“That’s fascist”: Alarm after Trump shares Truth Social warning of “riots in the streets”

Trump is “essentially threatening the country with violence if the laws are applied to him," George Conway says

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published August 29, 2022 9:16AM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday shared a video on his struggling Twitter knockoff Truth Social of Sen. Linsey Graham, R-S.C., warning of "riots" in the streets if he is indicted.

Graham issued the warning during an interview with Fox News host Trey Gowdy, a former Republican congressman, days after a partially redacted FBI affidavit revealed that investigators had probable cause to believe Trump violated laws related to classified documents, record preservation and obstruction of justice.

"If there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle… there'll be riots in the streets," Graham told Gowdy, who led the infamous House GOP Benghazi hearings.

"Most Republicans, including me, believes when it comes to Trump, there is no law. It's all about getting him," Graham later added.

A three-year federal investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for government business cleared her of criminal wrongdoing. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner both used private email accounts and messaging apps to conduct government business while working in the Trump White House. Trump, meanwhile, refused to turn over classified documents to the National Archives after repeated warnings from the government, according to the FBI.

Trump shared the video of Graham warning of "riots" on Truth Social shortly after the interview.

Trump's team has similarly issued warnings to Attorney General Merrick Garland of potential unrest as the Justice Department investigates why he refused to return classified documents. One of Trump's attorneys after the raid told Jay Bratt, the head of the DOJ National Security Division's counterintelligence unit, his supporters were growing "angry."

"President Trump wants the Attorney General to know that he has been hearing from people all over the country about the raid. If there was one word to describe their mood, it is 'angry,'" the unidentified attorney told Bratt, according to a court motion filed by Trump's lawyers. "The heat is building up. The pressure is building up. Whatever I can do to take the heat down, to bring the pressure down, just let us know."

Trump issued a similar message on Truth Social over the weekend.

"The Raid on my home, Mar-a-Lago, is one of the most egregious assaults on democracy in the history of our Country which is, by the way, going to places, in a very bad way, it has never seen before!" Trump wrote on Saturday.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe compared the post to Trump's message to Garland.

"Like his recent message to AG Garland suggesting that he could help Garland turn down the 'heat' if only DOJ would back off," he tweeted.

Conservative attorney George Conway, a prominent Trump critic, wrote that the former president is "essentially threatening the country with violence if the laws are applied to him."

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., shared the clip of Graham's warning on his Twitter feed.

"Top [R]epublicans would rather torch America in violent riots than lose an election or face any accountability for their crimes," he wrote. "That's fascist."

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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Florida lawmaker and ex-Trump ally, called out Graham for downplaying the Jan. 6 Capitol riot while warning of "riots in the future, coming from Republicans, coming from his party, coming from Trump Donald Trump supporters."

"The irony is so rich, these people that talked about riots, Black Lives Matter riots, it's all they talk about... Yet they're fine when Trump riots are actually putting democracy at risk, when they're trying to overturn an election result," he said. "Lindsey is even fine threatening riots, saying, you know, Trump supporters will riot in the streets, there will be violence if he is held to account, if he broke the law."

Scarborough added that while Trump and his supporters believe he is above the law, his supporters certainly are not.

"Lindsey, if you are trying to stir up Republican riots, if you think Republicans are going to riot in the street, Republicans are going to riot in the street, they're not above the law," he said. "They'll be arrested. They'll go through the same thing that people who listened to Donald Trump on Jan. 6 are going through."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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