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For Trump, the Debate Was Another Chapter in the Rewriting of Jan. 6

About halfway through Thursday night’s presidential debate, the moderators asked former President Donald Trump about Jan. 6.

Amid all the focus on President Biden’s unsteady performance, it might have been easy to miss Trump’s answer.

Trump seized the moment to turn the debate stage — with the biggest audience he’s enjoyed since his presidency — into the latest theater for his yearslong effort to rewrite the story of Jan. 6, 2021. And he twice ignored questions about whether he would accept the results of the next election before agreeing to do so only under certain conditions.

Over the course of several exchanges with Biden and the moderators, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, Trump downplayed the most damaging attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812, falsely blamed the security lapses that day on former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and defended the more than 1,000 people who have been charged with participating in the deadly violence.

It was the latest step in Trump’s attempt to see if his continuing lies about Jan. 6 — an alternate story he tells about the day that was once mostly fodder for far-right audiences — can persuade mainstream voters as well.

And the former president’s critics say that, as unnerving as Biden’s performance might have been, Trump’s embrace of Jan. 6 and his refusal to agree to unqualified acceptance of a democratic election were worse.

Read more on nytimes.com