Biden DOJ Went Too Far With Prosecuting Jan. 6 Suspects: Bill Barr

Biden DOJ Went Too Far With Prosecuting Jan. 6 Suspects: Bill Barr

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Former Attorney General Bill Barr said that the Department of Justice cast its net ‘far too broadly’ on prosecuting Jan. 6 defendants.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr said on Saturday—the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incident—that the Justice Department under President Joe Biden went too far when it comes to prosecuting individuals involved in the events of that fateful day and targeted people who merely “walked into open doors and hung around.”

Mr. Barr made the remarks in an interview on Fox News, where he said he has no intention of downplaying the seriousness of the events of Jan. 6, 2021, which he called a “shameful episode” for which some people should face prosecution.

“I don’t think it was an insurrection,” Mr. Barr said, rejecting a label that has been pushed in particular by opponents of former President Donald Trump, who faces over a dozen lawsuits seeking to bar him from the 2024 presidential ballot under the claim that he engaged in an “insurrection.”

President Trump recently denied being an “insurrectionist” and turned the tables on President Biden by labeling him as one, citing as proof his lax border and anti-fossil fuel policies. The former president has repeatedly denied that he encouraged people to commit any violence on Jan. 6, 2021, pointing to remarks he made that urged the crowd to head to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Mr. Barr was then asked in the Fox News interview for his thoughts about the fact that criticism appears to have grown with regard to the treatment of Jan. 6 defendants by federal authorities, with allegations that it’s been unfair, unwarranted, or heavy-handed.

“Well, you know, like everything else the left does, they did, I think, go too far,” Mr. Barr replied.

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The Epoch Times has reached out to the DOJ with a request for comment.

‘They Just Took It Too Far’

To date, over 1,200 people have been charged with various crimes in relation to the Jan. 6 Capitol incident, ranging from misdemeanor offenses like trespassing to felonies like seditious conspiracy or assaulting police officers.

Of these, roughly 750 have been sentenced, with nearly two-thirds receiving some time in prison.

The longest prison sentence—22 years—was handed down to Enrique Tarrio, the former Proud Boys national chairman who was convicted of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors alleged was a plot to stop the transfer of power from then-President Trump to then-President-elect Joe Biden during the certification of electoral votes in Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

People protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)
People protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)
Dozens of Jan. 6 detainees are still languishing in jail awaiting trial three years after the Capitol incident.

In his interview on Fox News, Mr. Barr said that some people involved in the Jan. 6 incident—like those who attacked police and broke into the building—deserve to be punished.

“There were people that should have been prosecuted,” Mr. Barr said. “But I think they cast their net far too broadly.”

He said the DOJ under President Biden “has been hounding people that really, you know, just waled into open doors in the Capitol and hung around.”

“I think they just took it too far,” he said. “But that being said, I don’t minimize what happened up there. While I don’t think it was an insurrection, it clearly was a shameful episode and some of the people involved should be prosecuted.”

Attorney General William Barr speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Dec. 18, 2019. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Attorney General William Barr speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Dec. 18, 2019. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

FBI Arrests Jan. 6 ‘Fugitives’

Meanwhile, on the same day that the interview with Mr. Barr aired, the FBI announced that it had arrested three “January 6 fugitives,” individuals who were indicted for various alleged crimes committed three years ago at the U.S. Capitol, including assault and resisting arrest.

The FBI’s Tampa division said in a statement that agents executed warrants on Saturday morning at a ranch in Groveland, Florida, where all three individuals were taken into custody.

“The subjects taken into custody are January 6 fugitives Jonathan Daniel Pollock, Olivia Michele Pollock, and Joseph Daniel Hutchinson III,” the agency stated in a post on X.
(L–R) Jonathan Daniel Pollock, Olivia Michele Pollock, and Joseph Daniel Hutchinson III. (FBI)
(L–R) Jonathan Daniel Pollock, Olivia Michele Pollock, and Joseph Daniel Hutchinson III. (FBI)

All three defendants are scheduled to make a court appearance in federal court in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 8.

The FBI did not provide any further details regarding their capture.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 5, President Biden traveled to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to deliver a speech to mark the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol incident, claiming that the potential return of President Trump to the White House poses a threat to democracy.

During his speech, President Biden also referred to the events on Jan. 6, 2021—and those jailed as a consequence.

“Knowing how his mind works now, he had one—he had one act left—one desperate act available to him: the violence of January the 6th,” the president said, referring to President Trump.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the release of hostages from Gaza in Nantucket, Mass., on Nov. 26, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the release of hostages from Gaza in Nantucket, Mass., on Nov. 26, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

“And since that day, more than 1,200 people have been charged for their assault on the Capitol. Nearly 900 of them have been convicted or pled guilty. Collectively, to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison,” President Biden continued, drawing applause from the audience.

“And what has Trump done? Instead of calling them ‘criminals,’ he’s called these … insurrectionists ‘patriots,’” he said. “And he promised to pardon them if he returns to office.”

President Trump has said on numerous occasions that he thinks the Jan. 6 detainees are being subjected to mistreatment at the hands of the Justice Department under President Biden and has vowed to issue pardons.

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