Merrick Garland Assures Sheldon Whitehouse the January 6 Investigators Are Using All Investigative Techniques, Including Following the Money

In spite of the 650 defendants, the conspiracy structure that could easily encompass Trump and his flunkies, and apparent steps to lock in testimony of those privy to the actions of organizers, most people remain panicked that DOJ is not aggressively investigating January 6, including those who organized it. Yesterday in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland, Senator Whitehouse expressed concerns that DOJ was not trying to understand who funded the January 6 riot. In response, Garland strongly implied that DOJ was.

Whitehouse: Now, I don’t know what’s going on behind all of that, but I’m hoping that the due diligence of the FBI is being deployed not just to the characters who trespassed in the Capitol that day and who engaged in violent acts, but that you’re taking the look you would properly take at any case involving players behind the scenes, funders of the enterprise, and so forth, in this matter as well and there’s been no decision to say, we’re limiting this case to the people in the building that day, we’re not going to take a serious look at anybody behind it.

Garland: Senator, I’m very limited as to what I can say–

Whitehouse: I understand that.

Garland: –Because I have a criminal investigation going forward.

Whitehouse: Please tell me it has not been constrained only to be people in the Capitol.

Garland: The investigation is being conducted by the prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office and by the FBI field office. We have not constrained them in any way.

Whitehouse: Great. And the old doctrine of “follow the money,” which is a well-established principle of prosecution, is alive and well?

Garland: It’s fair to say that all investigative techniques of which you’re familiar and some, maybe, that you’re not familiar with because they post-date your time are all being pursued in this matter.

We are still just nine months into this investigation, an instant in the terms of complex conspiracy investigations like this one (which was a point that Garland made in a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week). It’s not clear what DOJ is going to be able to prove in court. And given yesterday’s fake outrage from Republicans, it’s not clear DOJ will complete such an investigation before Republicans win a Congressional majority at mid-terms.

But at least for now, DOJ appears to be conducting the kind of investigation everyone wants them to.

51 replies
  1. RMD says:

    Thank you Marcy.

    Do you know of a mechanism that can be applied that will protect and shield the investigation and its findings, should the mid-term elections result in a Republican majority in the House?

    Of course, maintaining a Democratic majority is top of the list…..

    • Frank Anon says:

      I don’t understand how that could happen? Congress can pass no laws by fiat, Biden would certainly veto pretty much anything that could spring from the Republican’s fevered minds, it is unlikely there would be unfilled appointments by that time and, other than hours and days of the Jim Jordan and Tom Cotton shows wasting time through subpoenaed appearances, they have no standing in directing the DOJ to do much anything. What am I missing?

        • Leoghann says:

          As they have done with the appointment of Rachael Rollins to US Attorney for the Massachusetts District, and Mathew Graves, for DC, who will oversee the prosecutions of those arrested in the insurrection.

  2. Ruthie says:

    As you say, the GOP could take the House and/or Senate and throw sand in the gears of the investigation. Another potential wrinkle I’m curious to hear comments on is the impact of Trump declaring his candidacy for the presidency, or securing the nomination. Will he be shielded by FBI protocols around candidates and elections? The clock is ticking, and even if it’s understandable and even desirable that the DOJ be “slow” (perception by noobs – I’ve been schooled already) and methodical, there’s a counterbalancing need to get to the bottom (or top, as it were) of who organized and/or funded the insurrection before it’s “too late”. I may be unnecessarily panicked about the idea of “too late”, but it’s the paradox that makes me, and I bet a lot of other people, feel so queasy.

    • Peterr says:

      There are *two* investigations – the House Select Committee and the DOJ’s criminal investigation. If the GOP takes the House next November, they could halt the select committee’s work, but they could not stop whatever the DOJ is doing.

      I took Whitehouse’s question as a softball to Garland, not as a probing question of deep concern to put Garland on notice (to borrow a phrase beloved by Rudy Rudy Rudy). “Let me give you an opportunity to push back on the folks who think nothing is happening . . .”

