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Donald Trump and 'RINO' Lindsey Graham Battle It Out Over Pardoning Jan. 6 Defendants

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Former President Donald Trump recently made headlines for comments made during his speech last Saturday at a Save America rally in Conroe, Texas, concerning how he would consider pardoning defendants of cases related to the January 6 Capitol riot. Trump's comments have predictably stirred up ire from the left and some former allies, specifically Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). 

"If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly. And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly," he said. "What that select committee is doing and what the people are doing that are running those prisons; it's a disgrace. That's a disgrace. We will treat them fairly, and we will take care of the people of this country," Trump continued. 

On his Sunday appearance of CBS' "Face the Nation," Graham told host Margaret Brennan that he did not agree. "No, I don't want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol. There are other groups with causes that may want to go down to the violent path that these people get pardoned," he stated.

Then, Trump addressed the comments on Tuesday during his interview on Newsmax, during which he had rather strong words for the senator.

"Well, Lindsey Graham's wrong," Trump said when Rob Schmitt asked about Graham calling Trump's remarks "inappropriate." The former president went on to say, "I mean, Lindsey's a nice guy, but he's a RINO. Lindsey's wrong."

He went on to compare and contrast the events of January 6 to Black Lives Matter protests occurring throughout 2020. 

"Look, they tried to burn down Washington. We're talking federal buildings. They were terrible. Every Democratic city was on fire, and nobody says anything about it. Antifa and BLM were causing such problems, including death. Don't forget, with the exception of one young, fine woman, nobody died on January 6, nobody died on January 6," Trump also said, speaking of Ashli Babbitt. "They like to say five people, but nobody died on January 6."

Trump referred to the officer who shot and killed Babbit as "a ruthless man that never should have used his gun to kill her" and emphasized it was "a disgrace."

"They're not treating these people the same way," Trump went on to lament about the January 6 Capitol riot and violent BLM protests, also decrying that people aren't going to jail for such violent protests throughout his final year in office.

When Trump did address pardons, he doubled down on his remarks from Saturday. He also emphasized the mistreatment that certain defendants are facing in jails, which has led to investigations and the release of some. 

"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." He continued to note that "these people are being persecuted," especially in comparison to BLM protesters who are getting the minimum sentence. Trump emphasized it was a matter of "equal justice."

"These people are in jail, in a horrible, disgusting, dirty jail so bad that the court system--which is very left--is angry that people have to live like this," Trump said. "And some of these people are not guilty. Many of these people are not guilty," Trump said. 

"What they've done to these, in many cases, patriots – they're soldiers, they're policemen – what they've done to them compared to what they've done to the other side? You know, you have to have equal justice. And this isn't equal."

As Matt reported last October, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered an investigation into the D.C. jail after jail officials did not turn over information needed to approve surgery for defendant Christopher Worrell, who had a broken hand. 

A month later, after an unannounced investigation, Judge Lamberth ordered Worrell to be released to a different jail and then home detention so that he could start chemotherapy. 

Sen. Graham doubled down on his remarks in a statement Wednesday, however, as a matter of denouncing "political violence." He began his statement by saying, "As a conservative, I firmly believe in law and order and support the police." 

In his closing, Graham did mention the right to a speedy trial, "All Americans are entitled to have a speedy trial and their day in court, but those who actively engage in violence for whatever political cause must be held accountable and not be forgiven."

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