Donald Trump repeats election falsehood as he hints at presidency run

Donald Trump again hinted he'd like to be back on a more permanent basis - as President in 2024, as Emma Murphy reports

Donald Trump once again repeated false election claims that sparked the infamous January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol on his first return to the city since that day.

The former president is under pressure as a Congressional hearing continues its public investigation into his role during the attack, with claims he did “everything in his power to overturn the election.”

Speaking at an America First Policy Institute event in Washington DC, Mr Trump hinted he would run for the White House again in 2024 as he hit out at what he described a “very corrupt” election.

“It was a catastrophe that election, a disgrace to our country,” he said, insisting he had won despite all evidence to the contrary.

“We may just have to do it again,” he added, repeating as he does in all recent appearances the ever-clearer hints that he will run again.

He received frequent applause and cheers from his audience, a meeting organised by a group of former White House officials and Cabinet members who have been crafting an agenda for a possible second Trump term.

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His appearance comes as allies urge him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less relitigating the 2020 election.

He spoke hours after former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, outlined his own “Freedom Agenda" in a speech nearby.

While the former president remains consumed by the election he falsely claims was stolen from him, Mr Pence again implored conservatives to focus on the future as he mulls his own.

“Some people may choose to focus on the past, but elections are about the future," Mr Pence said in an address to Young America’s Foundation, a student conservative group.

“I believe conservatives must focus on the future to win back America. We can’t afford to take our eyes off the road in front of us because what’s at stake is the very survival of our way of life.”

Their separate speeches come amid news that Mr Pence's former chief of staff, Marc Short, testified before a federal grand jury investigating the January 6 assault.

Donald Trump hinted he will try to come back to Washington DC permanently. Credit: AP

Mr Short was at the Capitol that day as Mr Pence fled an angry mob of rioters who called for his hanging after Mr Trump wrongly insisted his vice president had the power to overturn the election.

Mr Pence has repeatedly defended his actions that day, even as his decision to stand up to his boss turned large swaths of Trump's loyal base against him.

Polls show that Mr Trump remains, by far, the top choice of Republican primary voters, with Mr Pence far behind.

That contrast was on display Tuesday as Mr Trump spoke before an audience of hundreds gathered for the America First Policy Institute's two-day America First Agenda Summit.

Composed of his former administration officials and allies, the group is widely seen as an administration in waiting that could quickly move to the West Wing if Trump should run again and win.

The event had the feel of a Trump White House reunion - but one without Mr Pence.

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