Former White House staffer says Trump called for leaker to be executed | Donald Trump

Former White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin revealed that Donald Trump repeatedly raised the possibility of executing people out loud in several meetings while she worked for him during his presidency.

Griffin’s assertion, which she made in a podcast recording with Mediaite released Friday, is likely to add to concerns that a Trump return to the Oval Office could be characterized primarily by political retaliation.

The former Trump administration communications director told the outlet that she attended a meeting in which he “flatly said that a staffer who leaked… should be executed,” referring to an anonymous source report that the former president had gone to a secure bunker. at the White House at the height of protests for racial justice sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

“There were others where we talked about executing people,” Griffin said.

In response to Griffin’s comments, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told Newsweek: “As President Trump has said, the best revenge is the success and prosperity of all Americans. »

According to the Constitution, a president does not have the direct authority to impose the death penalty. But the president has the power to appoint attorneys general who oversee key decisions regarding capital punishment at the federal level.

Rumors surrounding Trump’s interest in summary executions have been circulating for years. As he prepared to run for a second presidency in November, Trump reportedly asked three people, “What do you think about firing squads?” » And he has repeatedly supported expanding the use of the death penalty at the federal level.

According to Rolling Stone, Trump also used to bring back hanging and the guillotine – while televising their use – because it would “help make violent criminals fear God.”

A Trump spokesperson told Rolling Stone at the time that “either these people are making lies out of thin air” or the media “is being fooled by these morons.”

But the Trump 2024 campaign also said that if the former president returned to power, he would “call for anyone who sells drugs, gets caught selling drugs, to face the death penalty.” for their suffering.

In the final three months of Trump’s first term, the United States executed 13 federal prisoners by lethal injection – a significant acceleration in the federal government’s use of the death penalty.

Previously, only three people had been executed since 1963. But under the Trump administration, the federal government allowed any lawful method of execution in the state where the death penalty was carried out.

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The federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Oklahoma terrorist Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001, used hanging, electrocution and lethal injection.

Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr said that if Trump had won a second term in 2020, the use of the federal death penalty was expected to continue at an accelerated pace.

Griffin’s claim that Trump called for the execution of a White House staffer is loosely corroborated by Barr in an interview he gave to CNN in April in which he recalled that Trump had been “very angry” about the White House bunker leaker.

Barr said he could not remember whether Trump had specifically called for anyone to be executed and doubted it was ever carried out. But he also said he “wouldn’t dispute” that Trump called for someone to be executed because of the bunker leak.

Griffin left the White House in December 2020, weeks after Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, but refused to accept the legitimacy of the outcome. She is now a commentator for CNN and co-host of the NBC talk show The View.

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