Donald Trump wasn’t willing to pardon the participants who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on his behalf, attempting to overturn the election, during his last days in office, but now that he’s running again, he’s floated the offer.
Trump has been criticized for failing to take action to protect his fans before he left office, and he’s said more than once that if he’s re-elected, he will hand out pardons, and even an official government apology, to those convicted of criminal acts connected to the attack on Congress.
Now that he’s officially in the race, those pardons could be on the table.
After the leader of the Oath Keepers and another member of the insurrectionist group were convicted of seditious conspiracy and additional convictions on a variety of charges — ranging from conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding to the destruction of government property — were distributed amongst those two and three other Oath Keepers members, Raskin was asked how this might impact Trump’s current campaign.
Raskin, however, doesn’t believe that Trump is apt to see this as a warning and a sign to back down, nor does he weigh in on whether this conviction will carry any weight in efforts to have Trump criminally charged.
Instead, he worries that the conviction will just encourage the former president’s campaign of his promises to the convicted.
Raskin told CNN:
“I don’t know that Donald Trump will be moved to do anything, other than to return to his idea of offering pardons to people who were guilty of committing crimes during the course of events that he set into motion himself. There’s a former Oath Keepers spokesman who told our committee he worries a Trump 2024 run would see Trump try to whip up a civil war amongst his followers using lies and deceit.”
Trump has in fact dangled this promise repeatedly.
The Washington Post reported on his comments to conservative radio host Wendy Bell in September, when he said, “I will be looking very, very strongly about pardons, full pardons.”
He said it would be “the best” for his supporters because even if they were imprisoned “for two months or six months” before being pardoned, he’d still be cutting their sentence drastically.
(Even if Trump prevails in his 2024 campaign, the Capitol defendants already sentenced and imprisoned will have to wait more than two years — in addition to the time already served — for Trump to be inaugurated and have any opportunity to pardon them.)
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.