"He's threatening prosecutors": Trump floats "death & destruction" in 1 am Truth Social rant

"Trump got his supporters to attack the government once," watchdog group warns. "He's going to try to do it again"

Published March 24, 2023 11:49AM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Capitol Hill (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Capitol Hill (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump warned early Friday morning of "potential death & destruction" should he be charged in the Manhattan "hush-money" criminal case. 

Trump on Truth Social raised the specter of violence ahead of potential criminal charges from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whom Trump said is a "degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA."

"What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?" Trump wrote at 1 am. 

"Why and who would do such a thing?" Trump asked his far-right base. "Only a degenerate psychopath that truely hates the USA!"

Friday's post is the latest in Trump's messages to his followers that have drawn comparisons to his rhetoric ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Over the weekend, he urged a "PROTEST" for Tuesday — the date he falsely claimed he was going to be arrested — and on Thursday, he criticized calls for peace

Many critics have compared the posts to his calls to supporters ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection, which resulted in the deaths of five people and injuries of 140 police officers.  

"Be there, will be wild!" Trump wrote to his followers to stop the certification of the election for President Joe Biden.

The Manhattan special grand jury is not scheduled to meet again until at least Monday and Bragg is aware of the threats coming his way. In an email to his staff this past week obtained by the Washington Post, Bragg wrote that the district attorney's office "will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, and speak publicly only when appropriate."

"We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York," he added.

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House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said on Friday that he had not heard Trump's comments, but that "there's no place in America for political violence of any kind."

"I've been saying that for years, and I think everybody ought to take that position," Scalise said.

While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has criticized Bragg's investigation, he also said Trump's supporters should not protest if he is indicted.

"Nobody should harm one another," McCarthy said on Sunday after Trump called for protests. "We want calmness out there."

However, Democrats took a much stronger approach to the situation. 

"If you still support Donald Trump, you are supporting an individual who has called for chaos and violence, and continues to call for chaos and violence," Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote in a tweet.

Trump continued to talk about the case on Truth Social eight hours after his initial post.

"PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT!" he wrote in all caps just a few hours later.

The D.C. watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said on Twitter that Trump is "not being subtle, he's threatening prosecutors with violence."

"Trump got his supporters to attack the government once. He's making it clear that if he's arrested, he's going to try to do it again. And let's just drop this nonsense now about Trump actually wanting to be arrested, that it will somehow help him," the group said.

"You don't go on social media rants after 1AM threatening chaos if you're arrested if you're not terrified of it. And, of course, all his social media threats are admissible in court. So it's probably not the last you've seen of this post," the group added. "Even though he doesn't mention January 6th, he references what everybody knows: he can wield his supporters to do violence."

By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a former news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics. She is a graduate of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism institute and is pursuing investigative reporting.

MORE FROM Samaa Khullar

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