Former President Donald Trump is dangling the prospect of pardons for supporters who participated in the deadly Jan. 6 riots if he returns to the White House.
“If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly,” Trump said Saturday night during a rally in Conroe, Texas. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”
More than 700 people have been arrested and charged with federal crimes in connection with the riot, marking the largest investigation in the Justice Department’s history. The tally includes more than 150 people charged with assaulting police officers, more than 50 charged with conspiracy, and charges of seditious conspiracy against the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, and 10 other members or associates.
7More than 100 police officers were injured, some critically, after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, following a “Stop the Steal” rally by Trump near the White House in which he claimed Biden had won election through massive voter fraud.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., rejected Trump’s comments as sending a wrong message that it’s OK to defile the Capitol. For the Jan. 6 offenders, “I hope they go to jail and get the book thrown at them, because they deserve it,” Graham told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Trump has criticized the Democrat-led House for its ongoing investigation of the riot.
While his supporters overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump ignored desperate pleas from allies to forcefully disavow the attack and has repeatedly praised those who participated in the protest.
“It was a lot of love there,” he said recently of those who attended the rally in an interview on Fox News. “Believe me, there was a lot of love and a lot of friendship and people that love our country.”
Trump, who was impeached by the House for his role in inciting the insurrection but acquitted by the Senate, has been teasing a third run for the White House in 2024.