President Joe Biden privately called Donald Trump “a threat to democracy” and said the former president should be prosecuted for January 6 insurrection. In addition, Biden is reportedly frustrated with US Attorney General Merrick Garland for not taking “decisive action” on the matter, The New York Times reported, citing two individuals with knowledge of the conversation.
According to The Times, the president has described Garland as a “ponderous judge” and said he wants to see him take more assertive steps regarding the Capitol siege.
As noted by The times, however, Biden has never articulated his frustrations about the January 6 cases directly to Garland.
Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, who serves on the House panel investigating the January 6 riot, last week said that the Department of Justice “must move swiftly” and told the attorney general to “do your job so that we can do ours.”
Garland on Friday told reporters that the prosecutors handling the case only felt an urgency “to do the right thing,” which has made them “follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.”
Responding to The Times report, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement that Biden is “immensely proud” of the attorney general’s service and felt that Garland had “decisively restored” a high level of independence back to the Justice Department.
According to the report, the Justice Department has recently expanded its investigation into the insurrection to include an analysis of the organization of Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Capitol riot. But the department has not indicated a timeline or said if prosecutors were mulling over a case against Trump.
Trump has previously attempted to block investigations into the Capitol riot by claiming that he and his allies are protected by executive privilege, but the Biden White House has rejected those arguments.