Down in the Polls and confined to White House, President Trump calls for Prosecuting His Political Enemies.
Amid a cascade of daunting poll numbers and an ill-timed bout with the coronavirus that has kept him confined to the White House just weeks before the election, President Trump gave vent to his grievances Thursday in a television interview in which he chastised his own cabinet for failing to prosecute his political enemies.
In his first extended public comments since being diagnosed with the virus last week, Mr. Trump called for the indictment of his predecessor, President Obama, and his current opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., as he revisited events of the 2016 campaign in a meandering, hourlong telephone interview on Fox Business Channel.
He assailed his secretary of state, attorney general, F.B.I. director and a senior Justice Department prosecutor because they have not charged Democrats or released politically damaging information about them. "These people should be indicted," he said.
The president's comments came during an interview that, even for him, was a scattershot and manic performance, one that advisers said reflected increasing frustration over his political fortunes just 26 days before an election that surveys show him losing by double digits. In focusing his ire on his own team, he seemed to indicate that he saw October prosecutions as his best chance to rebound.
Mr. Trump called Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee and the first woman of color on a major national ticket, a "monster." He said the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, was "disappointing." He posited that he might have contracted the coronavirus from a member of a military family. He maintained that he is almost off medical treatments for the virus. And he complained about not being allowed to hold rallies while he remains in isolation.
"I don't think I'm contagious at all," Mr. Trump said, although his positive diagnosis was revealed last Friday and people with the virus are typically contagious for at least a week and often longer. Of his treatments, he insisted, "I think I'm taking almost nothing." His doctor has not said how long he will remain on steroids.
The president's circuitous conversation with the host Maria Bartiromo came as he has been eager to dispel questions about his health after spending four days at Walter Reed military hospital and suffering a drop in his oxygen levels and a fever, chills and a cough related to the virus.
Mr. Trump criticized both Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two cabinet members often described as among his closest aides.
Mr. Trump said of investigations into the origins of the inquiry into his 2016 campaign and whether it conspired with Russian officials, "Bill Barr is going to go down either as the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he's going to go down as a very sad, sad situation. I mean, I'll be honest with you. He's got all the information he needs."
At another point, Mr. Trump took aim at Mr. Pompeo for not releasing documents related to Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state under President Obama.
"They're in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually. I'm not happy about him for that reason," Mr. Trump said. The president has been tweeting this week about documents that purportedly show that Mrs. Clinton planned to gin up a scandal tying Mr. Trump to Russia. Democrats say the documents that the administration released are misleading.
"These people should be indicted — this was the greatest political crime in the history of our country," Mr. Trump said. "And that includes Obama, and it includes Biden."
Mr. Trump also criticized Mr. Wray, the F.B.I. director, for not backing up Mr. Trump's baseless allegations that voting by mail was rife with fraud, and he declined to commit to keeping Mr. Wray in a second term.
And he referred to Ms. Harris, Mr. Biden's running mate, as a "monster" twice and a "communist" four times.
And he theorized that he could have caught the virus from a relative of a fallen service member at a ceremony he hosted for Gold Star families.
Mr. Trump said those relatives insisted on hugging him or thanking him. "I can't back up, Maria, and say, 'Give me room, I want room, give me 12 feet, stay 12 feet away.' They come within an inch of my face sometimes," he said. "They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I'm not telling them to back up."
The Times report of Trump’s manic Fox interview was a follow up to a Politico piece on October, 7, 2020:
Where are all of the arrests?': Trump demands Barr lock up his foes.
Donald Trump mounted an overnight Twitter blitz demanding to jail his political enemies and call out allies he says are failing to arrest his rivals swiftly enough.
Trump twice amplified supporters' criticisms of Attorney General William Barr, including one featuring a meme calling on him to "arrest somebody!" He wondered aloud why his rivals, like President Barack Obama, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton hadn't been imprisoned for launching a "coup" against his administration.
"Where are all of the arrests?" Trump said, after several dozen tweets on the subject over the past 24 hours. "Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Long term sentences would have started two years ago. Shameful!"
