Former President Donald Trump on Saturday suggested that he may pardon defendants charged in the deadly January 6 Capitol riot, Politico reports.
“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 January 6 fairly. We will treat them fairly,” Trump said at a rally in Conroe, Texas. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.”
Trump and his allies have for months stoked allegations that about 50 pretrial detainees connected to the attack are “political prisoners.”
Hundreds of rioters are facing charges, though most are relatively minor. But a growing number of defendants are facing charges for attacking police officers and members of the Oath Keepers were indicted this month on seditious conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors estimate that there were about 1,000 police assaults during the riot.
Republicans push back:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, called the comments “inappropriate.”
“I don't want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” he told CBS News. “There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path that these people get pardoned. I think it's inappropriate. ... I don't want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future.”
Sen. Susan Collins also criticized the comment, telling ABC News that she did not think Trump “should have made that pledge to do pardons.”
Asked on CNN if he agreed with Trump’s comment, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu replied, “Of course not. Oh, my goodness, no.”
Trump threatens prosecutors:
Trump during the rally also called for protests targeting prosecutors investigating him.
"If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had ... in Washington, D.C, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt," he said.
The comment prompted Fulton County DA Fani Willis to request security assistance from the FBI.
"I am asking that you immediately conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center, and that you provide protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents," Willis wrote. "It is imperative that these resources are in place well in advance of the convening of the Special Purpose Grand Jury."
"We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021," she added.