In an off-the-record conversation with reporters held in the waning days of his administration, former President Barack Obama expressed confidence that the United States could survive four years of a Trump presidency -- but worried about what would happen if it lasted any longer.
A transcript of the talk, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, shows Obama expressing confidence in American institutions to at least temporarily hold off any attempt by then-incoming President Donald Trump to corrupt them to his own ends.
“I think that four years is okay,” Obama said. “Take on some water, but we can kind of bail fast enough to be okay. Eight years would be a problem. I would be concerned about a sustained period in which some of these norms have broken down and started to corrode.”
Obama also advised reporters to pay close attention to Trump's moves when it comes to politicizing law enforcement, particularly in regards to the United States Department of Justice.
“I’d be paying a lot of attention to that," he said. "And if there is even a hint of politically motivated investigations, prosecutions, et cetera, I think you guys have to really be on top of that.”
Trump repeatedly demanded that the DOJ investigate his political opponents, and was also impeached for trying to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce an investigation into President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.