    • madwand says:

      I agree Ruthie, there is a concern that there is an inevitability that these investigations will be shut down by Republicans if they regain control of congress in 22 and that democrats can’t bring these investigations to fruition, especially if Trump wins in 24. Even in the case of Bannon there is frustration that people are just dragging their feet on these things. Perception is everything, Biden’s approval rating is down to 42% in some polls and Democrats appear as feckless as ever. They complain but can’t get closure on many of their complaints. Seeing some of the higher ups being indicted for Jan 6 might dispel some of that gloom, but right now its doubtful that any indictments are coming anytime soon. One thing is certain, if higher ups are not held accountable they will simply do it again, but this time they will be more thorough.

      • harpie says:

        One thing is certain, if higher ups are not held accountable they will simply do it again, but this time they will be more thorough.

        Yes. Similarly, here’s Molly Conger who’s live-tweeting the trial for the organizers of the CHARLOTTESVILLE “Unite the Right” riot [via Marcy]:
        8:38 AM · Oct 28, 2021

        [THREAD] yes these plaintiffs are seeking to recover damages, but it’s so much more than what they might win for themselves – this suit aims to prove this is POSSIBLE. it is possible to hold people accountable for setting something like unite the right in motion. […] [THREAD]

        Also, learn about jury instructions and differences between civil and criminal.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        “especially if Trump wins in 24”

        I believe this understates the situation. I hope we can agree that there is no parsing necessary to predict the effect of a Trump “win” in ’24, which would be the result of an effective dismantling of voting rights: democracy and the rule of law will be DOA. If Trump becomes president again, there will be zero possibility of any January 6 conspirators going to prison; it will be much more likely that Hillary Clinton is finally locked up. In short, all parameters of discussion at this site, based as they are on a somewhat functional legal system with a modicum of integrity, will be rendered irrelevant.

        • madwand says:

          “In short, all parameters of discussion at this site, based as they are on a somewhat functional legal system with a modicum of integrity, will be rendered irrelevant.”

          To say the least

      • JamesJoyce says:

        USA vs Sinclair.



        Affirmed Henry Sinclair’s arrest and conviction in the Senate.

        What gives today?

        Trump’s and Bannon’s mistaken view of separation of powers is no excuse..

        If any of us got order to appear before a judge and ignored it a bench warrant would be issue, Merrick..

        “Oilbellum Senate,” it must be, being kin, to the “Antebellum Senate.”

        Soil and Toil to Oil…

        Energy and Monopoly 101

        John D. Rockefeller on the run, unlike Rommel who run out of gasoline, Rockefeller had plenty, for himself.

  3. Mojo Risin' says:

    I think the GOP is genuinely too dumb to see their own exposed jaw on the Orlando DeSantis and straw candidate shenanigans.

    Non-existent State LE has been such an established reality for so long in Florida, it gives Garland godlike powers to throw out their entire state government via proxies. But they can’t see it, because they’re greaseball mobsters.

  4. Terrapin says:

    The possibility of the GOP winning back Congress is a good reason for Garland to bring in a Special Counsel for this matter, something he is empowered to do. Then again, I felt the same way about Robert Mueller’s investigation, which in the end produced essentially squat (at least in the way of tangible results). And, at least in part, because Mueller evidently declined to “follow the money.”

    • Hika says:

      ” … because Mueller evidently declined to “follow the money.” ”
      Did Mueller make that decision or was it made for him by Rosenstein? Mueller didn’t have complete autonomy to do as he liked. He was answerable to Rosenstein. If Mueller made that choice, was it ‘self-censorship’ to avoid having the whole show shut down?

  5. obsessed says:

    >”most people remain panicked that DOJ is not aggressively investigating _____ (fill in the blank)”

    Panic was half a year ago. I’ve now gone through anger, disgust and depression and arrived at my normal resting state of deep, bitter cynicism. Jan. 6 is the least of the reasons my respect for DOJ is less than zero, but even in that case, if anyone who spoke at the insurrection rally is indicted you’ll have to wake me up with smelling salts. Take today’s ProPublica report on the Burr brothers profiting from inside Covid information. Why is Garland protecting them? Short of EW, no one can even remember 10% of the patently-illegal-on-their-face crimes committed by Trumpworld. None of those have been indicted. What about all those crooked cabinet secretaries? What about Wilbur Ross. I can’t even remember the others’ names, it’s been so long since they got away with murder. They all got off and they’re all getting off. Merrick Garland is as crooked as the day is long.
    I’m not a lawyer and there may be reasons for some of this, but when there are literally thousands of things that seems like horrific crimes and NONE of them is prosecuted, something is rotten.

