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Trump defends threats to Pence on Jan. 6 in new audio

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump appeared to defend the threats made against then-Vice President Mike Pence during the Jan. 6 insurrection in a new audio recording released Friday.

“Well, the people were very angry,” Trump can be heard telling ABC News’ Jonathan Karl during a taped interview for Karl’s new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.”

The former President, whose campaign to pressure Pence into halting Congress’ certification of the 2020 Electoral College votes ultimately failed, said he thought his vice president was “well protected” as hundreds of pro-Trump protesters stormed the halls of Congress. At the time, some rioters could be heard shouting, “hang Mike Pence,” who was at the Capitol that day presiding over the Senate’s counting of the votes.

“No, I thought he was well protected and I had heard that he was in good shape,” Trump told Karl.

Trump did not contact Pence while the insurrection was unfolding to confirm his safety, and the two men ultimately went days without speaking after police had cleared the building and Congress proceeded to certify the election results — a process that was overseen by Pence.

CNN has reached out to Pence for comment.

In his interview with Karl, the former president appeared to suggest that the Jan. 6 insurrectionists had a right to be upset with Pence.

“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?” Trump said.

Though Trump had tried pressuring Pence to block the certification of the election, Pence informed him that he had no such authority to do so, sources told CNN at the time.

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