Many of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies are promising revenge after the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property on Monday. But his former campaign lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, went a step further.Giuliani predicted to the New York Post that if Trump returns to the White House after the 2024 election, he’ll use the FBI to get back at Biden, claiming it’d be fair play after what Giuliani said was a politically motivated raid to hurt Trump’s political future.
“If Trump gets elected [president], the first thing he’ll do is raid every one of Biden’s houses,” he said.Giuliani made the comment after warning the raid marked the start of a new era of presidents using the government to persecute their political opponents.“All of a sudden, you’re the first president of the United States who introduced the banana-republic process of prosecuting your predecessor. We’ve avoided it for 240 years. Trump didn’t do it to Hillary. Ford didn’t do it,” he said.But Giuliani must have a short memory.Trump spent his four years as president attempting to weaponize the government to hurt his political adversaries—steps that only failed because of clumsiness and resistance from key officials within his administration. Remember that Trump’s first impeachment came because he withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure them to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son Hunter (a scheme that, as the impeachment investigation showed, Giuliani was directly involved in).There’s also those oh-so-coincidental IRS audits of FBI Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, two men Trump despised and fired. The IRS audited just 5,000 returns the year Comey was “randomly” selected out of the 153 million individual returns filed, according to the New York Times.
Comey, of course, was replaced by Trump with current FBI Director Christopher Wray—a lifelong Republican who likely signed the warrant to search Mar-a-Lago.And it’s worth remembering that as he tried to reverse his 2020 election loss and stay in power, Trump seriously considered a plan pushed by Giuliani and his onetime national security adviser, former Gen. Michael Flynn, to appoint conspiracy theorist and Trump attorney Sidney Powell as special counsel to investigate the election, and consider Flynn’s calls to use the National Guard to seize voting machines in various states.Trump only backed off that plan after his more sane advisers told him in a scream-filled White House meeting that they wouldd ignore his orders. Trump also seriously considered firing the acting head of the Justice Department and appointing a lackey to try to reverse his 2020 election loss. He only backed off when his advisers threatened to resign en masse.Flynn’s reaction to the FBI search was similar to Giuliani’s.“We have no rule of law in America. We have no faith in the institutions that are suppose [sic] to maintain the rule of law and we have no faith in the people who run these institutions,” Flynn posted on Tuesday. “@realDonaldTrump America has great faith in you. Let’s go get these bastards and Make America Great Again!!!”
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who played a key role in pushing Trump to try to overturn his 2020 election loss, made similar comments in the wake of the search.“We’re going to have to fight fire with fire,” he said on Fox News. “The way to do it is win elections, win them overwhelmingly and then use the appropriations process to choke down the FBI and choke down the Justice Department and get to the bottom of who approved this.”House Republicans have already made clear they’ll launch investigations into Hunter Biden as soon as they regain control of the chamber—a likely outcome of this fall’s elections. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promised that they’d get their revenge on the Justice Department for the raid.“I’ve seen enough. The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy tweeted the night of the FBI search. “When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned. Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”It’s not unusual for one party to conduct vigorous oversight into an administration controlled by the other party. And it’s not even that unusual to heavily politicize the process‚ like Republicans with the House Benghazi Committee (which McCarthy slipped up and admitted was about damaging Hillary Clinton).But the “weaponized politicization” that McCarthy and other Republicans are decrying already took place under Trump.And the remarks from Trump’s top former advisers are not only deeply ironic—they show what could happen if Trump wins back the White House.Correction: This story initially incorrectly stated that Comey and McCabe were audited by the IRS in the same year. Comey was audited in 2017; McCabe was audited in 2019.