Trump Reportedly Considered Issuing Blanket Pardons for Jan. 6 Rioters Before Leaving White House
© AP Photo / Gerald HerbertPresident Donald Trump walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington.
© AP Photo / Gerald Herbert
Speaking to a crowd of supporters near Houston on Saturday, former US President Donald Trump proclaimed that he would consider pardoning defendants charged in connection with the deadly US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Per a new report, it appears this is not the first time Trump mulled such a move.
Between January 6 and January 20—the date of Biden's inauguration—Trump made three separate phone calls to discuss the idea of issuing a blanket pardon for rioters involved in the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol building, according to a new Politico report.
"Do you think I should pardon them? Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you think I have the power to do it?" recounted one of Trump's advisers, summarizing the three conversations.
Another adviser informed the outlet that Trump began to get inquisitive about how rioters may be charged criminally, as well as how much protection a blanket pardon would provide them.
"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 second adviser recounted.
However, Trump's questions were met with discontent from the White House counsel's office, which "forcefully" told Trump the limits of his presidential powers.
"There was a dangling threat that if he pushed too hard, [White House counsel Pat] Cipollone would leave," one adviser said.
Questions also arose about how he would issue a pardon with individuals not being formally charged with a crime yet.
"Is it everybody that had a Trump sign or everybody who walked into the Capitol?" Trump reportedly asked an adviser.
Politico granted both ex-Trump advisers anonymity.
Trump's previously unreported conversations are being made known just days after he told a crowd of supporters that he would consider such a move if he ran a successful presidential campaign in 2024.
"If I run and if I win we will treat those people from January 6 fairly," Trump told rally attendees in Canoe, some 40 miles from Houston, Texas. "And if it requires pardons we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly."
His comments immediately received pushback from the House Select Committee probing the investigation, as well as GOP leadership.
"I would not be in favor of shortening any of the sentences for any of the people who pleaded guilty to crimes," McConnell said earlier this week.