Trump refuses to say how he saw the January 6 attack unfold

NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump repeatedly refused in an interview broadcast Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot unfold on television, saying he “would tell people later, at the appropriate time.”

Trump, the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, refused to say on NBC’s “Meet the Press” how he spent Jan. 6, 2021, once the insurrection began and he made phone calls as his supporters stormed the headquarters of American Democracy.

“I’m not going to tell you. I’ll tell people later, at the appropriate time,” Trump told moderator Kristen Welker after she asked him if he spent that afternoon watching the attack on TV in a dining room from the White House.

Trump’s former aides said he sequestered himself in the room next to the Oval Office to watch, sometimes even rewinding and rewatching parts.

In the interview, recorded Thursday at Trump’s New Jersey golf club, Trump refused to say who he called as the violence unfolded. “Why should I tell you this?” he said.

Trump said in response to Welker’s pressure on his public silence during the violence that he had made “beautiful statements” on the day of the attack.

Trump supporters, fueled by his lies about the 2020 presidential election, stormed the building as Congress prepares to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. Trump faces federal criminal charges for his efforts to overturn his defeat in this election, but he does not face charges related to the insurrection.

Trump said he might consider pardoning some of the rioters accused of their actions that day.

More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riots and more than 600 have pleaded guilty or been convicted.

“I will look at them, and I certainly will if I think it is appropriate” to grant them a pardon, the former president said.

Trump also said he would consider pardoning former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for masterminding a failed plot to keep Trump in power. Trump said Tarrio was treated “horribly,” according to a full NBC transcript of the interview, which included portions that were not aired.

Trump faces 91 criminal charges in four cases in federal and state courts related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, mishandling of classified documents and charges related to allegations of hush money paid for conceal extramarital affairs. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Trump was asked if he feared going to prison.

“No, I don’t really know. I do not even think about it. I’m built a little differently, I guess,” he said.

As he pushed to overturn the election, Trump relied on a group of outside allies who undertook what federal prosecutors called a “criminal scheme” to fraudulently overturn the 2020 results instead of rely on the advice of White House lawyers who urged him to overturn the election. accept his loss to Biden.

During the interview, Trump was asked why he didn’t listen to these lawyers.

“I didn’t respect them,” Trump said.

“In many cases, I did not respect them. But I respected others. I respected many others who said the election was rigged.

Trump said he was listening to both his instincts and “different people” to guide his actions based on the results of the election.

The NBC appearance was Trump’s first interview on the network since he left office and marked Welker’s first show as host.

Trump also said he was happy to hear Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent remarks praising Trump for suggesting that if re-elected to the White House, he would negotiate an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Putin said Tuesday that Trump’s statements were “good” and brought “happiness.”

“Well, I like that he said that. Because that means what I’m saying is true,” Trump said on NBC.

Trump has said he has a good relationship with Putin, something he has said several times before, and denied that any deal he seeks in Ukraine would be a victory for Russia and allow it to keep the territory which it seized.

“This is something that could have been negotiated,” Trump said. He went on to say: “They could have made a deal where there would currently be less territory than Russia has already conquered, to be honest. »

Trump has repeatedly refused to say whether he would support a federal ban on abortion, and he has criticized the ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a leading Trump’s rivals in the presidential primary.

“I think what he did was a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” Trump said.

Trump said he did not care whether abortion would ultimately be banned at the federal level or regulated by laws in each state. The U.S. Supreme Court, with the support of three Trump-appointed justices, struck down the federal right to abortion last year.

“From a pure standpoint, from a legal standpoint, I think it’s probably best” for it to be handled at the state level, Trump said.

“But I can live with that anyway.” It’s much more important, the number of weeks is much more important.


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