According to The Washington Post, Donald Trump and his allies have begun planning to use the federal government to punish his critics and opponents in the event of a second term, where the former president has announced the names of individuals he wishes to investigate or prosecute.
Trump has informed his advisors and friends in secret sessions in recent months of his desire to have the Department of Justice conduct investigations into former officials and allies who criticized his time in office, including his former Chief of Staff John Kelly, former Attorney General William Barr, as well as his former lawyer Ty Cobb and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, according to people who spoke with him and requested anonymity.
Trump also discussed the prosecution of officials in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice.
To facilitate Trump‘s ability to direct the actions of the Department of Justice, his associates are considering crafting plans to overturn fifty years of policies and practices aimed at protecting officials from criminal judicial prosecutions for political purposes. Critics have described such ideas as dangerous and unconstitutional.
Sai Prakash, a constitutional law professor at the University of Virginia who studies executive power, stated, “It would be akin to a banana republic if people come into positions and begin to pursue their opponents willingly or unwillingly. It’s something we shouldn’t aspire to.”
The newspaper noted that Trump‘s team has enlisted external sources to develop plans for a second term through a partnership with right-wing research institutions in Washington.
The group, referred to as “Project 2025,” is working on a plan that includes draft executive orders that would authorize the deployment of the military under the Insurrection Act, according to a participant in those discussions and internal communications reviewed by The Washington Post. The law, last updated in 1871, allows the president to deploy the military to enforce local law.