after the riots at the Capitol, the bigger threat to democracy is less a physical attack than a takeover of local election administration by officials who are more willing to overturn results they disagree with politically.
“I think we’re more resilient in case of a physical coup attack, but the same time the ongoing political coup is occurring,” he said.