WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — After a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, the Justice Department will have to decide whether any of the rioters will face criminal charges.
Most of that work will fall to the Biden administration’s attorney general with Inauguration Day less than two weeks away.
The president-elect officially introduced his choice for the job Thursday: Judge Merrick Garland.
Garland said the insurrection at the Capitol showed Americans what he will be defending if confirmed.
“The rule of law is not just some lawyer’s turn of phrase,” Garland said. “It is the very foundation of our democracy.”
Vanita Gupta, Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, said the rioters’ actions shed light on the importance of their job at the Justice Department.
“Yesterday’s horrific events at the Capitol reminded us that our democracy cannot be taken for granted,” Gupta said. “That our nation has a long history of disinformation, white supremacist violence, mob violence.”
Biden again denounced Wednesday’s Capitol siege.
“Don’t dare call them protesters,” he said. “They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists. It’s that basic. It’s that simple.”
While the incoming administration did not discuss a plan of action against the rioters, President Trump’s acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, said some participants will face federal charges Thursday and expects more arrests as authorities continue to investigate.
Meanwhile, former Attorney General Bill Barr called President Trump’s conduct during the Capitol takeover a “betrayal of his office and supporters” and said that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”