Trump: If elected, will consider pardons for Jan. 6 rioters

Capitol Riots

(The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump said he would be looking “very seriously” into full pardons for those charged in connection with storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

In an interview with conservative radio host Wendy Bell on Thursday, Trump further stated that he would consider it “very strongly and very favorably.”

The 45th president also shared that he was “financially supporting” some of the defendants who were in his office just days ago. 

“I am financially supporting people that are incredible and they were in my office actually two days ago, so they’re very much in my mind,” Trump added.

“It’s a disgrace what they’ve done to them. What they’ve done to these people is disgraceful,” he said. 

While Trump teased a potential 2024 run for the presidency, he stopped short of announcing it during the interview.

When asked by Bell if he would announce his run on the show, the former president said, “Well, the time is coming closer and I think you’re gonna be really happy. You have campaign finance laws that [don’t] allow you to … it’s crazy. It’s not smart. If you say it, everything changes and you have reporting and you have all things. But I will be doing something and I think you’re going to be happy.”

Former FBI agent Tracy Walder spoke out about the impact of Trump’s words during an appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield” on Friday night.

“What they did is criminal — doesn’t matter the politics … They need to face the charges that come with that,” Walder said.

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on how exactly he is supporting the Jan. 6, 2021 riot defendants.

Trump’s comments came on the same day that President Joe Biden delivered a prime-time speech from Philadelphia about protecting democracy, in which he warned that Americans’ rights and freedoms are “under attack,” according to a White House official.  

The former president reiterated recent comments he made at a Faith and Freedom event in Nashville, Tenn., last month where he said the defendants charged in the Capitol riot had their “lives destroyed,” claiming that most had been “charged with parading through the Capitol.”

Trump’s comments calling for pardons have also been criticized by his close allies, most prominently by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who shared that he thought the idea of offering pardons to Capitol riot defendants was “inappropriate.” The former president responded, calling the South Carolina Republican a “RINO,” or “Republican in name only.”

To date, more than 860 people across the country have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot. More than 350 have pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes. More than 115 have been incarcerated for their roles in the riot. 

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