OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
ABC News has new audio of former President Donald Trump saying that he wanted to go to the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and that he “would’ve been very well received,” but the U.S. Secret Service would not let him.
On March 18, 2021, just over two months after the Capitol riot, Trump talked to Jonathan Karl, the chief Washington correspondent for ABC News. Trump said, “If you look at the real size of that crowd, it was never reported correctly. There were—it’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever spoken in front of, by far. By far.”
Trump explicitly stated that he wanted to be taken to the Capitol to “stop the problem,” which appears to suggest that he wanted to speak out against rioting and violence.
After Karl said, “You told them you were going to go up to the Capitol, ” Trump replied:
I was going to and then Secret Service said you can’t, and then by the time— I would have, and then when I get back, I saw— I wanted to go back. I was thinking about going back during the problem to stop the problem, doing it myself. Secret Service didn’t like that idea too much.
And I could have done that, and you know what? I would have been very well received. Don’t forget, the people that went to Washington that day, in my opinion, they went because they thought the election was rigged. That’s why they went.
Trump is being charged with four crimes in Washington, D.C., for trying to change the results of the 2020 election. The federal government has filed charges against him.
The trial is set to start on March 4, which is the day before Super Tuesday. Trump has also been indicted in three other jurisdictions.
A former lawyer for Trump gave back better than he got from CNN host Kaitlin Collins during an appearance on her show on Thursday after she tried to pin him down over the former president referring to special counsel Jack Smith as “deranged.”
“I think part of it would be people say Trump is a challenging client to have. I mean, he’s had a lot of attorneys who have come to work for him and then left the case. There’s a bit of chaos with the New York team right now, as well,” Collins said during the segment, per Mediaite.
“When you look at this, and you look at what he’s been saying in the Special Counsel’s investigation. You used to work at the Justice Department. You know, Jack Smith, who is the Special Counsel. When Trump calls him ‘Deranged’ and a ‘Psychopath,’ do you think those are terms that you would use to describe Jack Smith?” Collins pressed.
“Look, what I would do is focus, again, as a lawyer, as somebody who’s been a prosecutor, altogether 27 years, before I went private, I’d focus on the conduct. I mean, that to me…It’s a different situation for a person running for president being indicted in these ‘unprecedented, and creative,’ and I put quotes around that, types of indictments,” former attorney Jim Trusty responded.
“But the bottom line is, I’ve seen things from the federal prosecutors, in this case, including extorting a fellow lawyer, that are obstructionists, that are wrong, that are over-aggressive. And that’s what I —” he added before Collins cut him off.
“But would you call Jack Smith ‘deranged?’” she pressed.
“And that’s what I called out. And that’s what I continue to call out,” Trusty continued.
“I mean, you know him,” she went on.
“Look, Kaitlan, that’s a fun game to play,” Trusty said.
“It’s not a game,” she shot back.
“I understand why you’re asking it,” Trusty noted, cutting her short. “I don’t think America is waiting with bated breath to hear whether Jim will call Jack ‘deranged.’ It doesn’t matter. It’s not part of my interest as an attorney. It’s not really part of the public’s interest. It’s just kind of fun, sensational stuff. The bottom line is any client —”
“It’s not fun,” she interjected.
“…[A]ny client would have a right to be frustrated with the behavior that he has been facing on behalf of the department, Alvin Bragg, Letitia James, and the wonderful Georgia case as well,” Trusty continued.
“So, look, I don’t have to sign off, or sign on, on anything that the president says. But I can tell you that the grounds for frustration, the concerns about a two-tiered system, are legitimate ones,” he added.
On Thursday, Trump appeared to suggest that his administration could exact some retribution against political opponents who have targeted him with indictments should he win the presidency next year.
“If they do this, and they’ve already done it, but if they follow through on this, yeah, it could certainly happen in reverse. It could certainly happen in reverse,” Trump said in an interview with Univision that aired Thursday, according to the Washington Times. “What they’ve done is they’ve released the genie out of the box. You understand that, they’ve done something that nobody thought would happen.”
The 45th president also called the indictments against him, which were brought by the Biden administration, “pathetic,” adding he was charged to help President Biden win reelection. In addition, he said Biden has “weaponized” both the Justice Department and the FBI.
“They’ve done indictments in order to win an election. They call it weaponization, and the people aren’t going to stand for it,” Trump told the Spanish-language network. “If I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them.’ Mostly what that would be, you know, they would be out of business. They’d be out, they’d be out of the election.”