Hewitt, who is also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, later noted that critics would characterize the comment as incitement to violence, a claim he asked Trump to respond to. “It’s not inflammatory — I’m just saying my opinion. I don’t think the people of this country are going to support it,” Trump said.
When pressed by Hewitt, Trump said he thought there would be “big problems, big problems.”
Federal agents searched Trump’s club and residence under court authorization. 8, as part of a long-running investigation into whether government documents, some of which are classified, were deposited at Mar-a-Lago rather than returned to the National Archives.
The FBI investigation is the latest legal pressure on Trump, who now faces increased scrutiny as criminal investigations intensify. The investigation is looking into whether he or his former aides took classified government documents and stored them improperly or never returned them. Trump’s lawyers have argued that the former president cooperated with federal authorities and that many documents are protected by executive privilege.
In January 2021, the House of Representatives impeached Trump on a single count of “sedition” for inciting a group of supporters to prevent Congress from counting Electoral College votes for Joe Biden. In January, a group of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. On June 6, 2021, to stop the count, the attack resulted in the death and injury of five of dozens of law enforcement officers.
Trump’s comments Thursday came hours after officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security briefed Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee about the threat to federal officials. After the briefing, Sen. Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) described Trump’s remarks as dangerous.
“Inviting thugs back to the streets is exactly what happened here on January 6, 2021,” Durbin told reporters. After noting that five people were killed and 149 law enforcement officers were injured in the attack that day, the senator said Trump’s “careless and inflammatory remarks have consequences.”
In the interview with Hewitt, Trump also said he “would not be barred from running” for office if he was indicted. “It’s not going to take you off the stage,” Hewitt said, trying to clarify the former president’s position. Trump replied: “No.”
Trump has repeatedly hinted that he will run for president again in 2024.
In 1920, socialist Eugene V. Debs, who ran for president from prison, was serving time in Atlanta federal prison for speaking out against the draft during World War I. Debs and his running mate, Emil Seidel, received 913,693 votes, but – like his previous campaign – no electoral votes.
Trump’s warnings about the problem echoed those of the senators. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.), told Fox News last month that there would be “street riots” if Trump was indicted. Trump appeared to share that sentiment, sharing a link to a video of Graham’s comments on his Truth social platform.