Trump says he would have ‘no choice’ but to jail his political enemies if he wins 2024 election

This time round, former president said that he would have ‘no choice’ but to follow through with threats

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 31 August 2023 10:10 EDT
Biden calls Trump's mugshot 'handsome'

Donald Trump has made a chilling threat to “lock up” his political enemies if he wins the 2024 presidential race.

In an interview with conservative media personality Glenn Beck on Tuesday, the former president was reminded about his statements during the 2016 race that he would “lock up” Democratic rival Hillary Clinton – but then decided against it when he entered the White House.

“You said in 2016, you know, ‘Lock her up.’ And then when you became president, you said, ‘We don’t do that in America. That’s just not the right thing to do,’” said Mr Beck.

“That’s what they’re doing. Do you regret not locking her up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?”

This time round, Mr Trump said that he would have “no choice” but to follow through with his threats.

“Well, I’ll give you an example... The answer is you have no choice, because they’re doing it to us,” he said.

The former president went on to say that he “never hit Biden as hard as I could have”.

“I always had such great respect for the office of the president and the presidency... And then I heard he was trying to indict me, and it was him that was doing it,” he said.

The latest war of words comes as Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked his political rivals including President Joe Biden as well as the prosecutors and judges in his growing list of criminal cases.

The former president and his 18 co-defendants in his fourth criminal case over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state are expected to be arraigned in court in Georgia next week.

However, Mr Trump is said to be considering waiving his arraignment and entering a plea on the charges ahead of the court date.

Donald Trump arrives in Atlanta to be arrested on charges over Georgia election interference

The judge has already ruled that cameras are allowed in the courtroom for the 6 September hearing, paving the way for a potentially historic moment where Mr Trump’s criminal court appearance will be broadcast live to the world for the very first time.

At least two of his co-defendants in the case – former Trump campaign attorneys Ray Smith and Sidney Powell – have already waived their arraignments and entered pleas of not guilty to all counts.

In each of Mr Trump’s other four criminal cases, he has appeared in person for his arraignments – however cameras were not allowed in the courtrooms in any of those cases.

The former president surrendered to Fulton County authorities on 24 August to face 13 charges in the sweeping RICO indictment.

He was booked into Fulton County Jail where he was fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken – marking another historic moment as the first current or former president to ever be captured in a booking photo.

His bond was set at $200,000 with him paying 10 percent in order to be released.

All of Mr Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the case also surrendered to Fulton County authorities ahead of the noon ET deadline on Friday 25 August.

All 19 of the defendants were charged with violating Georgia’s RICO statute.

The indictment accuses Mr Trump and his allies of orchestrating and running a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere, to “accomplish the illegal goal of allowing Donald J. Trump to seize the presidential term of office, beginning on January 20, 2021”.

“This criminal organization constituted an enterprise as that term is defined in O.C.G.A. § l6-14-3(3), that is, a group of individuals associated in fact. The Defendants and other members and associates of the enterprise had connections and relationships with one another and with the enterprise,” it reads.

The criminal organisation’s members and associates “engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury”.

The other co-defendants are former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell, attorneys John Eastman, Kenneth Cheseboro, Jenna Ellis, Ray Smith III, and Robert Cheeley, former US Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, former Trump campaign official Michael Roman, former state senator and the former chair of the Georgia Republican Party David Schafer, Georgia state senator Shawn Still, Lutheran pastor Stephen Lee, mixed martial artist Harrison Floyd, Kanye West’s former PR Trevian Kutti, former head of the Republican Party in Coffee County Cathleen Latham, Atlanta-area bail bondsman Scott Hall, and former election supervisor of Coffee County Misty Hampton.

Trump mug shots on a poster

DA Willis has spent more than two years investigating efforts by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election result in the crucial swing state.

The investigation came following the release of a 2 January 2021 phone call Mr Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he told him to “find” enough votes to change the outcome of the election in the state.

“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Mr Trump is heard saying in the leaked phone call. “Because we won the state.”

Mr Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes.

The investigation then expanded from that phone call to include a scheme whereby a group of fake Republican electors planned to falsely certify the results in Mr Trump’s favour instead of Mr Biden’s. The plot failed and the fake electors have since reached immunity deals with DA Willis’ office.

Ms Willis said she would like to try the defendants altogether and within the next six months.

In total, the former president is now facing 91 charges from four separate criminal cases.

On 1 August, he was hit with a federal indictment charging him with four counts over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot, following an investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith’s office.

This came after Mr Smith’s office charged Mr Trump in a separate indictment over his alleged mishandling of classified documents on leaving office.

Back in April, Mr Trump was charged for the first time with New York state charges following an investigation into hush money payments made prior to the 2016 election.

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