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In a 45-minute interview at Mar-a-Lago with Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey, Trump discussed the riot and its build-up. The protests, during which one participant was killed, began after a speech from Trump encouraged thousands of protesters to march to the Capitol – demanding the Senate refuse to certify the election victory of then-President-elect Joe Biden. Trump said the crowd he addressed on the Ellipse was the largest he’d ever spoken to.
“Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,” Trump told the Washington Post.
“The crowd was far bigger than I even thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They don’t want to show pictures, the fake news doesn’t want to show pictures,” Trump continued. “But this was a tremendous crowd.”
Trump blamed the sustained occupation of the Capitol building on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, who he said he believed were “taking care of it.”
“I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why isn’t she doing something about it? Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it? And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge. I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it. And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it.”
At least 14 officers were wounded during the demonstrations, according to authorities. Two officers were hospitalized, including one who sustained serious injuries after he was pulled 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 and killed during the storming of the Capitol by a bullet fired by Capitol Police officer Lt. Michael Byrd. The documents from the D.C. Metropolitan Police department show that witnesses did not see Babbitt holding a weapon prior to her being shot, and reveal conflicting accounts of whether Byrd verbally warned Babbitt before shooting her.
Two other protesters died of heart attacks, and one other died of “acute amphetamine intoxication,” according to medical examiners. USCP Officer Brian Sicknick died days later of “natural causes” after being sprayed with a 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 commemoration of officers who died shortly after the riot at the Capitol last year.
During his speech in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall marking the one-year anniversary of the riot, Biden said that 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 U.S. Capitol Police officers with his car and emerged wielding a knife.
Officers Howard Liebengood, Jeffrey Smith, Gunther Hashida and Kyle DeFreytag later died by suicide.
Trump communicated with at least some lawmakers during the riot. He spoke, for example, with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who asked him to call off the mob, according to Republican Rep. Jaime Lynn Herrera Beutler of Washington state, who said McCarthy 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 Jan. 6 on Tuesday, days after her husband, former Trump adviser Jared Kushner, testified. Kushner and Trump are the highest-ranking 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.