In a two-hour speech at the “Faith and Freedom” conference on Friday, Trump talked at length about pressuring Mike Pence to reject electoral votes cast for Joe Biden on Jan. 6, 2021.
“I said to Mike, ‘If you do this, you can be Thomas Jefferson,’” Trump told the crowd. “And then after it all went down, I looked at him one day and I said, ‘Mike, I hate to say this, but you’re no Thomas Jefferson.’”
It was Trump’s first speech since a series of riveting hearings by the House select committee investigating last year’s insurrection.
“From a prosecutor’s standpoint, let him keep talking,” Conway told host Katie Phang on MSNBC. “He basically is still admitting that he put pressure on [former Vice President] Mike Pence to do something that was completely illegal.”
“Somebody should tell him that he has the right to remain silent and anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law,” added Conway, husband of former Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Trump also said he would “very, very seriously” consider granting pardons to defendants who stormed the Capitol if he’s reelected. That could be seen as an attempt at “witness tampering” if he had that power now, said Conway.
That’s what he “did a few years ago ... dangling pardons to people,” Conway noted.
Trump also complained in his speech that those arrested after the insurrection are “having their lives totally destroyed and being treated worse than terrorists and murderers.”
He called the violence at the Capitol a “simple protest” that got out of hand, and falsely claimed that “most” rioters have been charged with nothing more than “parading through the Capitol.”
The defendants have actually been charged with assault — including causing serious bodily injury to police officers — as well as destruction of property, theft, conspiracy, seditious conspiracy and trespassing, among other offenses, according to the Department of Justice. Rioters at the Capitol caused nearly $3 million in losses, including property damage, and some 140 police officers were injured in the violence. More than 840 people have been arrested.
Conway also discussed Trump’s “willful blindness” about the illegality of scheming to overturn a legitimate presidential election. “He understood, but he didn’t care,” said Conway.
Check out the full interview here:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.