Donald Trump warned that Saturday's 'Justice for J6' rally is a 'setup' as Capitol Hill goes into lockdown and officials prepare for the worst when hundreds arrive to protest the federal charges faced by MAGA supporters for the January 6th insurrection.
'On Saturday, that's a setup,' Trump told the Federalist. 'If people don't show up they'll say, 'Oh, it's a lack of spirit.' And if people do show up they'll be harassed.'
His comments come after he defended the January 6th rioters being prosecuted for their storming of the Capitol building, saying they were being 'persecuted so unfairly' for protesting the 'rigged presidential election.'
'Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election. In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!,' Trump said in a statement on Thursday.
Ahead of Saturday's rally, Capitol Hill has turned into a fortress as officials are determined not to repeat the intelligence and planning mistakes revealed in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection.
Security fencing is back up around the perimeter, riot shields are ready, the National Guard is on stand by and DC Metro Police will activate their entire force on Saturday.
Trump has repeatedly and falsely the 2020 election was stolen from him as a result of massive election fraud. He faced a second impeachment trial - and was acquitted - on charges he helped incite the January 6th riot.
He gave a fiery speech outside the White House on January 6th, shortly before his MAGA supporters stormed Capitol Hill.
But he's not taking the same steps in the lead up to Saturday's rally. The former president will spend the Saturday at a golf tournament at his Bedminster, N.J., club, the New York Times reported.
Donald Trump warned that Saturday's 'Justice for J6' rally is a 'setup'
Ahead of Saturday's rally, Capitol Hill has turned into a fortress with security fencing back up around the perimeter
Signs warn the area around the Capitol is closed ahead of Saturday's rally
A U.S. Capitol Police officer patrols the East Plaza of the Capitol after fencing was put up overnight ahead of Saturday's 'Justice for J6' rally
Around 700 people are expected for Saturday's rally, which is to protest the federal charges against those who stormed the Capitol on January 6
Republicans are distancing themselves from the rally as security measures go into place around the Capitol
U.S. Capitol Police officials survey the area around the Capitol reflecting pool ahead of Saturday's rally
U.S. Capitol Police will hold a press conference on Friday to discuss preparations for the rally. Officials said earlier this week the National Guard are on standby - a preventative measure and a reassurance after there was a delay in activating the DC guard on the day of the insurrection.
'The USCP has asked the Department of Defense for the ability to receive National Guard support should the need arise on September 18,' USCP said