Donald Trump Doubles Down on Pardoning Jan. 6 Capitol Rioters, Says Many Not Guilty

Donald Trump has said he would "absolutely" pardon those convicted over the January 6 attack while dismissing criticism of the promise.

Speaking to Newsmax, Trump doubled down on his previous remarks made during a rally in Texas, and added that many of the people who have been charged in connection to the Capitol attack were not guilty.

While speaking in Conroe on Saturday, January 29, Trump promised to pardon those convicted in connection to the January 6 attack if reelected in order to "treat those people fairly."

The day after the rally, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBS's Face the Nation that Trump's remarks were "inappropriate" and pardoning those who took part in the insurrection could inspire similar violent attacks.

When asked for his response by Newsmax's Rob Schmitt, the former president said that the "RINO" Graham was "wrong" and that he would "absolutely" offer pardons to people jailed over the January 6 attack who are being "persecuted" while in custody awaiting trials.

"These people are in jail, a horrible, disgusting dirty jail so bad that the court system which is very left is angry that people have to live like this," Trump said.

"And some of these people are not guilty, many of these people are not guilty."

According to the latest Department of Justice (DoJ) figures, more than 725 people have so far been arrested in connection to the January 6 attack at the Capitol, with approximately 165 people pleading guilty to a variety of charges relating to the riot.

At least 20 defendants have pleaded guilty to felonies, including six who have admitted to charges related to assaults on law enforcement. Eleven members of the far-right Oath Keepers group have also been charged with seditious conspiracy after allegedly plotting to violently stop the certification of the 2020 election results in favor of Joe Biden, the DoJ revealed on January 13.

During the Newsmax interview, Trump also suggested that there needs to be the same outrage about the antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters who caused disorder across the country in the summer of 2020 when discussing the riot.

"What they've done to these—and in many cases patriots, they're soldiers, they're policemen—what they've done to them compared to what they've done to the other side? You know you have to have equal justice, and this isn't equal."

"So I would absolutely be prepared [to offer pardons]," Trump added.

"And Lindsey Graham doesn't know what the hell he's talking about if he says that, because you have to have equal justice. It's very, very unfair what's happened to this group of people."

Trump has been heavily criticized for promising to pardon those convicted of taking part in the Capitol attack, including by other members of the GOP.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday he would "not be in favor" of shortening the sentence of anyone who pleads guilty to crimes related to the Capitol riot.

"The election of 2020 was decided December 14 of 2020 when the Electoral College certified the winner of the election," McConnell said. "What we saw here on January the 6th was an effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another, which has never happened before in our country."

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack, said Trump's promise to pardon his supporters who attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election results is proof that he would "do it all again."

Cheney tweeted: "Trump uses language he knows caused the Jan 6 violence; suggests he'd pardon the Jan 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy; threatens prosecutors; and admits he was attempting to overturn the election.

"He'd do it all again if given the chance."

Graham has been contacted for comment.

trump jan 6 pardons
Former President Donald Trump arrives at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Trump has again said he would “absolutely” pardon those convicted for crimes in relation to the Capitol attack. Getty Images