Trump is worried that he may be prosecuted in New York after he leaves office
- In a rambling 46-minute speech on Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly expressed concerns about facing prosecution for state crimes upon leaving office.
- "Now I hear that these same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York, so that they can try to get me there," he said.
- Trump could pardon himself, but that would only apply to potential federal offenses.
- The president has lashed out at investigators before, but Wednesday marked a notable departure in how much he revealed about his own fears.
- "They want to take not me, but us, down," Trump said. "And we can never let them do that."
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President Donald Trump voiced his concerns about the prospect of being prosecuted by New York officials after he leaves the White House during a 46-minute, lie-filled speech he videotaped and posted to Facebook on Wednesday.
"Now I hear that these same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York, so that they can try to get me there," Trump said in the middle of his speech, which focused on his false allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. "It's all been gone over, over and over again."
He continued: "They want to take not me, but us, down. And we can never let them do that."
The president faces a slew of legal issues on the federal and state levels once he's out of office on January 20. New York Attorney General Letitia James and District Attorney of Manhattan Cyrus Vance are conducting both civil and criminal investigations into whether Trump and the Trump Organization committed tax, bank, and insurance fraud.
Trump also faces federal lawsuits and investigations into a host of his activities, including his involvement in illegal hush money payments made by his former attorney Michael Cohen as well as allegations of tax fraud and violating the Constitution's emoluments clause. His inaugural committee is also accused of scheming to funnel nonprofit money into the Trump family business.
From the Russia investigation to his impeachment, Trump has used the term "witch hunt" to describe almost any investigation into himself or his business, including when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of a committee to oversee the federal pandemic response.
He's also never shied away from going after anyone involved in litigation against him.
Trump once accused a judge of Mexican heritage of being in "absolute conflict" while presiding over a civil fraud case on Trump University. Then a presidential candidate, Trump said Judge Gonzalo Curiel was biased because of the campaign pitch for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
In 2018, he also called the special counsel Robert Mueller "disgraced and discredited," and went on to describe his team of investigators as "thugs."
Yet the nature of the investigations Trump is facing at the state level in New York may explain why he went to a new level on Wednesday, particularly in how he outlined what could happen to him upon leaving office.
Read more: Biden wants to move beyond the Trump era. But the Justice Department and New York state might not be so ready to play along.
The president is likely less concerned about federal suits and investigations. He has reportedly consulted with advisers about granting his three eldest children, his son-in-law, and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani preemptive pardons. There's also a possibility Trump could grant himself a pardon or leave office before Biden's inauguration and have Vice President Mike Pence, who would assume the presidency in the interim, pardon him instead.
These pardons would only apply to federal charges.
"Trump will face no peril at the federal level because Biden is not going to waste his important political capital and resources going after President Trump," Alan Dershowitz, an attorney who helped defend Trump during his impeachment trial, told Insider recently.
But, Dershowitz added, "The New York authorities will stop at nothing to go after [Trump]."
Watch the president's entire speech here:
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