A day before the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed to protect America's democratic institutions and said the people responsible for the attack will face justice whether they were present at the Capitol or not. "The Justice Department remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy," Garland said in a speech to department employees, per the New York Times. "We will follow the facts wherever they lead."
Garland—who is under growing pressure from Democrats to hold Donald Trump and other high-profile Republicans accountable for the events of Jan. 6—didn't confirm whether he is building a case against the former president, the Times reports. He did, however say that investigators have been building more complicated cases. "We resolve more straightforward cases first because they provide the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases," Garland said. More than 700 arrests have been made in the year since the riot, and the FBI is still seeking hundreds of others in connection with the most serious attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812, including around 250 people accused of assaulting police officers, the AP reports.
In his speech, Garland described the attacks on officers and called for a moment of silence after reading out the names of five who died in the weeks and months afterward, some of them by suicide. Matthew Miller, who served as spokesman for Obama-era AG Eric Holder, tells the Washington Post that Garland's remarks don't necessarily mean that he has built a case against Trump for inciting the attack or trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. "If they have evidence to charge Trump with a crime, I’m sure they’ll do it," Miller says. "But you can also read into it whatever you want." (Read more Capitol attack stories.)