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Donald Trump says he would pardon ‘many’ Capitol rioters during CNN town hall

Donald Trump said he would be “inclined to pardon many” of his supporters convicted for their involvement in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol if he were re-elected next year, during a contentious CNN town hall.

The former US president declined to express regret for the deadly attack when supporters sought to prevent Congress for ratifying the election result.

“I am inclined to pardon many of them. I can’t say for every single one because a couple of them probably they got out of control,” he said. More than 1,000 people have been charged and more than 600 have been convicted so far.

Describing that day he said: “I’ve never spoken to a crowd as large as that, and that was because they thought the election was rigged. They were there with love in their heart. That was unbelievable, and it was a beautiful day.”

He also rejected a suggestion that he apologise to his former vice president, Mike Pence, who was targeted by the mob.

“I don’t feel he was in any danger,” he said. Mr Trump continued that Mr Pence was the one who “did something wrong.”

He also again refused to acknowledge that he lost the 2020 election. When asked by CNN host Kaitlan Collins whether he would accept he lost to Joe Biden, Mr Trump reasserted false claims that the election was rigged against him.

“It was a horrible election,” he said, prompting applause from some in attendance at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

He also repeatedly refused to say whether he would sign a federal abortion ban if it landed on his desk, saying he would “negotiate” so “people are happy.”

When asked about Tuesday’s ruling that he was found liable of sexual abuse and defamation, the former president insisted he did not know magazine editor E Jean Carroll and attacked her in deeply personal terms.

Trump’s appearance on CNN angered many.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “CNN should be ashamed of themselves. They have lost total control of this “town hall” to again be manipulated into platforming election disinformation, defenses of Jan 6th, and a public attack on a sexual abuse victim. The audience is cheering him on and laughing at the host.”

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