“Another thing we’ll do — and so many people have been asking me about it — if I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly. We will treat them fairly,” Trump said at a rally in Texas last Saturday. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.”
Trump addressed the possibility of pardons again in an interview with Newsmax on Tuesday, saying: “These people are being treated horribly. I would absolutely — because some of them are being treated very unfairly — yeah, I would absolutely give them a pardon, if things don’t work out fairly.”
Trump also rebuked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of his closest congressional allies, for calling his comments about potential pardons “inappropriate” in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. Graham went on to say he hoped that perpetrators of the insurrection “go to jail and get the book thrown at them, because they deserve it.”
“Well, Lindsey Graham’s wrong. I mean, Lindsey’s a nice guy, but he’s a RINO,” Trump said on Tuesday in response to Graham’s remarks, using the pejorative acronym for “Republican In Name Only.”
“I would absolutely be prepared, and Lindsey Graham doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about if he says that, because you have to have equal justice,” Trump added. “It’s very, very unfair what’s happened to this group of people.”
Trump has previously faced allegations of witness tampering, including for overtures he made to former national security adviser Mike Flynn and Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort during then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
And although Aguilar’s accusation alone does not carry any legal significance, it does underscore concern about whether Trump’s remarks could cause some of the defendants facing the most significant insurrection-related charges to hold out for the possibility of another Trump term. Some of those defendants were furious with Trump for refusing to pardon them in the final days of his presidency.
It is also unclear whether Trump’s remarks might embolden holdouts from the Jan. 6 select committee’s separate investigation, contributing to their reluctance to serve as witnesses in the House probe.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.