Trump’s enthusiasm for pardoning the Jan. 6 insurrectionists isn’t new, according to a Politico report.
President Trump seriously considered a blanket pardon for Jan. 6 rioters shortly after the insurrection, in the final days of his presidency, the outlet reported Wednesday.
Between the day of the deadly Capitol insurrection and President Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, Trump reportedly made three calls to one unnamed adviser to float the idea of a blanket pardon for his supporters who stormed the Capitol.
Another adviser to Trump reportedly told Politico that the former president questioned how insurrectionists might be charged criminally, and how a blanket pardon could grant them protection going forward.
“Is it everybody that had a Trump sign or everybody who walked into the Capitol” who could be pardoned? an adviser reportedly recalled Trump asking. “He said, ‘Some people think I should pardon them.’ He thought if he could do it, these people would never have to testify or be deposed,” the adviser said, according to Politico.
Trump’s enthusiasm for pardoning the insurrectionists resurfaced publicly in recent days. During a rally in Conroe, Texas last weekend, Trump bragged to his supporters that if he ran for re-election and won, he would treat insurrectionists “fairly” by pardoning them.
“Another thing we’ll do — and so many people have been asking me about it — if I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly. We will treat them fairly,” Trump told his supporters at the rally. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.”
The former president has since leaned into his remarks, telling Newsmax on Tuesday that he would “absolutely” pardon the insurrectionists “if things don’t work out fairly.”
Trump’s dangling of pardons for insurrectionists has prompted fresh denunciations from Democrats, but only scattered condemnation from Republicans.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who sits on the Jan. 6 Committee, on Wednesday accused the former president of “absolutely” tampering with witnesses in the panel’s investigation.