Trump vows to 'free' Jan. 6 defendants as one of his first acts if elected

Former President Donald Trump said Monday that one of his first acts as president if he wins in November would be to “free” those charged and convicted of crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“My first acts as your next President will be to Close the Border, DRILL, BABY, DRILL, and Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social account.

It appeared to be the first time that he has definitively referred to releasing the Jan. 6 defendants as a Day One priority.

A Trump campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond Monday night to a request to provide further details on the post.

Trump has repeatedly called on President Joe Biden to “release” the Jan. 6 defendants and has suggested he would be likely pardon a large number of them if he is elected in November. He also regularly characterizes the defendants as “hostages,” a comparison the White House has called “grotesque.”

Nearly 500 people have been sentenced to incarceration over the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, and prosecutors have secured more than 950 convictions, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Washington, D.C. More than 1,350 people have been charged in connection with the attack.

Last year, Trump promised that he would pardon a “large portion” of Jan. 6 defendants, adding that he would do it “very early on.” A president has the power to pardon and commute federal sentences upon taking office.

Trump posted the vow the same day that a Republican-led House committee investigating the Jan. 6 committee released a report alleging that four Trump White House employees did not corroborate a key element of former aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the Jan. 6 committee in 2022.

Trump was indicted in August over allegations related to his actions on Jan. 6. The charges included conspiring to defraud the country and obstructing an official proceeding. He has pleaded not guilty.

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