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DeSantis Defends Trump, Considers Presidential Pardon if Elected

DeSantis said the politically weaponized DOJ is not accusing Trump of traditional crimes but “stretching” in the January 6 investigation.

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TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Wednesday, Ron DeSantis defended Trump against possible prosecution for his role on January 6, saying the Justice Department is “stretching.”

DeSantis said when the politicized Justice Department tries to “shove conduct into some of these more opaque statutes” – referring to the DOJ’s use of a statute called obstruction of a proceeding – a lot of people will “look at that and wince.”

“They’ve kind of been stretching that to fit conduct that may or may not have happened on January 6,” DeSantis told Eric Bolling during an interview on Newsmax.

“If Donald Trump or any big political person gets caught robbing a bank or doing things that we know are traditional crimes that people get prosecuted for every day, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles,” DeSantis added.


The New York Times reported that the letter informing Trump that he is the target of an investigation listed the crimes of defrauding the federal government via a conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, and “conspir[ing] to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person” in the “free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege” afforded by the Constitution.

But DeSantis said sending a former president who’s almost 80 years old to prison is not good for the country. The governor suggested he might pardon Trump if elected president, adding that pardons are made on a case-by-case basis and he’d need to review the facts at the time.

DeSantis has previously suggested that he would pardon January 6 rioters on day one if he wins the presidency.

“A lot of people wait until the end of the administration to issue pardons. We’re going to find examples where government has been weaponized against disfavored groups and we will apply relief as appropriate, but it will be done on a case-by-case basis because I think you’ve got to make sure that there’s a whole bunch of cases that don’t necessarily get headlines,” DeSantis explained on the “Clay and Buck” podcast in May.


On Tuesday at the West Palm Beach federal courthouse, Judge Aileen Cannon seemed skeptical about the DOJ’s request to start Trump’s trial over classified documents as early as December. Special counsel Jack Smith’s deputy David Harbach argued that Trump should be treated like any other private citizen.

Cannon ultimately dismissed the government's request after Trump’s attorneys argued that it was not appropriate for the judge to “ignore” that Trump is actively running for president of the United States.

“It is intellectually dishonest to stand up in front of this court and say this case is like any other,” Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche told the judge. “It is not.”

Cannon did not immediately decide when to schedule the trial, saying she would issue a written order “promptly.”