Trump and his MAGA cronies are working on formalizing plans to investigate, charge, and arrest hundreds, maybe thousands of Democratic politicians, Justice Department lawyers, FBI investigators, staffers, and analysts involved in the federal probes of Donald Trump criminal activities starting with Jack Smith, Merrick Garland, and Joe Biden.
DONALD TRUMP IS a long, long way from winning the GOP primary, let alone retaking the White House. But he always has revenge on his mind, and his allies are preparing to use a future administration to not only undo all of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s work — but to take vengeance on Smith, and on virtually everyone else, who dared investigate Trump during his time out of power.
Rosters full of MAGAfied lawyers are being assembled. Plans are being laid for an entire new office of the Justice Department dedicated to “election integrity.” An assembly line is being prepared of revenge-focused “special counsels” and “special prosecutors.” Gameplans for making Smith’s life hell, starting in Jan. 2025, have already been discussed with Trump himself. And a fresh wave of pardons is under consideration for Trump associates, election deniers, and — the former president boasts — for Jan. 6 rioters.
The preparations have been underway since at least last year, with Trump being briefed on the designs by an array of attorneys, political and policy advisers, former administration officials, and other allies. The aim is to build a government-in-waiting with the hard-right infrastructure needed to turn the Justice Department into an instrument of Trump’s agenda, according to five sources familiar with these matters and another two people briefed on them.
Trump’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
One idea that has caught thrice-indicted former president’s attention in recent months is the creation of the so-called “Office of Election Integrity,” which would be a new unit inside the Justice Department. It would be tasked not only with relitigating Trump’s lies about his 2020 election loss, but also with aggressively pursuing baseless allegations of election “fraud” (including in Democratic strongholds) in ways that Trumpist partisans believe the department has only flirted with in the past.
This idea was recently pitched to Trump by a longtime Republican activist and an attorney who’s known the ex-president for years, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. (Republican officials have also begun voicing their own support for state-level offices of election integrity. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made the proposal a reality in his state. Officials in Tennessee, Missouri, and Wisconsin have proposed the offices, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, proposed a similarly named office.)
And when it comes to Special Counsel Smith’s office — which just handed Trump his third indictment, this one related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election — the former president and his fellow travelers already know what they want: They want the FBI and DOJ to name names.
This year, close advisers to Trump have begun the process of assembling lists of the names of federal personnel who have investigated the former president and his circle for years, and are attempting to unmask the identities of all the DOJ attorneys and others connected to Smith’s office. The obvious purpose of this, according to one source close to Trump, is to “show them the door on Day 1 [if Trump’s reelected]” — and so “we know who should receive a subpoena” in the future.
Such subpoenas would of course be instrumental in Trumpland’s vows to its voters that, should he return to power, Trump and his new attorney general will launch a raft of their own retaliatory “special counsel” and “special prosecutor” probes to investigate-the-investigator, and to go after their key enemies. As it were, Jeffrey Clark, a former DOJ official and a central figure in Trump’s efforts to subvert the legitimate 2020 presidential election results, has been on Trump’s informal shortlist for plum assignments, including even attorney general, in a potential second administration.
Sources familiar with the situation tell Rolling Stone that Trump and his close ideological allies — working at an assortment of MAGA-prone think tanks, advocacy organizations, and legal groups — are formulating plans for a wide slate of “special prosecutors.” In this vision, such prosecutors would go after the usual targets: Smith, Smith’s team, President Joe Biden, Biden’s family, Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI director Christopher Wray. But they’d also go after smaller targets, from members of the Biden 2020 campaign to more obscure government offices.
“There are almost too many targets to keep track of,” says one Trump adviser familiar with the discussions. Trump and members of his inner orbit have already outlined possible legal strategies, examining specific federal statutes they could wield in a Republican-controlled Justice Department to go after Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who delivered Trump’s first indictment of this year.
People should treat this seriously. A second Trump term will be an authoritarian nightmare, and we have to prevent it. There will be no guardrails and countermeasures next time. As it is, Trump is already vowing retribution and intimidation against the people involved in his legal cases.
Prosecutors on Friday night called a judge’s attention to a social media post from Donald Trump — issued hours earlier — in which they say the former president appeared to declare that he’s “coming after” those he sees as responsible for the series of formidable legal challenges he is facing.
Attorneys from special counsel Jack Smith’s team said the post from Trump “specifically or by implication” referenced those involved in his criminal case for seeking to subvert the 2020 election.
In a court filing just before 10 p.m. Friday, Senior Assistant Special Counsels Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom alerted the judge in Trump’s latest criminal case — U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan — to a combative post Trump sent earlier in the day.
“If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” Trump wrote in all caps Friday afternoon on Truth Social, which is run by a media company he co-owns.
The prosecutors said Trump’s post raised concerns that he might improperly share evidence in the case on his social media account and they urged that he be ordered to keep any evidence prosecutors turn over to his defense team from public view.
“All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public,” Gaston and Windom wrote. “Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him. … And in recent days, regarding this case, the defendant has issued multiple posts—either specifically or by implication—including the following, which the defendant posted just hours ago.”
We'll see what Judge Chutkan does, ordering a response from the Trump legal team by Monday evening.
Denying Trump bail would be a choice fraught with its own dangers, but if you or I posted on social media that we were coming for people after being arraigned on federal charges, you'd better believe there would be consequences. The real "two-tiered justice system" the right keeps squawking about applies to Trump far more than it does Biden.