Former President Donald Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that if the Justice Department indicts him in connection with his mishandling of classified documents, "I think you'd have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we've never seen before."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said after a briefing Thursday by FBI and Homeland Security officials that "it was stunning the number of threats that have been cataloged since the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago," linking the "much more dangerous environment" for law enforcement to "political statements made by some individuals since Aug. 8." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) got pushback when he said last month that prosecuting Trump over mishandling top secret documents could lead to "riots in the street."
Perhaps with that in mind, Hewitt asked Trump what he meant by "problems." Trump said he thinks "they'd have big problems. Big problems. I just don't think they'd stand for it." Hewitt asked how he would react if the "legacy media" accuses him of inciting violence. "That's not inciting, I'm just saying what my opinion is," Trump replied. "I don't think the people of this country would stand for it."
The people of this country don't appear to be on Trump's side here. A Fox News poll released Thursday found that 65 percent of registered voters — including 38 percent of Trump voters — agreed it was inappropriate for Trump take sensitive documents from the White House, and 56 percent said the FBI acted appropriately in searching Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.
A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released last week found that 44 percent of Americans (and 5 percent of Republicans) said Trump did something illegal in taking the classified documents, another 17 percent (including 20 percent of Republicans) said he just did something unethical, and 47 percent (including 10 percent of Republicans) said Trump should be charged with a crime. If Trump is charged, the poll found, 65 percent of Americans said he shouldn't run for president in 2024, versus 61 percent who don't want him to run regardless.
The Fox News poll was conducted Sept. 9-12 by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Co. (R) among 1,201 registered voters nationwide, and its margin of sampling error is ± 2.5 percentage points. The NewsHour/Marist poll was conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1 among 1,236 U.S. adults, with a margin of error if ± 4.1 points.