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Former President Donald Trump said in an interview Wednesday that he wanted to join the march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but the Secret Service wouldn’t allow him due to security concerns.
In 45 minutes maintenance at Mar-a-Lago with Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey, Trump discussed the riot and its buildup. The protests, in which one participant was killed, began after a speech by Trump encouraged thousands of protesters to march to the Capitol – demanding that the Senate refuse to certify the then president-elect’s election victory , Joe Biden. Trump said the crowd he addressed on the Ellipse was the largest he had ever spoken to.
“Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have been there in a minute,” Trump told The Washington Post.
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“The crowd was way bigger than I thought. I believe it was the biggest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They don’t don’t want to show pictures, fake news don’t want to show pictures,” Trump continued. “But it was a huge crowd.”
Trump blamed the prolonged occupation of the Capitol building on DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, who he said were “handling it.”
“I thought it was too bad, and I kept asking why she wasn’t doing anything about it? Why wasn’t Nancy Pelosi doing anything? And so is the mayor of DC. The mayor of DC and Nancy Pelosi are in charge. I hated to see it. I hated to see it. And I said, ‘We have to deal with it,’ and I assumed they were dealing with it.
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At least 14 officers were injured during the protests, authorities said. Two officers were hospitalized, including one who was seriously injured after being dragged into a crowd and assaulted, police said.
One person was killed in the immediate violence – protester Ashley Babbitt.
Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was shot during the storming of the Capitol by a bullet fired by the Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd. DC Metropolitan Police Department documents show witnesses did not see Babbitt holding a gun before she was shot, and reveal conflicting accounts as to whether Byrd verbally warned Babbitt before shooting him.
Two other protesters died of a heart attack and another died of “acute amphetamine intoxication”, according to medical examiners. USCP officer Brian Sicknick died days later of “natural causes” after being sprayed with chemical spray.
Biden and several other politicians grouped in the Capitol Police officer who was killed by a Nation of Islam follower in April 2021 with their memorial to officers who died shortly after the Capitol riot last year.
During his speech in the Hall of Statues at the Capitol marking the one-year anniversary of the riot, Biden said Capitol Police officer William Evans died “in the wake of Jan. 6,” even though he was killed nearly three months later. Evans was killed on April 2, 2021, when Noah Green rammed two United States Capitol Police officers with his car and emerged brandishing a knife.
Officers Howard Liebengood, Jeffrey Smith, Gunther Hashida and Kyle DeFreytag later deceased by suicide.
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Trump communicated with at least some lawmakers during the riot. He spoke, for example, with Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, who asked him to call off the crowd, according to Republican Rep. Jaime Lynn Herrera Beutler of Washington state, who said that McCarthy had told her about the call.
She said in a statement, “That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.'”
Former first daughter and senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump testified before the House Select Committee on January 6 on Tuesday, days after her husband, former Trump adviser Jared Kushner, testified. Kushner and Trump are the most senior members of the Trump administration to agree to testify before the committee.
Fox News’ Jon Brown, Anders Hagstrom, Chad Pergram and Howard Kurtz contributed to this report.