In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Evan Perez, Attorney General Merrick Garland advocated for a swift trial for former President Donald Trump, who is facing 91 felonies, including charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith. The charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. The trial is scheduled to commence in March, pending pretrial appeals.
One notable aspect of the pretrial proceedings is a legal theory put forth by Trump’s attorney, suggesting that a president could order a military operation, such as instructing Seal Team Six to assassinate a political rival, without facing prosecution unless impeached and convicted first.
During the interview on CNN This Morning, Evan Perez questioned Attorney General Garland about the public perception, particularly among Republicans, that Trump is being politically targeted. Garland acknowledged the concern and emphasized the importance of demonstrating through their actions that the Department of Justice is adhering to the law and the facts of the case. He pointed out that the prosecutions in question were initiated the previous year, and the special prosecutor has consistently advocated for a speedy trial in the public interest.
When asked about his agreement with the push for a speedy trial, Garland affirmed his support for expeditious proceedings. He indicated that the decision on the timing of the trials now rests with the trial judge, emphasizing the need to adhere to legal processes and ensure a fair and impartial trial.
Garland’s comments underscore the Justice Department’s commitment to transparency and the rule of law, aiming to address concerns about political targeting by demonstrating a commitment to a lawful and expeditious judicial process.
EVAN PEREZ: We, you know, one of the trials of the former president, Donald Trump is scheduled for March. You know, some of the polling recently showed that three-quarters of Republicans believe that he’s being targeted for political reasons. Does it concern you that, that this public perception exists? And what can you do to try to change that?
AG MERRICK GARLAND: Okay. Of course, that concerns me. What we have to do is show by the acts that we take that we’re following the law, that we’re following the facts. The prosecutions that you’re talking about were brought last year. And the special prosecutor has said from the beginning, that he thinks public interest requires a speedy trial, which I agree with.
EVAN PEREZ: You agree with that.
AG MERRICK GARLAND: I do, and, the matter is now in the hands of, a trial judge to determine when the high trials will take place.