Trump Vows Investigations of Democratic District Attorneys
Former President Donald J. Trump said in an online campaign advertisement on Thursday that if he were re-elected he would “completely overhaul” the F.B.I. and the Justice Department and launch “sweeping civil rights investigations” into local district attorneys’ offices.
Mr. Trump’s three-minute ad promising to crack down on local prosecutors in Democratic cities — whom he described as soft-on-crime “Marxists” — came as he was facing intense scrutiny by two district attorneys in particular: Alvin L. Bragg in Manhattan and Fani T. Willis in Fulton County, Ga.
Last month, Mr. Bragg unsealed a 34-count indictment against the former president, charging him with falsifying business records in connection with hush-money payments to a porn actress made during his 2016 presidential campaign. Ms. Willis, in the meantime, is continuing to investigate Mr. Trump’s efforts to interfere with voting in her state during the 2020 election.
While Mr. Trump did not mention either prosecutor by name, he has repeatedly lashed out at Mr. Bragg and Ms. Willis, both of whom are Black, describing them as racist and politically motivated. Both before and after the indictment of Mr. Trump was announced, Mr. Bragg faced threats against his life, and a letter to him containing a white powder — later determined not to be dangerous — was found in the mailroom of his office.
Mr. Trump’s advertisement, which bore a screen title reading “Restoring Justice in America,” was in keeping with his strategy of attacking law enforcement officials who seek to hold him accountable — one he has used over and over in his decades in the spotlight.
While Mr. Trump and his allies have often sought to undermine the F.B.I., which has taken part in multiple investigations of him in recent years, the advertisement was one of his most menacing threats yet against local prosecutors.
Mr. Trump said that district attorneys in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco should be subjected to federal subpoenas seeking emails and other records to determine whether they had “violated federal civil rights law” or engaged in “illegal racial discrimination.” That appeared to echo the language of the investigations that the Justice Department has often undertaken against local police departments accused of racial bias.
Mr. Trump specifically called for an inquiry into the district attorney’s office in Travis County, Texas, which recently won a murder conviction against Daniel S. Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant who fatally shot a protester during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the summer of 2020.
The case has become a lightning rod for the right as Gov. Greg Abbott, the state’s Republican governor, has suggested that the guilty verdict was wrong, and said that he planned to pardon Mr. Perry for the killing.