Former US attorney general says DOJ ‘back on track’ after slow start to Jan. 6 probes

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election started too slowly, but that the department is now “back on track.”

“The Justice Department was a little late in leaning up its investigation, its inquiry with regards to those people at the top of this whole conspiracy,” he said in an MSNBC interview on Saturday. “They’ve done and continue to do a great job with the foot soldiers who were there on Jan. 6th.”

Holder said the agency’s early focus on lining up cases against individuals who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot on the Capitol, and saving the leaders of the scheme until now — years later — was a poor decision. He would have investigated both groups in parallel, he was claimed.

Now, it appears that the department’s investigations will be wrapping up in the middle of the 2024 election cycle. Investigators delivered Trump a target letter on Sunday, notifying him that he was under investigation.

“That is one of the negative consequences for that delay. The Justice Department is operating quite well now, but that pause is going to have an impact, in some form or passion, on our politics,” the Obama administration official said.

The holder also criticized the Trump campaign’s conduct after the 2020 election, including the former president’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he asked him to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.

“This was a different form of ballot stuffing, to ‘find’ votes that weren’t there and to have them counted, to fake electors and try to swear them in as representatives of a particular state,” Holder said.

“What was attempted by the former president and those around him was to conduct an election that was anything but fair,” he added.

That phone call is at the center of a state investigation in Georgia, which is expected to conclude by next month, looking into Trump’s actions to overturn the election and could result in further charges

The DOJ probe, spearheaded by special counsel Jack Smith, is looking at the Georgia phone call, as well as similar phone calls in Arizona and fake elector schemes in Nevada, Michigan and elsewhere.

Holder also denounced Trump’s attacks on Smith and other members of the DOJ. The former president has called Smith “deranged,” a “thug” and a “Trump hater.”

“These are strong folks. They’re used to being criticized, but the unfounded level of criticism that we see here is truly unprecedented,” Holder said. “I hope that people who are right-minded will come to the defense of the people in the Bureau, at the Justice Department.”

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