Veteran New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman on Tuesday explained why the sentencing of the Proud Boys’ former leader is unlikely to change Donald Trump’s promise to pardon people convicted in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who was chairman of the neo-fascist group, was given 22 years in prison after being found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other charges in connection with the Capitol attack, with a judge ruling that Tarrio’s actions amounted to terrorism. It’s the longest sentence yet handed down to a Jan. 6 defendant.
Despite this, Haberman argued that Trump will probably stick to a pledge he made earlier this year to pardon a “large portion” of those sentenced over the attack if he retakes the White House in 2024.
“He sees political advantage in continuing to say that he might pardon people,” she said during an appearance on CNN’s “The Source.”
Haberman suggested that Trump thinks the promise “rallies his supporters,” even as he faces criminal charges of his own for efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including on Jan. 6.
“I’m sure his lawyers would like it if he would adjust some of what he’s saying and doing,” she said.
Haberman noted that Tarrio was just one of many defendants who claimed Trump was behind their actions on Jan. 6 as part of their defense strategies.
“It was Donald Trump’s words,” Nayib Hassan, a lawyer for Tarrio, told jurors in his closing argument earlier this year.
He added: “It was not Enrique Tarrio. They want to use Enrique Tarrio as a scapegoat for Donald J. Trump and those in power.”
Haberman said she expects more people to continue making that case.
“This is where there is an issue for Trump facing liability for that day,” the journalist said. “It was something that his own aides warned him about in real time.”
Trump was indicted last month in his coup attempt case, overseen by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith. He has pleaded not guilty.
The case is set to go to trial in March.