  6. RWood says:

    I have yet to see the bold action necessary to prevent the clock from being run out.

    Prime example: Bannon being allowed to ignore a subpoena.

      • RWood says:

        Why do they need the DOJ? Is Inherent Contempt there or not? Do they no longer have a Sergeant at Arms? Or is this once again another example of a lack of balls by the democratic leadership?

        What would Susan McDougal say?

        • Rayne says:

          Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, get a grip on your history — you’re comparing apples to oranges. Congress doesn’t have leverage NOW that Congress had on McDougal in 1996.

          …Mrs. McDougal was convicted of fraud and three other felony counts in May. The charges centered on a $300,000 Government-backed loan that she received in 1986 from David Hale, a prominent figure in the Whitewater investigation. The loan was later found to have been fraudulent, and $50,000 of it wound up paying for Whitewater expenses.

          Mrs. McDougal would be freed from jail as soon as she agreed to testify. If she were to continue resisting, she could remain jailed for as long as the grand jury is sitting, 12 more months. The contempt citation, then, could wind up adding a year to the two-year prison term resulting from her trial, a sentence she was to begin serving on Sept. 30. …

          Think of some crime for which Bannon hasn’t been pardoned by Trump which could result in his immediate detention, prosecution, and conviction, and then Congress will have leverage to hold or release Bannon.

          Right now there are two threads running and we don’t know which will snag him first — the commission’s referral, or the DOJ’s investigation into January 6 as it flips lower perps on those above. You got better? Spill it and with less weak sauce.

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          IANAL and I don’t know if Jurney V MacCracken is good law but if it is then the House already has the power to enforce its subpoenas with jail if deemed appropriate.

        • Rayne says:

          IANAL, but Jurney v MacCracken decision said Congress has the power to cite for contempt of Congress – which they have in Bannon’s case. The real problem with that decision is that it doesn’t say anything about the relationship between Congress and the executive with regard to arrest and detention, nor about the application of Congress’s own resources to that end.

          Interesting twist, though: the judicial branch may not be able to question the decision and subsequent because of Speech and Debate clause.

          Which leads me to wonder if DOJ as part of executive branch has any reason at all to deliberate on execution of the referral, because it can’t question what Congress does as part of its deliberative process. Further, I wonder if Congress’s power might have been maximized by charging Bannon with obstruction under 18 USC 1505 Obstruction of pending congressional or federal administrative proceedings.

          Bannon may also be looking at 18 USC 371 Conspiracy if he chose not to comply with the subpoena because Trump asked former admin personnel not to cooperate with the House January 6 commission.

          EDIT: Nah, the obstruction ends as soon as Bannon complies with the subpoena; he may yet be charged by DOJ with 1505, though, since his intent was to incite and disrupt normal congressional proceedings. Ditto for 371 — and TFG would also be looking at the same charges.

  7. JohnJ says:

    And just to make this all the more fun, Murdoch the destroyer is airing a 3 part special by ol’ TV Dinners Tucker claiming that 1/6 was actually democrats in disguise. Obviously they are terrified of what is going to be exposed by these investigations and are trying to pollute the conversation.

    As I type this it appears even crazier, the winners tried to stage a coup to make the losers look bad? Why bother? They lost. That side has lost all connection with logic or reality.

    This is going to drive the RW orcs even crazier.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Hey, don’t insult Orcs by comparing them to Republicans. The average Orc in The Pit just wants a better life, and under Sauron’s leadership is attacking the Feudal system to which Republicans wish to return us!

    • madwand says:

      Tucks claim of a false flag op is itself a false flag op, no way of telling where this is all going, but the crazies will believe it.

  8. Jenny says:

    Here is Blackburn’s “fake outrage from Republicans” exchange with AG Garland:

    Blackburn: “I have to tell you that it is with much disappointment that I have watched the DOJ be so politicized and the way things have been carried out when you look at the memo to parents, you heard a lot about that today, and it’s because we’re hearing a lot about that, and I just have to ask you, knowing that you really helped bring to justice those that caused the Oklahoma City bombings, would you really, honestly put parents in the same category as a Terry Nichols or a Timothy McVeigh?”

