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Exclusive: Trump defends threats to “hang” Vice President Pence



Exclusive: Trump defends threats to "hang" Vice President Pence

In a newly recorded audio clip, former President Trump appears to defend the threats he made against Vice President Mike Pence during the January 6 mutiny.

During a taped interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for Karl’s new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Donald Trump can be heard saying, “Well, the people were extremely upset.”

With pro-Trump demonstrators swarming Congress, former President Obama stated his vice president was “fully protected” during his campaign to pressure Pence into stopping Congress’ certification of the 2020 Electoral College ballots. “Hang Mike Pence” was heard being shouted by rioters at the time, since he had been in charge of counting votes in Congress that day.

As Axios has reported, Axios obtained a taped interview between Jonathan Karl and Axios with former President Trump in which Trump defended supporters who threatened to “hang” Mike Pence.

Why it matters: Well, it is unprecedented for a former president to openly say it was OK to threaten the life of his vice president.

  • Oh, the two men are on track to run against each other for the GOP nomination in 2024.

Zoom out: This is a slice of a 90-minute interview — conducted at Mar-a-Lago on March 18 — for Karl’s book, “Betrayal,” out on Tuesday.

  • More news-breaking audio from the interview will air Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Go deeper: We will let the Q&A tell the story.

Jonathan Karl: “Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?”

  • Trump: “No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think — “

Karl: “Because you heard those chants — that was terrible. I mean — “

  • Trump: “He could have — well, the people were very angry.”

Karl: “They were saying ‘hang Mike Pence.'”

  • Trump: “Because it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that? And I’m telling you: 50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to — almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he’s passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent? Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election. I didn’t talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve — five states. The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close.”
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