Trump Expresses Support for Rioters on Capitol Hill as He Continues to Harbor Extremist Groups

Washington (CNN) — Former President Donald Trump expressed his support for the agitators behind the deadly attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 during a video played at a fundraiser Thursday organized by the Patriot Freedom Project, a group that supports the families of those accused of the riots.

“People have been treated unconstitutionally, in my opinion, and very, very unfairly. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he said. Trump also lamented the “weaponization of the Justice Department” and said the country “is going communist.”

The video is one of the few public appearances Trump has made since launching his third presidential bid last month. He also indicates that he will continue to embrace the extremist fringe groups that the Republicans have tried to distance themselves from. Last month, the former president drew criticism for dining at his Mar-a-Lago residence with well-known white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, who has recently made a series of anti-Semitic remarks. His engagement with violent rioters is becoming a central campaign issue as he prepares for 2024, portraying the Justice Department as a political arm of the Biden administration amid several federal investigations into the former president.

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Vandalia, Ohio, on November 7, 2022. (Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In a September interview, Trump said he was “financially supporting” some of the Jan. 6 defendants and promised he would issue pardons and a government apology to those indicted if re-elected. Trump has met with the founder of the Patriot Freedom Project, Cynthia Hughes, and during a rally for the former president in Pennsylvania, she spoke to the crowd as part of the pre-show.

The video showing Trump’s solidarity with the group comes days after Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and his associate Kelly Meggs were convicted of seditious conspiracy for their role in conspiring to forcibly impede the peaceful transition. of Trump’s presidential power to Joe Biden and in the conspiracy to attack the United States Capitol.

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