Chris Hayes Warns Trump Is ‘Running on a Platform of Retribution’ for His Legal Troubles (Video)

MSNBC host says Trump’s 2024 campaign is to “finish what he started on Jan. 6”

Chris Hayes Donald Trump MSNBC Jan 6

On Thursday’s episode of “All In With Chris Hayes,” the MSNBC host returned to a topic he’s brought up frequently in recent weeks — his belief that it is urgently necessary to prosecute Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Trump, Hayes argued, who as he noted is currently front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, “is running on a platform of retribution. On a platform of ending American democratic rule as we know it.”

“He is explicitly promising this and you cannot just beat that at the ballot box,” Hayes also warned. Watch the full clip here now:

“Essentially, this has been clear for a while, but it’s gotten really quite clear in the last few days, Donald Trump wants to finish what he started on Jan. 6. Now, his frequent promise on the campaign trail is that we will prosecute his political enemies,” Hayes continued before playing a clip of Trump promising to use the full power of the federal government to go after President Joe Biden, as the crowd shouted “lock him up.”

“Of course, this is not new, as you can tell from the chant. I mean, Donald Trump has been inciting and even leading chants like that for years”.” Hayes went on. “During his first campaign for the White House, it was ‘lock her up,’ Hillary Clinton. Since the very beginning, he has wanted to jail his political opponents, as have his most ardent supporters.”

“It wasn’t abstract,” Hayes continued, noting that Trump attempted to actually do this once he was elected in 2016. He tried to use the government, particularly department of justice as his own personal tool of reward or revenge. It was less than a month after he took office and he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. When Comey refused, Trump fired him. Trump repeatedly demanded that his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, prosecute his former rival Hillary Clinton. Sessions would not do his bidding and he was fired eventually as well.

“Trump found a more willing Lackey in his next Attorney General Bill Barr, who did drop the case against Michael Flynn. Barr also intervened in the case of Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone, recommending he received a more lenient sentence in connection with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

Hayes also noted that what former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in 2022, that Trump also wanted to use the IRS to go after his enemies. And of course, Hayes noted, that Comey and also-fired former acting FBI boss Andrew McCabe were both hit with rare, highly severe IRS audits. (The IRS insists both were random despite the unlikely coincidence.)

“But that was about as close as the ex president came while in office to successfully launching investigations into his foes. And that was because people like Comey and sessions held the Line,” Hayes said. “Instead, of course, Donald Trump was a target of investigation himself from the Justice Department he was ostensibly the head of as the nation’s president.”

Hayes recounted how the investigation into the alleged role of Russian sabotage in 2016 and its links to Trump, led by Robert muller, was according to Trump a “witch hunt,” and also how Trump even tried to have investigators themselves investigated. Then he brought things back to his larger point.

“Now, the more sound defense, during that time,” Hayes said, noting that Trump allies and other republicans often deployed it, “was that fundamentally the justice system could not solve the political problem of Donald Trump. Which is to say, Trump had to be defeated politically, in an election. Not legally, there was no Deus Ex Machina, there was no magic wand. You had to make the argument.”

“It was the same argument we heard around just first impeachment for again, remember what it was about? Right. Soliciting interference from Ukraine in the 2020 election, in pursuit of once again trying to force an investigation of his political opponent, outsourcing it to another country’s justice department, this time Joe Biden,” Hayes said. “But Republicans still did not want to impeach him. And remember their argument. They didn’t really defend the stuff on the merits. The argument was ‘the election is just around the corner, we should let the people decide.’”

Hayes then played a supercut of several congressional Republicans making that exact argument in early 2020.

“Well guess what? They did decide. The people did decide. Nine months later, we had an election, the people decided. They voted Donald Trump out of office, the first incumbent to lose reelection in nearly 30 years,” Hayes said.

“He lost fair and square. It wasn’t actually particularly close. And then in response, he launched a bloody coup. He sicced a violent mob on the Capitol in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election that he did not win to install himself as ruler against the will of the people,” Hayes added.

“After that, after Jan. 6, the argument no longer works,” Hayes argued. “‘Well, liberals just don’t like Donald Trump. They don’t want to do the hard work of persuading people not to vote for him. You’re looking for some legal out you want to try to get some shortcut, investigations or impeachments.’ No, the country’s anti Trump majority showed up, and they voted Donald Trump out, and he would not accept the outcome.”

Hayes said that after the deadly events of Jan. 6, “Trump was rendered fully outside of the constitutional order, and then warned that “now his explicit promise as the front runner of the Republican nomination is to finish the job. He wants to fully convert the United States Government, he wants to purge the civil service at all levels… and the so called Deep State, the security state security apparatus, and he wants to install cronies and loyalists, maybe hire from the folks that were convicted on January 6, put them in place, and then they can use their position in government to go after all his enemies.”

“He is explicitly promising this and you cannot just beat that at the ballot box. I think he will lose if he runs. I do. But that’s not enough. We already did that. He was defeated. He must be held legally responsible for his actions. The stakes of the criminal cases against him are very clear. Right now he is running for his freedom and he is running for vengeance against his enemies.