A GOP candidate vying for a highly contested congressional district has emphasized his conviction that it is imperative for Donald Trump to secure the presidency and grant clemency to select individuals involved in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In 2022, Republican Joe Kent ran against Jaime Herrera Beutler in the Washington primary, joining a small group of only 10 Republicans.
Which individuals cast their vote to impeach Trump following the incident at the Capitol?
After successfully removing her from office, Kent was defeated in a closely contested general election a few months later. He is now seeking re-election for the same seat in a race that has the potential to impact the control of the House and reveal the political leanings of a swing district.
Five individuals lost their lives either before, during, or shortly after the attack, and four police officers at the Capitol passed away by suicide in the following months. Many police officers were also wounded by the group of Trump supporters who were incited by the Republican’s baseless allegations that the 2020 election was fraudulent and taken from him.
Nearly three years since the attack, Trump maintains a dominant lead in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, despite being charged with crimes related to his efforts to retain his position after losing the election.
Criticism from prominent members of the Republican party towards Trump’s response to the events of January 6th has disappeared. Instead, a sector within the GOP has tried to justify pardons for some individuals involved in the riot.
Without Trump’s strong support, it is unlikely that there would be any discussion of pardoning these individuals. Adam Kinzinger, a previous Republican representative who voted to impeach Trump following the Capitol incident, and was a member of the bipartisan House committee that investigated the events of January 6th, stated that the topic has now become normalized and is expected in Republican politics.
Trump is not avoiding discussing Jan. 6 as he campaigns for the presidency again. He has minimized the events and advocated for himself and his followers who were involved in the insurrection.
During a CNN town hall in May of last year, Trump expressed his willingness to forgive many of the individuals who were convicted for their involvement in the January 6th riots. He did mention, however, that there may be a few exceptions where individuals may have gotten carried away and he cannot pardon them all.
He hinted that in the event of a victory, there is a possibility of early pardons during his second term.
Trump described many of them as outstanding individuals.
Many other Republicans have expressed a similar sentiment.
Trent Leisy, a councilman from Weld County, Colorado and a supporter of President Trump, is currently running for the Republican nomination in the crowded primary race for the open seat of retiring Rep. Ken Buck in a district that typically leans towards the Republican party. Recently, he shared on social media his promise to introduce a bill in Congress that would provide financial compensation to all those involved in the events of January 6 and their families.
Leisy, a candidate with far-right views and a business selling t-shirts with the phrase “sexiest man alive” in reference to Trump, shared in an interview that they had planned on attending Trump’s speech on January 6th before the insurrection but were unable to do so.
Leisy expressed her desire for forgiveness for all peaceful supporters of the January 6th insurrection who have been unfairly singled out by the legal system.
In June of last year, ex-Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. from Milwaukee County, Wisconsin shared a link on social media to a Washington Times article regarding the handling of those involved in the Jan. 6 incident.
Clarke stated that all Republican candidates running for the GOP nomination should be questioned about their intentions to pardon all individuals if elected. If they are uncertain or indecisive, they should not be considered for nomination. Clarke expressed frustration with Republican candidates who do not fully align with the party’s values.
Clarke, who is a supporter of former President Trump, has not dismissed the possibility of running for a Senate position in Wisconsin in the current year. During an interview with CBS News, he stated that he does not believe that a president should simply declare that anyone who was arrested for the events of January 6th will be pardoned.
Clarke stated that the process should be allowed to unfold and that those who were denied proper due process should receive pardons. He acknowledged that he is unsure of the specific individuals who may be affected.
Those who are accused in the extensive investigation of the events on January 6th have the choice to either admit guilt or face a trial.
Over 1,200 individuals in the Australian state of Victoria have been accused of committing arson.
According to a CBS News analysis of court documents, individuals have been charged with committing crimes related to their alleged involvement in the attack. These charges include illegal picketing within the Capitol building, assaulting officers, and damaging government property.
Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, frequently asserts the untrue claim that the riot at the Capitol was premeditated.
He pledges to forgive all non-violent demonstrators on January 6th and frequently receives approval from Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he remains behind other contenders.
“I can assure you that on my first day in office, I will grant clemency to all nonviolent demonstrators from January 6. This is a demonstration of my commitment to upholding the same standard of law in our nation,” stated Ramaswamy at an event in Iowa.
The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who was one of Trump’s main opponents in the presidential primary, is advocating for the belief that Trump did not take sufficient action before his departure to assist those involved in the Capitol riot. DeSantis has expressed his approval for granting pardons to a majority of those charged with non-violent offenses on January 6 and has proposed that individuals can request pardons and clemency.
Previously seen as a potential successor to the political following established by the ex-president, DeSantis has faced difficulties breaking free from Trump’s influence in the 2024 campaign.
During his final day in office, DeSantis questioned whether the individuals he had instructed to go to the Capitol were provided with any assistance. He stated this during a speech in Iowa last month.
If Trump were to be re-elected as President, he would once again possess broad authority.
to grant forgiveness for offenses committed at the national level
The bipartisan Jan. 6 House select committee’s final report contained testimony stating that prior to leaving office, Trump discussed the possibility of granting a “blanket pardon” to those involved in the events of Jan. 6.
According to Bill Kristol, a director of the anti-Trump conservative organization Defending Democracy Together, the actions of many Republicans in response to the events of January 6th demonstrate the influence of Trump on the Republican Party.
“According to Kristol, Trump is the main figure involved in the events of Jan. 6 and has also been a vocal defender of those events afterwards. If one supports Trump as a potential presidential nominee, there may be a tendency to downplay or even glorify the events of Jan. 6.”
The federal courthouse near the location of the attack in the nation’s capital is currently prioritizing Jan. 6 cases, highlighting the impact it had on democratic values in the United States.
Following his sentencing
Sentenced to a decade of imprisonment last month.
During the court proceedings in September, Dominic Pezzola, a prominent member of the far-right group Proud Boys and a significant figure in the riot, shouted “Trump won!” in the courtroom.
After nearly three years since his involvement in the Capitol attack, a farmer named Ezekiel Kurt Stecher has been given a 60-day prison sentence this week for pleading guilty to a charge of civil disorder.
According to a legal filing, Stecher was responsible for instigating a particularly intense clash between rioters and law enforcement on January 6, specifically in the Lower West Terrace Tunnel.
According to the prosecution, he participated in the organized effort by the group to forcefully break through the police line in the tunnel. One significant moment in Stecher’s case was when he was recorded saying “if we can’t push them, drag ’em” on January 6th.
Stecher expressed remorse to the court and his spouse prior to his sentencing, expressing shock at the events he witnessed during the attack on the Capitol.
There was much that remained unspoken.
Stecher did not draw attention to Trump and did not demonstrate significant self-reflection about his reasons for being in Washington on that troublesome day when democracy was tested by false claims about a legitimate presidential election.
Stecher stated, “That is not my true identity,” and went on to explain to the court, “I am unsure of my purpose for being there.”
This report was contributed to by Robert Legare, Aaron Navarro, Olivia Rinaldi, Allison Novelo, and Shawna Mizelle.