Gallego rips 'feckless' Garland over Jan. 6 response

Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOcasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision Poll: Sinema approval higher among Arizona Republicans than Democrats It's time for 'Uncle Joe' to take off the gloves against Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday ripped Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandSchumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Harris bets on new Honduran president to revive Central America policy Manchin open to supporting Supreme Court pick more liberal than him MORE over the Department of Justice's efforts to prosecute people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"I think Merrick Garland has been extremely weak and I think there should be a lot more of the organizers of Jan. 6 that should be arrested by now," Gallego told "CNN Newsroom."

Since the riot at the Capitol nearly a year ago, 710 individuals in nearly all 50 states have been arrested in connection to the attack, including 75 people charged with using deadly or dangerous weapons or causing serious bodily injury to an officer, according to the Justice Department.
 
According to The Washington Post, 165 have pleaded guilty to at least one charge, and 70 defendants have been sentenced to jail time, home detention or probation.
 
“We are proud of the men and women of the Justice Department, who are undertaking the largest investigation in the department’s history," said Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley.
 
"They are following the facts and the law and the Constitution while working at impressive speed and scale to hold accountable all those responsible for the attack on the Capitol, and will continue to do so,” added Coley. 

Despite the hundreds of prosecutions, Gallego said federal law enforcement officials have placed too much emphasis on those who physically invaded the Capitol, rather than on those in former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE's orbit who've said they wanted to delay certification of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.

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Asked whether the plan to delay certification amounted to a criminal conspiracy, Gallego said, "To a certain degree, yes. I think some of them are doing criminal acts, especially interference of Congress in terms of their duties."

"I think we have to certainly look at them. This is why we need to have an active attorney general that can separate those that were doing political work from actual work helping the insurrection and or the coup plotters," added Gallego.

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Gallego also pointed fingers at Capitol Hill Republicans for not cooperating with the House committee investigating the attacks and at Republican officials in charge of running elections at the local level.

"I don't think the attack you're going to see in the future is going to be by a bunch of angry fat men trying to get into Congress," said Gallego. "I think the actual attack is going to happen in the legislatures, in the country recorder's office, in the board of elections."

"There's an ongoing slow coup by a bunch of Brooks Brothers-dressed politicians that are going to try to change basically who counts the vote for the upcoming elections," he added.

Gallego, the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's campaign arm, Bold PAC, called on Senate Democrats to move forward with voting rights legislation, a long-shot bet that would require the entire caucus to rally behind changing the upper chamber's rules.

Still, Gallego placed blame on Garland for what he said was a lack of consequences for the riot's organizers.

"You have, again, an attorney general who is, you know, feckless and has not been helpful in terms of protecting our democracy," he said.

Updated: 6:02 p.m.