RFK Jr. campaign says email defending Jan. 6 ‘activists’ was an error

(The Hill) - Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the independent candidate running for president, sent out a fundraising email Thursday that called the defendants who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, “activists,” but his team later backtracked, saying it was an error.

The emails, sent to his supporters Thursday, said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a “political prisoner” and suggested that he and Jan. 6 rioters are victims of an “outrageous miscarriage of justice.”

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to supporters during a campaign event on March 30, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Richard Vogel, Associated Press)

“Rarely do opposites attract, especially in Washington. Yet regarding the case of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is facing extradition to the US, both hard-right Marjorie Taylor Green and hard-left Ilhan Omar Agree: We Must Free Assange Now!” the email read.

“The Brits want to make sure our government doesn’t kill Assange. This is the reality that every American Citizen faces – from Ed Snowden, to Julian Assange to the J6 activists sitting in a Washington DC jail cell stripped of their Constitutional liberties,” it said.

Kennedy campaign spokesperson Stephanie Spear said in a statement obtained by The Hill that the email’s language was an error.

“That statement was an error that does not reflect Mr. Kennedy’s views,” Spear’s statement said, first reported by NBC News. “It was inserted by a new marketing contractor and slipped through the normal approval process.”

In an updated statement, Spear said the “campaign has terminated its contract with this vendor.”

NBC News noted that only 15 Jan. 6 defendants are being held in pretrial detention. Most of those people have been accused of violence against law enforcement officials during the attack on the Capitol.

In an interview last month, Kennedy said he won’t speak about potentially pardoning the rioters until he wins the general election. He said he would approach it on a case-by-case basis, but he stated that he would pardon American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and Assange.

“I would pardon people,” Kennedy told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto in March. “I intend to use the pardon power, and I intend to use it very quickly in office.”

Kennedy’s website said “it’s time” to stand up for Assange and “on my first day in office” Assange would be pardoned. The candidate said he will issue an executive order that will “end all attempts by federal agents and federal agencies to censor the political speech of Americans.”

More than 1,300 people have been charged related to the riot at the Capitol, and at least 400 have been charged with assaulting law enforcement, the Department of Justice reports.

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