Attorney General Merrick Garland will give a speech Wednesday about the Justice Department’s efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, stressing the department’s “unwavering commitment to defend Americans and American democracy from violence and threats of violence,” a Justice Department official said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks at the White House on Monday. Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post

In the address, scheduled for the day before the anniversary of the attack, Garland will not speak about specific people or charges, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the speech had not yet been officially announced.

Rather, Garland, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, will offer broad remarks about “the department’s solemn duty to uphold the Constitution, follow the facts and the law and pursue equal justice under law without fear or favor.”

The remarks will be directed at Justice Department employees and the public, the official said, at a time when the agency has been under growing pressure – especially from the political left – to hold former President Donald Trump and others in his orbit criminally responsible for efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Federal prosecutors in D.C. announced last week that they have charged more than 725 people with crimes in connection with the events of Jan. 6, including 225 with assault or resisting arrest and some 640 people with entering a restricted federal building or its grounds.

About 165 people have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, the U.S. attorney’s office said. A Washington Post review of court records late last year found that the vast majority of those charged federally were not part of far-right groups or premeditated conspiracies to attack the Capitol.

The Justice Department’s investigation is running parallel to a House committee probe of the Capitol breach and efforts to nullify Joe Biden’s victory at the polls.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chair of that committee, recently told The Post that lawmakers are particularly interested in why it took Trump so long to call on his supporters to stand down after they stormed the Capitol.

Thompson said the delayed response could be a factor in deciding whether to make a criminal referral, which is when Congress tells the Justice Department it believes a crime has been committed.


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