The acting head of the Justice Department issued his first on-camera statement early Wednesday since the riot at the Capitol last week that left five people dead, lawmakers terrorized and congressional offices ransacked.
In a three-and-a-half minute video posted on YouTube, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen warned anyone seeking to disrupt the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden that authorities will take swift action in response.
“I want to send a clear message to anyone contemplating violence, threats of violence or other criminal conduct: We will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20 that our Constitution calls for,” Rosen said. “We will have no tolerance for any attempts to forcefully occupy government buildings. There will be no excuse for violence, vandalism or any other form of lawlessness.”
Rosen’s late-night emergence online came after protracted criticism from lawmakers and former officials about a lack of public reassurance from top federal law enforcement officials in the wake of the shocking assault on the Capitol last Wednesday.
The acting U.S. Attorney in Washington, Michael Sherwin, and the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, held an on-camera briefing for reporters for the first time Tuesday. They and/or their deputies held two telephone briefings with journalists after the Capitol riot last week, but broadcast of their remarks was not permitted.
Rosen’s statement posted early Wednesday on YouTube was pre-recorded. No questions were taken. The video was released just as President Donald Trump was suspended from the same platform for a week over what the Google-owned site said was a violation of its rules.
Rosen — who became DOJ’s No. 2 official in 2019 — took over leadership of the Justice Department just before Christmas, following the resignation of Attorney General William Barr.
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