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Trump says he'll free Jan. 6 defendants as one of "first acts" if he's elected again

Lawmakers who condemned Jan. 6 endorse Trump
Trump racks up endorsements from lawmakers who condemned Jan. 6 attack 02:50

Former President Donald Trump said one of his first acts as president if he's elected again will be to "free the January 6 Hostages," reusing a phrase he has used before on the campaign trail to refer to the more than 1,300 individuals charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, 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 in a post on his social media platform Truth Social Monday night. 

It is the first time that Trump has explicitly mentioned pardoning the Jan. 6 defendants as being one of a future Trump administration's "first acts." 

It's unclear how Trump plans to address how to "free" those convicted of crimes related to Jan. 6, or how many of the 1,300 people charged that he would actually pardon if he could take that action. The charges have ranged from low-level misdemeanors to felonies, with several alleged planners having been convicted of seditious conspiracy, which carries up to a 20-year sentence. 

The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment. 

Capitol Riot Seattle Police
 In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, violent protesters, loyal to then-President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.  John Minchillo / AP

The post from Trump came after a Republican-led House committee released a report seeking to undermine the findings from the House Select Committee that had been investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. That committee shut down in 2023 after Republicans took control of the House. 

The former president has embraced the politics around those charged for their actions at the Capitol riot throughout his campaign. 

Before he has taken the stage at recent rallies, the Trump campaign has played the song "Justice for All," featuring him reading the Pledge of Allegiance remixed with a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner sung by defendants serving time for alleged crimes related to Jan. 6. 

Trump has also compared his legal issues with those of the Jan. 6 defendants in recent speeches, referring to himself as a "proud political dissident" and a "public enemy of a rogue regime."

"They're policemen, they're firemen, they're accountants, they're lawyers in some cases. They're put in jail for extended periods of time for very long periods of time. They're hostages," Trump said of the defendants to a crowd in Greensboro, North Carolina, earlier this month.

According to a CBS News tally, more than 1,300 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted on Jan. 6, including 80 Capitol Police officers and 60 Metropolitan Police officers. At least 124 defendants have been charged with seriously injuring those officers.

While judges who have sentenced Jan. 6 defendants have pointed to the prosecutions as deterrents to future organized violence, those who were arrested and convicted for their roles that day have continued to be embraced by Trump's supporters, including at last month's Take Our Border Back rally along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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