    AG Garland: “My god, absolutely no.”

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Meta, meta, meta. It means, above, beyond, transcending. Why didn’t Zuckerberg go all out and call his company, ZuckWorld or Deus ex machina?

    Big companies invest heavily in their brand and the multifarious advertising, IP, and licensing arrangements associated with it. It becomes a big part of their global tax avoidance strategy. Consequently, they rebrand mainly when their brand has fallen into the toilet. I’m surprised Zuck hasn’t rebranded sooner and more often.

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      Could have been worse…

      “So, it’s not until we have a full-time general council on board who finally says, ‘Mark, for the love of God: you cannot use the word domination anymore,’ that he stops.”
      Ezra Callahan (quoted in Valley of Genius – The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s never that easy. A general counsel who said that to the boy-king Zuckerberg would be out the door before she realized she no longer had access to her e-mail. Same with board members, though at a slightly more leisurely pace.

        • Ken Muldrew says:

          Maybe, though Callahan was pretty high up in the early Facebook executive and their longstanding efforts to prevent Zuck from publicly proclaiming his goal of world domination is legendary. That Augustus complex is no joke.

          Aside from the name and the branding, though, I’m very worried about the malignant effects this venture will have (METAstasis indeed, per Leoghann’s comment below). Having experienced Second Life in the mid 2000s (with a lingering feeling of disgust at just how awful people can be toward each other), I think that the caustic effects of instagram on teens is not even prelude to the nastiness that Zuckerberg and co. will unleash with their metaverse.

    • Leoghann says:

      David Cohen, cartoonist for the Ashville Citizen-Times, published a cartoon today pointing out the relationship of META to METAstasis.

  10. joel fisher says:

    If grand jury subpoenas were issued, the problem of enforceability would be beside the point. Show up or go to jail, with perhaps a momentary pause to challenge the subpoena. Why isn’t the former’s butt under subpoena? Didn’t he tell a howling crowd of drooling scum to go and fight? Might he not know something about that fight? The laughable Congressional subpoenas haven’t ever been enforced, at least in modern memory. It was obvious to me that they weren’t meant to be enforced when they were issued 8 months after the fact. The courts will keep the issue hanging for enough to make the increasingly likely GOP takeover to be fully manifested. After that, well, we all know what happens then. I need a drink.

      • joel fisher says:

        Because Pelosi spent 4 months on an obviously futile attempt to get Senate GOP scum on board. US Attorneys could have empanelled grand juries as soon as the political scum was out of the Justice Department. The 1968 Chicago riots were the last week of August; Grand Jury empaneled, 2nd week of September; indictments, March of 1969. Do people even remember what the Chicago 7 were charged with?

    • Overshire says:

      If you are going to kill the king, you had better kill the king.
      It is critical to the interests of justice, history, and the preservation of the republic, that this not only be done properly, deliberately, and by the book; even with all the sand the RWNM is going to throw in the gears, it is important that it be seen as being properly done. Kangaroo courts are precisely what we’re trying to prevent.

  11. Badger Robert says:

    If Attorney General Garland has to be this careful about investigations, maybe we are in more serious trouble than we have so far accepted. Maybe any such investigation and even prosecutions that follow will be much like the temporary break up of the first Klan. The Republicans lost the House 2 years later. The Supreme eviscerated 14th and 15th Amendments. The US got Jim Crow and a foreign policy that bounced around between imperialism and isolationism.

  12. Badger Robert says:

    On the law enforcement side, the more apt comparison might be to Prohibition. Law enforcement never whipped organized crime. The Volstead Act was modified and the 21st Amendment was ratified. But by then organized crime had accumulated significant power in many areas of the economy.

  13. Sam Penrose says:

    Thanks, Marcy. Hearing your assessment is reassuring. As other commenters have noted, it is a deep problem for the rule of law if the workings of investigations run so much slower than political cycles. The felonies were broadcast on TV. The American polity debated them over the next few weeks. If they take years to prosecute, it really limits the contribution that law enforcement makes to electoral politics.

    • bmaz says:

      The general statute of limitations if 5 years, and, generally, even for continuing conspiracies, five years from the date of the last overt act.

      The rule of law is never intended, nor supposed, to be about “political cycles”. And should not be rushed to satisfy the blood lust of internet commenters.

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