Trump says Jack Smith Jan 6 indictment doesn’t ‘frighten’ him but it ‘would be very dangerous’ to jail him

Former president faces a potential third indictment – on top of other ongoing investigations — and made remarks in interviews after receiving special counsel target letter

Kelly Rissman
New York
,Oliver O'Connell
Thursday 20 July 2023 17:36 BST
Trump insists Jan 6 indictment doesn’t ‘frighten’ him

Hours after former President Donald Trump announced that he was a “target” in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Mr Trump told Sean Hannity that he was “bothered” by the news but it doesn’t “frighten” him.

In a radio interview in Iowa though, the former president said he thought it would be “very dangerous” for Mr Smith to jail him prior to any trial because of his “tremendously passionate group of voters”.

Mr Trump spoke to Mr Hannity in a pre-recorded town hall interview on Fox News. The former president faces a potential third indictment over the events of January 6 – on top of other ongoing criminal cases.

He faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the Manhattan District Attorney’s case regarding hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The former president already faces a 37-count federal indictment in connection to his handling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

The Fox News host suggested Mr Trump remained untroubled by the investigations: “It doesn’t seem to bother you like I think it would bother so many other people. What is it about you that it doesn’t?”

“No, it bothers me. It bothers me for everybody in this incredible sold-out audience,” the former president disagreed, speaking to the people of Des Moines, Iowa. He added that the ongoing probes into him are an example of “election interference,” and that the Department of Justice is politicised.

“They want to try to demean and diminish and frighten people,” Mr Trump said. “But they don’t frighten us because we’re going to make America great again. That’s all there is.”

Mr Trump had written on Truth Social earlier in the day: “Deranged Jack Smith...sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment.”

In an interview with The Simon Conway Show on Tuesday after the news of the target letter broke, the former president was asked by host Doug Wagner (filling in for Conway) what his message to supporters would be should Mr Smith imprison Mr Trump ahead of any trial.

Said Wagner: “Is it something that concerns you of the people making sure that they don’t go out of their right mind if something like that happens, if that, for example, they do say — Jack Smith says, OK, I’m going to put Donald Trump in jail?”

The former president replied: “I think it’s a very dangerous thing to even talk about because we do have a tremendously passionate group of voters, much more passion than they had in 2020 and much more passion than they had in 2016.”

He reiterated: “I think it would be very dangerous.”

Mr Trump has a record of trying to whip up his supporters ahead of legal action against him, telling supporters before his first indictment in Manhattan over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels to “protest” and “take our nation back”.

Later he warned of “death and destruction” if he were charged. Only a small number of supporters showed up in Lower Manhattan to protest.

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