The 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, has threatened to use the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) against his political rivals, should he return to the White House next year.
In an interview for the Spanish-language television network Univision, Trump was asked to comment on the legal hurdles following his footsteps: “You say they’ve weaponized the justice department, they weaponized the FBI. Would you do the same if you’re re-elected?”
The ex-president replied: “They’ve already done it, but if they want to follow through on this, yeah, it could certainly happen in reverse. They’ve released the genie out of the box. […] When you’re president and you’ve done a good job and you’re popular, you don’t go after them so you can win an election. They’ve done indictments in order to win an election. They call it weaponization.”
Then he clearly promised to prosecute his political opponents,
“…they have done something that allows the next party, I mean if somebody, if I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them, mostly they would be out of business.
They’d be out. They’d be out of the election.”
Trump currently faces four separate criminal cases, including two federal ones dealing with his handling of classified documents and his effort to overturn the election result in 2020. Both of those cases were led by Jack Smith, a special counsel appointed by attorney general Merrick Garland to avoid accusations of political partisanship.
Most likely they both will be fired – along with many of his former allies who are still in the public service, if Trump wins the election in 2024. Or he could pardon himself in the event of his indictment.
Prosecuting political foes is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes and Trump’s remarks are the most candid public revelations so far of the anti-democratic power he would bring to a second term as president.
Trump, who is known for his populist and authoritarian style of rule and befriended many leaders with recorded leaning towards dictatorship, is the frontrunner in the Republican race for the 2024 nomination, with no rival yet in sight to seriously challenge him.
His candid revelations are going to seed fear about a possible second term of office, if Donald Trump returns to power. Even worse, the former president said earlier he would invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office in order to deploy the military against eventual domestic protesters.
US national polls show that Donald Trump – in spite of his anti-democratic practices – enjoys a higher voter credibility than Democrat Joe Biden, the sitting president.
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