“To do that would undermine an element of the rule of law, which is that we treat like cases alike without regard to the subject matter,” Garland told reporters in response to a question about the January 6 investigation.
Garland spoke briefly Thursday morning at the Justice Department to mark his first full year in office, but declined to answer more specific questions about the January 6 investigation or any discussions with the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot.
“What we will avoid and what we must avoid is any partisan element of our decision making about cases,” Garland said. “That is what I am intent on ensuring, that the department’s decisions are made on the merits, and they’re made on the facts and the law. And they’re not based on any kind of partisan considerations.”
Garland was asked about Republican claims that any investigation into former President Donald Trump was inherently political and about whether he’d consider appointing a special counsel. There are no public indications that the Justice Department’s January 6 investigation – where hundreds of the rioters who breached the Capitol have been charged – has turned toward the former President.
“I’m not going to talk about individuals who may or may not be subjects of investigations,” Garland said, adding “we do not talk about how we would do investigations or how we are doing investigations.”
Thursday’s comments were only the latest example of the attorney general defending the department’s work so far.
This story has been updated with additional details.