U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland wants to see “speedy” federal trials in cases brought against former President Donald Trump, remarks that come as Trump edges past President Joe Biden in most national polling.
Garland made his remarks during a CNN interview taped Thursday.
He noted that he agreed with special counsel Jack Smith that the “public interest requires a speedy trial in the election interference case.”
“The matter is now in the hands of the trial judge to determine when a trial will take place,” Garland said.
“The cases were brought last year,” he said. “The prosecutor has urged speedy trials, with which I agree. And it’s now in the hands of the judicial system, not in our hands. Special prosecutors followed the facts and the law. They brought cases when they thought they were ready.”
Garland was then asked about the perception among a huge swath of Americans that they believe the charges against Trump are politically motivated.
“Of course, it concerns me,” he said. “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.”
Trump has repeatedly alleged that the prosecutions are not just politically motivated but also attempts to interfere with the 2024 election as Biden’s polling sags.
Earlier this month, lawyers for Trump filed a motion to hold Smith in contempt of court after the federal judge overseeing his Jan. 6. ‘election interference’ case put it on hold pending appeals over the question of whether the 45th president is covered under immunity.
The filing raps Smith for “repeatedly violating” U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s order staying the case until the appeals process works its way out. The case was scheduled to go to trial on March 4.
“The Stay Order is clear, straightforward, and unambiguous,” Trump attorney John Lauro wrote in the filing Thursday. “All substantive proceedings in this Court are halted. Despite this clarity, the prosecutors began violating the Stay almost immediately.”
On Thursday, Chutkan ruled in favor of Trump’s legal request, but did not hold Smith in contempt, claiming her order was ambiguous.