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Trump threatens to prosecute Bidens if he’s re-elected unless he gets immunity

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Donald Trump has warned that Joe Biden and his family could face multiple criminal prosecutions once he leaves office unless the US supreme court awards Trump immunity in his own legal battles with the criminal justice system.

In a sweeping interview with Time magazine, Trump painted a startling picture of his second term, from how he would wield the justice department to hinting he may let states monitor pregnant women to enforce abortion laws.

Trump made the threat against the Biden family in an interview with Eric Cortellessa of Time, in which he shared the outlines of what the magazine called “an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world”.

Trump made a direct connection between his threat to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Bidens should he win re-election in November with the case currently before the supreme court over his own presidential immunity.

Asked whether he intends to “go after” the Bidens should he gain a second term in the White House, Trump replied: “It depends what happens with the supreme court.”

If the nine justices on the top court – three of whom were appointed by Trump – fail to award him immunity from prosecution, Trump said, “then Biden I am sure will be prosecuted for all of his crimes, because he’s committed many crimes”.

Trump and his Republican backers have long attempted to link Biden to criminal wrongdoing relating to the business affairs of his son Hunter Biden, without unearthing any substantial evidence. Last June, in remarks made at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump threatened to appoint a special prosecutor were he re-elected “to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family”.

Trump is currently in the thick of four active prosecutions himself, one of which is currently at trial in New York. He is accused of election interference in 2016 tied to hush-money payments to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Last week, the supreme court heard oral arguments in Trump v US in which the former president made a case for broad immunity from prosecution for former presidents including himself. The justices appeared unlikely to grant his request in full, though they sounded willing to consider some degree of immunity for acts carried out as part of official presidential duties.

Several of Trump’s comments in the Time interview will ring alarm bells among those concerned with the former president’s increasingly totalitarian bent.

Trump’s remarks raise the specter that, were he granted a second presidential term, he would weaponize the justice department to seek revenge against the Democratic rival who defeated him in 2020.

Despite the violence that erupted on 6 January 2021 at the US Capitol after he refused to accept defeat in the 2020 election, which is the subject of one of two federal prosecutions he is fighting, Trump also declined to promise a peaceful transfer of power should he lose again in November.

Asked by Cortellessa whether there would be political violence should Trump fail to win, he replied: “If we don’t win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election.”

Pouring yet more gasoline onto the fire, Trump not only repeated his falsehood that the 2020 election had been stolen from him, but said he would be unlikely to appoint anyone to a second Trump administration who believed Biden had legitimately prevailed four years ago. “I wouldn’t feel good about it, because I think anybody that doesn’t see that that election was stolen – you look at the proof,” he said.

Overall, the interview conveys a picture of a second Trump presidency in which the occupant of the Oval Office would be determined to wield executive power unconstrained by any historical norms or respect for long-accepted boundaries.

His plans to dominate the Department of Justice would see him pardon most of the more than 800 people who have been convicted of rioting on January 6 and summarily fire any US attorney who disobeyed his instructions.

On abortion, he said that all decision-making power over reproductive rights had been handed to the states following the supreme court’s overturning of the right to a termination in Roe v Wade. He said he might contemplate Republican states putting pregnant women under surveillance to monitor whether they had abortions beyond the state’s designated ban.

“I think they might do that,” Trump said.

Some of his most fearsome policies for a possible Trump 47 presidency concern immigration. He told Time that one of his first priorities would be to initiate a mass deportation of millions of undocumented people.

To achieve that historically unprecedented goal, he would be prepared to deploy the US military and national guard to secure the border and to carry out massive sweeps of potential deportees. He said he would not rule out building new migrant detention camps to house those earmarked for removal, though most of the deportations would happen instantly.

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