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White House touts Justice Department independence after Biden calls for Jan. 6 subpoena prosecutions

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The White House is attempting to walk back President Joe Biden’s assertion that any person who defies a subpoena from the Jan. 6 congressional committee should face federal prosecution.

“He believes it’s an independent decision that should be made by the Department of Justice, and they’ll make that decision,” press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday in response to questions about the president’s comments Friday.

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Biden has pledged to keep the Justice Department free of White House influence, telling voters last year that “the Justice Department in my administration will be totally independent of me.”

But asked by reporters whether he believed the DOJ should prosecute any person who defies a subpoena from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots, Biden weighed in.

“I do, yes,” Biden said Friday.

Biden also backed the House Jan. 6 select committee’s push to enforce its congressional subpoenas for aides and advisers sought by the investigators.

“I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally,” Biden said.

In response, the DOJ said the White House would play no role in influencing its decisions.

“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement to the Washington Examiner on Friday.

Psaki defended Biden’s pledge to keep his DOJ independent and not weigh in on prosecutorial decisions, telling reporters, “He has not and he will not.”

“Criminal prosecutions are the sole purview of the Department of Justice. That is the president’s position; that is what he nominated the attorney general to operate under,” Psaki said. “That is exactly what the attorney general is doing.”

She also charged that Trump had used his pulpit to stoke “an insurrection” on Jan. 6.

“Since you give me the opportunity here, president, former President Trump used his office to incite an insurrection, put political pressure on senior DOJ officials, to propagate lies about the election to the point where they threatened to resign en masse. I think there’s hardly a comparison there."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Former President Donald Trump has advised several close aides not to comply with the select committee’s investigation.

The White House recently declined to assert executive privilege over certain documents after Trump sought to withhold them from Congress.

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Tags: News, Biden Administration, White House, Joe Biden, DOJ, Justice Department, January 6, January 6 Commission

Original Author: Katherine Doyle

Original Location: White House touts Justice Department independence after Biden calls for Jan. 6 subpoena prosecutions

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