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Trump threats 'terrifying' for feds, ex-FBI chief says. Steve Bannon says they 'should be'

WASHINGTON − Steve Bannon, who has advised former President Donald Trump, just warned the last two ex-FBI directors to "Get your passport, get the hell out of the country because hey, we're coming,” in a second Trump term.

The presumptive Republican nominee's threats about imprisoning his opponents have caused such concern among people in U.S. law enforcement and intelligence that some are talking about leaving the country to avoid unfair prosecution if Trump wins a second term, according to Andrew McCabe, the former head of the FBI.

And Bannon, who served as an advisor to Trump's 2016 campaign and in the White House during his first term, said on his "War Room" podcast Saturday that McCabe and his predecessor would be targeted by a Trump White House for having investigated Trump's alleged collusion with Russia and other activities.

“We will hunt you down," Bannon said in reference to McCabe and his predecessor, James Comey.

McCabe, the acting FBI director after Trump fired Comey, he was concerned about what Trump might do in a second term if he defeats President Joe Biden in November.

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"He runs the risk of really dismantling and greatly incapacitating the Department of Justice and the FBI," McCabe told CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins last Wednesday. He described it as "terrifying” and “frightening,” citing Trump’s vow to his supporters that he “will be your retribution.”

What’s more, McCabe said, “I have a lot of conversations with former colleagues, people who are or were in the intelligence and law enforcement community, and may have worked in the Obama administration, other places. And people are really trying to assess like, what is life going to be like if Donald Trump wins a second term?"

"And on a very personal level, I mean, these are torturous discussions with their family members about whether or not they have to leave the country, to avoid being unconstitutionally and illegally detained,” McCabe added. “I mean, people were actually worried about being thrown in jail, or grabbed in some sort of extra-judicial detention."

McCabe didn’t respond to a voicemail and text on Monday. The FBI also had no comment.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe details the filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than $1 billion in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB in Washington on July 20, 2016.

Trump and Bannon confirm desire for revenge

On Thursday, the day after McCabe’s remarks, Trump did little to dispel concerns that he is planning to exact revenge on his political enemies, including those at the FBI and the Department of Justice.

There are people “that say when you win your second term that you are going to make the people that have come after you pay retribution and revenge,” Phil McGraw, the host of the “Dr. Phil” show, told Trump.

“Well, revenge does take time, I will say that,” . “And sometimes revenge can be justified, Phil, I have to be honest, you know, sometimes it can.” 

Trump didn’t mention McCabe by name. But he did mention exacting revenge on former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, whom he defeated in the 2016 presidential election.

Asked about McCabe's comments, Trump campaign communications director Steven Cheung said, "As President Trump has said, the ultimate revenge is the success of the American people. Individuals like McCabe have dishonored themselves by lying to investigators and peddling fake news."

After his conviction on hush money charges, Trump repeatedly attacked Biden, the judge, prosecutors and others, suggesting there would be retaliation.

More:Donald Trump says if elected in 2024 he might prosecute political opponents

Biden and his aides quickly responded, with Biden communications director Michael Tyler saying, "Trump is consumed by his own thirst for revenge and retribution."

On his podcast, Bannon responded directly to McCabe.

“Why is Andrew McCabe, Mr. Tough Guy, Mr. FBI Tough Guy wetting himself on national TV?” Bannon asked rhetorically. “He's damn scared because he understands the end is near.”

“Don't torture yourself," Bannon continued. "Your crimes and your treason, Comey, all of you. Go ahead, go to the ends of the earth. We will hunt you down and bring you back and you will stand accountable before the American people.”

Steve Bannon during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 3, 2023.

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Why Trump world hates McCabe

Notwithstanding Trump's self-presentation as an ally of law enforcement, he has been at odds with McCabe and Comey since the beginning of Trump’s term in January 2017. At the time, McCabe was Comey’s No. 2 at the FBI and played a central role in investigating Trump as part of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump first fired Comey May 9, 2017 over that. Then, on March 16, 2018, McCabe was fired too, just 26 hours before his scheduled retirement from the FBI after serving more than two decades.

In February 2019, McCabe went on the offensive to promote his book, “: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.”

In an that month, McCabe condemned what he called the "relentless attack" that then-President Trump was waging against the FBI as it continued to scrutinize whether officials in Trump's campaign conspired with Kremlin operatives who meddled in the 2016 election .

"I don't know that we have ever seen in all of history an example of the number, the volume and the significance of the contacts between people in and around the president, his campaign, with our most serious, our existential international enemy: the government of Russia," McCabe told NPR's "Morning Edition." "That's just remarkable to me."

And in an extended interview on CBS’ "60 Minutes," McCabe accused Trump of obstruction of justice, and said that Justice Department officials weighed asking the Cabinet to consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. 

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