Trump declines to rule out abusing power or seeking retribution if he returns to the White House

"NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump declined to rule out abusing power if he wins the presidency again after Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity asked him Tuesday to respond to growing Democratic criticism of his rhetoric.

The GOP presidential front-runner has talked about targeting his rivals — referring to them as “vermin” — and seeking retribution if he returns to the Oval Office for what he argues are politically motivated prosecutions against him. As Trump has dominated the Republican presidential primary, President Joe Biden has stepped up his own warnings, contending Trump is “ determined to destroy American democracy.”

“Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Hannity asked.

“Except for day one,” Trump responded. “I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

Trump then repeated his assertion. “I love this guy,” he said of the Fox News host. “He says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ I said, no, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.”

Earlier in the interview, Hannity had asked Trump if he “in any way” had “any plans whatsoever, if reelected president, to abuse power, to break the law to use the government to go after people.”

“You mean like they’re using right now?” Trump responded.

The interview before a live audience was taped in Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday and aired later in the night.

Trump had tried to turn the tables on Biden during a Saturday speech in Iowa, arguing that the man whose election victory Trump tried to overturn is “the destroyer of American democracy.”

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