Earlier this month, former President Donald Trump revealed that he received a letter from Special Counsel Jack Smith stating that he is the target of a grand jury investigation related to January 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The 2024 GOP hopeful said on his Truth Social platform that he expects to be arrested and indicted, and it is believed the indictment could come any day now.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by 2024 GOP presidential hopeful and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss the impending indictment and whether or not he would pardon Trump if elected.
Thus far, Trump has been charged with criminal counts in two separate cases and another is on the horizon. The first indictment came down in March 2023 when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged the forty-fifth president on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to alleged hush money payments paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.
The second came in June related to the mishandling of classified documents Trump kept at his Florida home at Mar-a-Lago. A federal grand jury impaneled by Smith charged Trump with 37 counts including obstruction and willful retention of national defense information. An additional three criminal charges were added this week, as well as another defendant.
The next looming indictment stems from an investigation out of Washington D.C. also overseen by Smith. The probe relates to Trump’s alleged role on January 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. While the former president’s legal team met with prosecutors, the possibility of charges being announced this week was dismissed after the court confirmed no indictments were expected.
DeSantis on January 6
On the subject of January 6, DeSantis has been on record saying he believes Trump should have done more to stop the protestors at the Capitol. He told Megyn he stands by that assessment. “I think it’s been well documented, kind of his conduct when it first started, how he sat there, you know, could have obviously leaned in harder,” DeSantis told Megyn. “I mean, even his own kids were texting saying, you know, he needs to do more.”
That doesn’t mean he believes the former president committed a crime. “Is that criminal though,” DeSantis asked. “I mean, that’s the thing when you talk about a grand jury and a potential criminal indictment… You can identify flawed conduct, you can criticize his conduct, but you have to find a statute that was violated.”
While it remains to be seen what Trump will be indicted for in relation to January 6, the charges that have been floated so far do not amount to a surefire case. “I think one of the dangers of what [Attorney General Merrick] Garland is doing in this is they may be taking statutes from the Reconstruction Era that were about making sure that freed slaves had civil rights and they may apply to Trump on that,” DeSantis noted. “And that’s the thing when you have a situation where there’s this political difference.”
Would DeSantis Pardon Trump?
So, would DeSantis commit to pardoning Trump on any charges against him? “I’m going to do what’s right for the country,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think it would be good for the country to have an almost 80-year-old former president go to prison.”
When Megyn asked if that was a “yes,” the governor would not say so explicitly. “I look at like, you know, [Gerald] Ford pardoned [Richard] Nixon and took some heat for it,” De Sanits said. “But, at the end of the day, it’s like: Do we want to move forward as a country or do we want to be mired in these past controversies?”
He is inclined to believe the American people want to move on. “I think the public wants a fresh start; I think they want somebody that’s going to focus on their issues,” DeSantis said. “We have had a lot that’s happened over the last five or six years… but, going forward, we’ve got all these issues that we’ve got to deal with.”
The ‘Weaponization’ of the DOJ
One such issue is the “weaponization” of intelligence agencies and the Justice Department. “I’m pledged to end the weaponization of government,” DeSantis said. “I think that they have weaponized these agencies in ways that really hurts the cause of freedom.”
This isn’t just about Trump. “It’s not just about one person, it’s about: Do we have a rule of law, or is it just about wielding power against people you don’t like,” DeSantis asked. “Everything that happens in this case and others… for me is seen through that prism of a DOJ and FBI that have totally lost their way and they’ve been weaponized against the public.”
As it relates to pardons, DeSantis said he would also be willing to “wield the pardon power if normal Americans have been targeted unfairly.” If elected, he said he will be looking to see if a “separate standard of justice was applied” to individuals not “connected to the swamp.”
He also questioned the fairness of the trial Trump or any average citizen would receive in Washington, DC, where the January 6 indictment would be based. “I think in DC there’s a big problem that we have in terms of being able to get fair trials,” DeSantis said. “If you’re not part of the swamp, man, they will… nail you to the wall for jaywalking.”
He already has an idea for how that could be addressed. “One of the things I want to do and work with Congress on is to give Americans the right to… if they’re charged in DC federally, remove it to their home judicial district because I think you’d get a fairer jury pool,” he said. “In a politically charged case… I don’t think it’s going to be fair and that’s an imbalance that we have where the swamp protects its own.”
You can check out Megyn’s full conversation with Gov. DeSantis by tuning in to episode 597 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.