National Security

Holder says he’s ‘concerned’ penalties for some Jan. 6 defendants not high enough

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Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he is “concerned” that some of the sentences being brought against defendants in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection are not high enough.

While speaking with Wolf Blitzer at CNN’s Citizen Conference, Holder was asked if he believed federal authorities are being aggressive enough towards the rioters.

“I do think that the Department of Justice is doing a good job. This is a resource-intense issue. You know, I guess there have been I guess 400 people or so charged at this point, potentially more,” Holder said. “Anybody who participated in that coup attempt on January the sixth has to be held accountable, has to be identified and then held accountable. And so I think the Justice Department is doing a good job so far.”

However, he added, “I’m a little concerned as I think some judges have indicated that we’ve watched at least some of the cases, the penalties that were sought by the Justice Department were not necessarily high enough.”

More than 650 individuals have been arrested over their alleged involvement in the deadly Capitol attack. Most have been charged with entering a restricted building, violent entry or obstructing an official proceeding, though many others have also been charged for allegedly assaulting law enforcement officers.

Asked how he felt about the strength of America’s future democracy, Holder said he was “ultimately optimistic,” but still “very worried.”

“We have not seen attacks on the system, our democratic system, probably ever in our nation, but certainly maybe since you know, since the Civil War, when we had an outright rebellion,” he said. “We have people now who are not committed to American democracy but more committed to the retention of power, trying to keep their fellow citizens away from the polls, trying to interfere with our infrastructure through gerrymandering.”

Holder expressed hope that all people, regardless of political affiliation, would begin to focus on these issues in a way they haven’t before, saying once that happens, “we’ll get to a better place.”

Tags Capitol breach Capitol insurrection Capitol riot Eric Holder Jan. 6 Capitol attack Wolf Blitzer

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