'Frightening' threats show Trump-backed candidates intend to 'lock up' public officials they don't like: Michigan attorney general

Michigan's attorney general warned that Donald Trump-backed candidates intend to carry out the ex-president's "lock her up" threats against public officials deemed insufficiently loyal to the MAGA cause.

Attorney general Dana Nessel appeared Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss threats made against her at a rally by Matthew DePerno, a Trump-endorsed candidate for Michigan attorney general who the Republican-led state Senate referred for investigation for spreading lies about the 2020 election to raise money for his own benefit.

"The investigation that he's talking about was referred to my office by the Republicans on the Senate Oversight Committee in the state of Michigan," Nessel said. "What they did is they did an extensive analysis and review, and they conducted hearings over the course of six months on the issue of whether or not there was any election fraud in our state. They concluded that there was none, but they did conclude that there were actors out there, bad actors, that were essentially exploiting people and using it to raise money."

Shortly afterward, DePerno declared himself a candidate for attorney general and threatened to prosecute Nessel, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others if he was elected, and he's drawn the endorsement of the twice-impeached one-term president.

"I isolated myself from that case, so I have nothing to do with it, but the important thing is he is utilizing that to call for me to be locked up and prosecuted," Nessel said. "I take him at his word. If he does beat me in 2022, that's what he intends to do."

Co-host Mika Brzezinski called those threats "frightening," and Nessel agreed they were part of a growing pattern of attacks on the rule of law that have emerged since Trump vowed to "lock up" Hillary Clinton during their 2016 campaigns against one another.

"The attorney general in the United States, you know, for each of us in our respective states, we are the top law enforcement officials," Nessel said. "You hear all of these AGs talking about how they subscribe to the rule of law, they're rule-of-law AGs or rule-of-law AG candidates, yet here they support a man who we know did everything in his power to bend and break the law in order to undermine the 2020 election, which I think is not a very law-and-order position to take."

"But if people like Matthew DePerno end up winning in the swing states for attorney general and secretary of state," she added, "I think democracy as we know it will be completely gone by 2024. Irrespective of who gets the most votes, the candidate of their choice, which is clearly Donald Trump, will become president, and we will be reduced to, I guess, an oligarchy, much like Russia or other states of that nature, and will no longer be a democratic republic."

In other news, Trump fumes: NYC mayor de Blasio 'wants to CONFISCATE' my Bronx golf course! WATCH:

Trump fumes: NYC mayor de Blasio 'wants to CONFISCATE' my Bronx golf course! youtu.be