Merrick Garland’s big swing
Former FBI Asst. Director Frank Figliuzzi appeared on MSNBC on Saturday, claiming the DOJ is planning to escalate charges against Trump supporters who took part in the Jan. 6th insurrection. This is to be expected since the violent event was obviously a coordinated and planned effort, yet so far most of the charges have been relatively minor. MSNBC’s Alex Witt first gave an update then asked Figliuzzi to comment.
The DOJ expects to arrest over 500 total participants, in one of the largest investigations in US history, including something around 20,000 hours of video from surveillance and body cameras. They have also received phone recordings and social media posts from witnesses and participants. Over 400 have already been arrested.
Figliuzzi claimed it is a larger investigation than anything he saw in his 25-year career, including 9/11. He expects the magnitude of the charges to move from things like trespass and assault up to conspiracy, and possibly sedition and RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) enterprise charges to take down groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
No mention was made of whether he had knowledge of any of the plea agreement deals being made, or whether he was even authorized to be talking about this to the press, but he obviously was not speaking on Merrick Garland’s behalf.
Garland has said this investigation is his number one priority, and that he will vigorously prosecute any and all of those responsible, which will be determined by the actual investigation. Considering the fact that he did not close but expanded his investigation into the death of George Floyd and police misconduct after Derek Chauvin was found guilty (surprising many, including the Minneapolis Police Chief), we have every reason to expect Garland to be extremely thorough. I personally believe Trump will be charged in Georgia or New York before suffering any consequences for the insurrection.