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New Trump admin would try to prosecute journalists, former Trump adviser says

By Kate Sullivan and Alayna Treene, CNN

(CNN) — A former Trump administration official who remains close to the former president warned on Tuesday that a second Trump administration would target journalists and attempt to “prosecute them for crimes” should Trump win the 2024 election.

Kash Patel, a former adviser on Donald Trump’s National Security Council who also served as chief of staff to the acting secretary of Defense, continues to hold sway with the former president and would likely serve in a national security capacity in a second Trump administration.

Patel’s comments come as Trump seeks a return to the Oval Office and his plans for a potential second term have come under increased scrutiny. The former president has suggested several times, including recently in an interview with Univision, that he would weaponize the Department of Justice against his political enemies if reelected to the White House.

“We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in government but in the media. Yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections – we’re going to come after you,” Patel said on a podcast hosted by another former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon.

“Whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out. But yeah, we’re putting you all on notice,” Patel added. “We’re actually going to use the Constitution to prosecute them for crimes they said we have always been guilty of but never have.”

Trump has repeatedly suggested he would retaliate against media organizations that he feels cover him negatively. In a social media post last month, Trump said the government should punish MSNBC for “illegal political activity.”

Erica Knight, a spokeswoman for Patel, told CNN that he was specifically referring to targeting journalists “who break the law, not just aimlessly prosecuting.” Knight also shared a statement from Patel following the podcast interview: “When President Trump takes office in 2025, we will prosecute anyone that broke the law and end the weaponized, two tier system of justice.”

The Trump campaign said “proclamations” like this from Patel “have nothing to do with them.” They did not specifically say, however, whether Trump was considering the plans Patel laid out.

Patel, a longtime Trump loyalist, is currently a fellow at the Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank that is working closely with the Trump campaign on preparations for a second-term agenda.

Patel initially grew close to Trump during his first administration for playing a central role in Republican efforts to counter-program former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. When Patel later served in the Trump administration, Trump viewed the adviser as someone he could trust to carry out his wishes.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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