WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that no bank is "too big to indict" and that the Justice Department has more cases coming involving "significant financial institutions" as it continues to investigate Wall Street misconduct.
The Justice Department has been criticized for not filing more cases against Wall Street firms and executives for activities leading up to the subprime housing market crash and the financial crisis.
Holder has taken heat for telling a Senate hearing last year that some financial institutions were "so large that it becomes difficult to prosecute them" because criminal charges could hurt the United States and even world economies.
Since then Holder has tried to emphasize that the Justice Department is not intimidated by the size of a financial institution and would bring any charges it thought it could prove.
"There are no individuals who are in such high-level positions that they cannot be indicted, criminally investigated," Holder said in an interview with Ari Melber, co-host of MSNBC's The Cycle. "And we have brought charges against thousands of people" in the nearly five years he has been in office.
Some of those cases have involved large financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., he said.
The Justice Department is aggressive and looking for cases it could bring to trial rather than settle, he said. But prosecutors will file charges only in cases they think they can prove.
"To the extent that we have the ability to bring cases against individuals or institutions, criminal charges, we will bring them," Holder said.
"But we have certain responsibilities to only bring cases that we think we have an ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt."