Former President Donald Trump on Saturday night urged his followers to stage massive protests in several cities if prosecutors oppose him. He also said he would offer pardons to those accused of the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, which he instigated in a last-ditch attempt to stay in power.
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope that in this country we will have the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington DC, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” he told a rally in Conroe, Texas, as he read from a teleprompter mounted on either side of his pulpit.
Minutes later, he stated that his followers, who stormed the Capitol building attacking the police as they entered, were not being treated “fairly” and that if he ran again for the White House and won: “If it requires a pardon, we will give forgives them.”
The 80-minute speech, though riddled with Trump’s familiar lie that his November 2020 re-election was “stolen” was notable for its numerous references to various investigations into him.
“They are trying to put me in jail,” he said. “These prosecutors are vicious, terrible people. They are racists and they are very sick. They are mentally ill. They are persecuting me without any protection of my rights from the Supreme Court or most other courts.”
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation into his family business, and the Manhattan District Attorney is conducting a criminal investigation.
Meanwhile, the Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney convened a special grand jury to focus on Trump’s attempt to force public officials to “find” enough votes to reverse his 2020 loss of that state to Democrat Joe Biden.
And the Jan. 6 House Select Committee is subpoenaing more and more of Trump’s former and current aides to determine his exact role in that day’s events, while the Justice Department last week confirmed it was investigating at least one element of the scheme. Trump to Stay in Power: Representing Trump’s Fake “Electors” in Biden-Winned States.
The Trump White House and campaign advisers at the time openly pushed for fake lists to give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to cite competing lists as a reason to declare Trump the winner and grant him a second term.
Pence, however, refused to go along with the plan and instead actively sabotaged the fake voter scheme by devising a new language to ensure that fake rolls were excluded.
A year ago, Trump became the first US president to refuse to peacefully hand over power to his successor. He spent weeks criticizing the legality of the November 2020 contest, which he lost. Hours after the polls closed and it looked like Biden would emerge victorious, Trump claimed he had indeed won by a “landslide” and that his victory had been “stolen” from him. This lie has continued with a series of failed lawsuits challenging the results in several states.
After the Electoral College voted on Dec. 14, making Biden’s victory official, Trump instead resorted to a last-ditch scheme to force his vice president to hand over the election to Trump during the formal congressional confirmation of the Jan. 6 election results.
Trump asked his followers to come to Washington that day and told the thousands who came that they should march to the Capitol to intimidate Pence into doing what Trump wants. “When you catch someone cheating, you are allowed to operate under very different rules,” Trump said.
A crowd of supporters stormed the building and chanted “Hang Mike Pence” when the vice president failed to follow Trump’s order. Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol police officer, and four more officers committed suicide in the weeks and months that followed.
Although the House of Representatives impeached Trump for inciting the attack, all but seven Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, chose not to convict him, thereby allowing Trump to continue his political career despite being the subject of several investigations.