What Donald Trump Said in Newly Released Audio Clip

Former President Donald Trump has reiterated his claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him and described supporters who heard him speak on January 6 as a "loving crowd" in newly released audio.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker have shared audio clips of their 2-hour interview with Trump conducted as part of research for their book, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year.

The authors spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday and aired part of their interview with Trump where they asked him about the Capitol riot and his speech at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. that preceded it.

Trump described the crowd that listened to his speech as "loving."

"I think it was the largest crowd I've ever spoken before," Trump said.

"It went from that point—which is almost at the White House—to beyond the Washington monument. It was—and wide. And it was a loving crowd, too, by the way."

"There was a lot of love. I've heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd," he said.

The former president said of the event: "Personally what I wanted is what they wanted."

"They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before," he said.

Trump said he didn't want his supporters to go into the Capitol building on January 6 but he said they were "ushered in by the police" and that the Capitol police were "hugging and kissing" them.

When reached for comment by Newsweek on Thursday, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington pointed to reports of police officers opening gates and taking selfies with the rioters, including a video report from CNN. She also noted that members of the crowd at Trump's speech on January 6 were chanting: "We love you."

The former president maintained that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in his remarks to Leonnig and Rucker. He claimed dead people and "illegal immigrants" had voted, as well as "Indians that got paid to vote in different places."

He also said that state legislatures had not approved many aspects of voting in the 2020 election, including early voting and mail-in ballots in some cases, and repeated his criticism of the Supreme Court for not acting on claims of fraud in the election.

Trump also discussed former Vice President Mike Pence's role on January 6, and reiterated his disappointment with Pence, who refused to reject the results of the Electoral College.

"I didn't tell him to do anything," Trump said, but said the vice president had to "protect the constitution of the United States" when "you have more votes than you have voters."

"I don't believe he's just supposed to be a statue who gets these votes from the states and immediately hands them over," Trump said.

The former president also suggested Pence might not be his choice of running mate if he runs for another term in 2024, saying he wasn't "locked into anything."

Update 7/22/21 9.31am ET: This article was updated to include a response from former President Trump's office.

Donald Trump Leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan
Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 18, 2021 in New York City. Trump maintained the 2020 election was rigged in an interview for a new book about his final year in office. James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images