Donald Trump ally Kash Patel said Tuesday that if the former president is elected to a second term in office, he’ll “come after” the “conspirators” in the media and the government who “helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections.”
“We’re going to come after you. Whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out,” Patel, a National Security Council and Defense Department official during the Trump administration, told Steve Bannon on his podcast.
Bannon, a former senior adviser in the Trump White House who has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in New York state court, had asked Patel who could be in a top position in a second Trump term, if he felt “confident” that he’d able to dole out “serious prosecutions and accountability” against the “deep state.”
“I know you’re probably going to be head of the CIA,” Bannon said. “Do you believe you can deliver the goods on this?”
Patel said “yes” and suggested they had loyalists ready to put in place.
“The one thing we learned in the Trump administration, the first go-around, is we got to put in all America patriots, top to bottom, and we got them for law enforcement. We got them for intel collection, we got them for offensive operations, we got them for D.O.D., C.I.A., everywhere,” he said.
“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,” he said, clinging to Trump’s false assertion that the election was stolen from him.
Federal prosecutors have charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States over his efforts to stay in power despite his election loss. Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is scheduled to go trial in March.
Patel told Bannon “the one thing we will do that they never will do is we will follow the facts and the law and go to courts of law and correct these justices and lawyers who’ve been prosecuting these cases based on politics.”
“We’re putting you all on notice,” Patel said. “We’re actually going to use the Constitution to prosecute them for crimes they said we have always been guilty of but never have.”
In a statement, Patel said the administration would target lawbreakers. “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 statement said.
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News, but told The New York Times that “all 2024 campaign policy announcements will be made by President Trump or members of his campaign team. Policy recommendations from external allies are just that — recommendations.”
Trump has openly talked about his desire to seek retribution against his political enemies and “the deep state” while on the campaign trail. During a Fox News town hall Tuesday night, moderator Sean Hannity suggested those concerns were overblown and asked, “You are promising America tonight you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?”
“Except for Day One,” Trump responded. Hannity asked him what he meant. Trump said he wanted to close the border and “drill, drill, drill.”
“After that I’m not a dictator,” he added.
Bannon is set to stand trial in the New York case in May. He has been charged with defrauding donors who gave money to build a wall at the southern U.S. border, to which he has pleaded not guilty, and has called the allegations “nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
Bannon has also been convicted of criminal contempt of Congress for failing to respond to a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee. He was sentenced last year to four months in jail, but the sentence has been stayed while a federal appeals court considers his appeal.