By early afternoon, Trump was letting loose his frustrations in an all-caps missive that seemed aimed at nobody in particular.
"DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, THE BIGGEST OF ALL POLITICAL SCANDALS (IN HISTORY)!!! BIDEN, OBAMA AND CROOKED HILLARY LED THIS TREASONOUS PLOT!!! BIDEN SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO RUN - GOT CAUGHT!!!" Trump tweeted.
The day-long run of tweets and retweets marked the most frantic stretch of Trump's public activity since he left the presidential suite at Walter Reed Medical Center and returned to treatment at the White House. They also underscored the degree to which Trump remains fixated on his grievances over the Russia probe, and often on obscure aspects of that investigation that are unintelligible to all but its most careful followers.
Since late Tuesday, Trump has vowed to declassify all documents he claims will show improper activity by Obama and his intelligence advisers — before quickly reversing himself and suggesting he had already done so "long ago" — and repeatedly cited Russian intelligence services' claims that Clinton "stirred up" the Trump-Russia collusion scandal that has dogged his presidency.
The Trump administration has never held a firm position on whether the president's tweets constitute direct orders; various tell-all books have described how top officials learned which of his instructions — lawful or otherwise — to ignore and which to accommodate. Courts have at times treated Trump's tweets at official statements. But on other occasions they've been brushed off as political banter that lacks the force of law.
Trump's Twitter feed tends to be a realtime barometer of his offline moods and whims, however — and themes he hits on repeatedly over 280 characters tend to surface in conversations he holds in private.
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about whether Trump had ever directly asked Barr to order the arrest of his rivals or if his tweet suggesting as much had veered into territory that Barr once said made his job "impossible."
In past interviews, Barr has signaled that he has no intention of prosecuting senior Obama administration officials, though he has cast doubt on the motives behind the Russia probe and launched an investigation into its origins.
The review Barr ordered has disappointed Trump in recent weeks as the U.S. attorney tapped to lead it, John Durham, has signaled he might not pursue the kinds of high-profile prosecutions the president and his allies are demanding. Durham's deputy in the review, veteran Justice Department prosecutor Nora Dennehy, recently quit the faltering effort and returned to the private sector.
"NOW THAT THE RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS GOT COUGHT [sic] COLD IN THE (NON) FRIENDLY TRANSFER OF GOVERNMENT, IN FACT, THEY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN AND WENT FOR A COUP, WE ARE ENTITLED TO ASK THE VOTERS FOR FOUR MORE YEARS," Trump declared late Wednesday morning. "PLEASE REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE!"
Trump's tweet barrage was particularly jarring when set against the political backdrop. Biden has widened his lead over Trump in recent polls, as the president's support has eroded among women, seniors and other voting blocs that helps him scratch out a victory in 2016. Trump flummoxed his allies Tuesday by summarily shutting down — also via Twitter — negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus bill, only to backtrack hours later by calling on Congress to pass more targeted measures.
But Trump has made clear that he remains focused on punishing perceived enemies regardless of the political cost. While recovering at Walter Reed Monday morning, his chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News that Trump had kept busy that morning in part by directing the declassification of documents related to the Russia probe — a set of files he claimed were conclusive proof that Clinton had concocted the notion that his campaign team had ties to Russia even though the Senate Intelligence Committee and the special counsel's team had rejected the allegations as unverified.
In releasing them, Trump's own hand-picked intel chief, John Ratcliffe, acknowledged the documents, sourced to Russian intelligence, might have been "exaggerated" or even "fabricated" to deflect from their culpability in the election interference effort.
Kyle Cheney, Politico, October 7, 2020
October 9, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. For the last 2 days, a crazed Trump, on Twitter and TV, demanded that the Attorney General arrest his political opponents: President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, VIce President and Democratic Party Presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Yes, this is what authoritarian leaders do. It is also what paranoid lunatics do. Read all about it. #VoteHimOut #BidenHarris2020