(The Hill) – Former President Trump argued that then-Vice President Mike Pence was “well-protected” during the Jan. 6 riot and defended angry chants against the vice president from rioters, including those calling for him to be hanged, according to a new audio excerpt released by ABC News on Friday.
The excerpt, shared by ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl with Axios, is from a 90-minute interview Karl conducted with Trump on March 18 at Mar-a-Lago and will be included as part of Karl’s forthcoming book, “Betrayal,” according to Axios.
In the audio clip, Karl asks Trump, “Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?”
Trump answers, “No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think…”
Karl interjects to point out rioters who could be heard chanting to “hang Mike Pence.”
“Because you heard those chants — that was terrible. I mean—” Karl says.
Trump responds, saying, “He could have — well, the people were very angry.”
“They were saying ‘hang Mike Pence,’ ” Karl says.
“Because it’s common sense, Jon,” Trump interjects. “It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?”
Karl reported that more of his interview with Trump would be reported during ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
The Hill has reached out to representatives for Trump and Pence respectively for comment.
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The audio clip shows the former president continuing to defend the Jan. 6 insurrection several months after the incident, despite the threats to lawmakers’ safety and that of his vice president.
During a speech in Hillsborough County, N.H., in June, Pence acknowledged that the two may not come to an agreement on what happened during the deadly event.
“You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years,” he said to applause.