Trump Wants to Pardon Jan 6 Rioters if Elected

Former President Donald Trump said he would both pardon and apologize to people who participated in the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, if he were elected again to the White House. 

Trump’s pardon remarks come as Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel during the Trump administration, becomes the latest to appear at federal court to testify before a grand jury probing events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.  

Five people died in connection with the attack and more than 140 law enforcement officers were injured. More than 875 people have been charged with crimes related to January 6, according to an NPR tracker. 370 people have pleaded guilty to crimes so far.

Trump is gearing up for what looks like a likely attempt at the White House for a third time. 

Declaring that he supports the Jan. 6 rioters to such a far extent shows how far Trump is willing to go to not only secure his base but also continue to stoke political violence and disinformation when it comes to the U.S. election, experts said. 

“I mean full pardon with an apology to many,” Trump told Wendy Bell, a conservative radio host on Thursday. “I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons, full pardons.”

Trump also said he was offering financial support to some of those involved in the attack, but failed to make clear what extent of financial assistance he has or would actually provide. Trump’s financial realities are frequently called into question, 

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

In a series of televised hearings this summer, the US House panel investigating the Capitol attack laid out extensive evidence that Trump encouraged the mob to go to the Capitol on January 6 and resisted efforts to quell the violence.

The panel is set to continue its work this fall, but the decision over whether to file criminal charges will ultimately be made by the US Department of Justice.

Trump’s latest remarks come as Cipollone and his attorney Michael Purpura met with the lead prosecutor and the grand jury investigating a failed bid by former President Donald Trump’s allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election by submitting alternative slates of fake electors to the U.S. National Archives.

Former White House Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin also was expected at the federal courthouse in Washington later on Friday. He and Cipollone were subpoenaed earlier this year to appear as witnesses.

The two men are the two most high-profile witnesses to date to appear before the grand jury. Others who have appeared to testify include former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and Greg Jacob, who was Pence’s top counsel.

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