Trump suggests he or another Republican president could use Justice Department to indict opponents

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Former President Donald Trump mused in an interview Thursday that he or another Republican president could use the Department of Justice to go after and indict political opponents, as he claims his political opponents have done against him.

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, told Univision News that the so-called “weaponization” of federal law enforcement “could certainly happen in reverse.” 

NMás journalist and CBS News contributor Enrique Acevedo asked Trump: “You say they’ve weaponized the Justice Department, they weaponized the FBI. Would you do the same if you’re reelected?” 

“Well, he’s unleashed something that everybody, we’ve all known about this for a hundred years,” Trump said, apparently in reference to President Biden and his administration. “We’ve watched other countries do it and, in some cases, effective and in other cases, the country’s overthrown or it’s been totally ineffective. But we’ve watched this for a long time, and it’s not unique, but it’s unique for the United States. Yeah. If they do this and they’ve already done it, but if they want to follow through on this, yeah, it could certainly happen in reverse. It could certainly happen in reverse. What they’ve done is they’ve released the genie out of the box.” 

The former president claimed prosecutors have “done indictments in order to win an election,” and then suggested that if he is president, he could indict someone who is beating him “very badly.” 

“They call it weaponization, and the people aren’t going to stand for it,” Trump said. “But yeah. 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 what that would be, you know, they would be out of business. They’d be out, they’d be out of the election.” 

Special counsel Jack Smith has brought the two federal criminal cases against Trump — the classified documents case and the 2020 election interference case. Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland. The other two criminal cases against the former president are state cases, not federal ones. 

Former Attorney General Bill Barr, appointed by Trump, told CBS News this summer the case against Trump over alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election is a “challenging case” but not one that violates the First Amendment. Barr has said the case alleging Trump mishandled classified documents poses the greatest threat to Trump and is “entirely of his own making.” 

The full interview will air on Univision News Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

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