The former chairman of the Republican National Committee blasted the Department of Justice on Wednesday for the slow pace the investigation into Donald Trump supporters who sought to overturn the 2020 election.
Michael Steele, who also served as the lieutenant governor of Maryland, joined the panel on MSNBC's "The Beat" alongside host Ari Melber and legal analyst Elie Mystal, justice correspondent at The Nation.
The host noted to a new report on the investigation by NBC News headlined, "FBI has names of hundreds more Jan. 6 rioters. DOJ needs more lawyers to prosecute them."
"All of these people should have been arrested on Jan. 6th," Mystal said. "There's no reason for Chris Wray, the director of the FBI, to let these people walk out of the capitol. They should have been walked out into a paddy wagon, do not pass go, do not collect $200 — and that should have happened 15 months ago."
Steele said "this sucks."
"This just sucks, all around. We watched this, we watched people create, engage in criminal activity. And those in certain communities around this country know that when stuff goes down, you don't get to go home, right? So all of a sudden, you got people getting back on their buses that were chartered for them by a political party to get them here to storm the Capitol, they get to go home," Steele said.
"And here we are, 15 months later, and our Justice Department is saying, 'Well, we're just finding out we don't have enough people to prosecute, we're finding more people who committed wrongdoing.' If you had your television on, on Jan. 6th, you knew what those numbers were, you knew what this would be like," he explained. "I don't think there has been a very serious ramping up here, to understand exactly what this moment meant for the country, because it's all been clouded by the politics."
Steele urged action by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
"Call these people up and get them in front of a line-up and do what the criminal justice system requires you to do. You won't think about it with a riot in Watts or Southeast D.C. nobody will say, 'Y'all go home, we'll call you back later.' That's not how it works and we watched that," he explained. "The part that sucks for so many Americans is how frustrating it is to hear people pretend and just act like we're not watching them do that. So, yeah. the vinegar is, January 6th [Committee] will die this November, on the first Tuesday in November, when the country decides to give power back to the party that caused the damn insurrection. And what do you think they're going to do with it?"
Michael Steele www.youtube.com