In a 46-minute speech on Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly expressed concerns about facing prosecution for state crimes upon leaving office.
“Now I hear that these same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York so that they can try to get me there,” he said.
Trump could pardon himself, but that would apply only to federal offenses.
The president has lashed out at investigators before, but Wednesday marked a departure in how much he had revealed about his fears.
“They want to take not me but us down,” Trump said. “And we can never let them do that.”
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday voiced his concerns about the prospect of being prosecuted by New York officials after he leaves the White House. He made the remarks in 46-minute speech that he videotaped and posted on Facebook.
“Now I hear that these same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York so that they can try to get me there,” Trump said in the middle of his speech, which focused on his baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. “It’s all been gone over, over, and over again.”
He added: “They want to take not me but us down. And we can never let them do that.”
The president faces a slew of legal issues on the federal and state levels once he’s out of office on January 20. New York Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices. And a federal court filing from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance suggested he was conducting an investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization on suspicion of bank and insurance fraud, The New York Times reported.
Trump was also named “Individual-1” in a filing by the Southern District of New York when his former attorney Michael Cohen was charged with making hush-money payments. And a lawsuit from two attorneys general alleged he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause. His inaugural committee also faces a lawsuit alleging it schemed to funnel nonprofit money into the Trump family business.
From the Russia investigation to his impeachment, Trump has used the term “witch hunt” to describe almost any investigation into himself or his business, including when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of a committee to oversee the federal pandemic response.
He’s also never shied away from going after anyone involved in litigation against him.
Trump once accused a judge of Mexican heritage of being in “absolute conflict” while presiding over a civil fraud case on Trump University. Then a presidential candidate, Trump said Judge Gonzalo Curiel was biased because of the campaign pitch for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
In 2018, he also called the special counsel Robert Mueller “disgraced and discredited” and went on to describe his team of investigators as “thugs.”
Yet the nature of the investigations Trump is facing at the state level in New York may explain why he went to a new level on Wednesday, particularly in how he outlined what could happen to him upon leaving office.
The president is likely less concerned about federal suits and investigations. He has consulted with advisers about granting his three eldest children, his son-in-law, and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani preemptive pardons, The Times reported. There’s also a possibility Trump could grant himself a pardon or leave office before Biden’s inauguration and have Vice President Mike Pence, who would assume the presidency in the interim, pardon him instead.
These pardons would apply only to federal charges.
“Trump will face no peril at the federal level because Biden is not going to waste his important political capital and resources going after President Trump,” Alan Dershowitz, an attorney who helped defend Trump during his impeachment trial, told Business Insider’s Dave Levinthal recently.
But, Dershowitz added, “The New York authorities will stop at nothing to go after him.”
Watch the president’s entire speech here:
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