Weeks after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, former President Donald Trump vehemently defended his supporters who threatened to “hang” former Vice President Mike Pence.
In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl at Mar-a-Lago on March 18, Trump was asked whether he was worried about Pence’s safety during the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol. The vice president, who was presiding over the certification of the 2020 election results, had to be whisked away by the Secret Service when an angry mob stormed the Capitol building.
“No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape,” Trump said, according to audio from the 90-minute interview, which was published by Axios on Friday.
They then discussed the Trump supporters who were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence,” during the insurrection.
“Because you heard those chants — that was terrible,” Karl said.
“Well, the people were very angry,” Trump replied.
“They were saying, ‘Hang Mike Pence,’” Karl said.
“Because it’s common sense, Jon,” Trump replied. “It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you ... if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?”
Trump went on to say that the “top constitutional scholars” he had spoken to were split on his claims that the election was fraudulent, but that “almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me.”
The interview was conducted for Karl’s new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” which will be published Tuesday.
Trump and Pence are considered to be among the possible candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
The events surrounding Jan. 6 — and Trump's role in them — are the focus of a bipartisan House committee's investigation.
This week, the Jan. 6 panel formally requested records and testimony from 16 former White House officials, Trump campaign staffers and others with close ties to the former president.
The latest wave of subpoenas came as a federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected Trump’s attempt to assert executive privilege over records the committee has already requested from other witnesses related to his final days in the White House.
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