Then-President Barack Obama in early 2017 told reporters in a lengthy off-the-record conversation that he believed the United States could survive one term of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief but feared two Trump terms "would be a problem."
"I think that four years is okay," Obama told journalists just three days before Trump's inauguration, according to previously unreleased Justice Department documents that Bloomberg obtained and published this week.
The U.S. could, with one Trump term, "take on some water, but we can kind of bail fast enough to be okay," said Obama, who didn't envision the rolling back of his entire legacy.
But "eight years would be a problem," he continued, adding: "I would be concerned about a sustained period in which some of these norms have broken down and started to corrode."
In the same discussion, Obama encouraged reporters to scrutinize any attempt from Trump to politicize law enforcement (which Trump later repeatedly did) - and slammed the GOP for being "ideologically completely incoherent."
"You don't know what they stand for," Obama added.
Trump was eventually voted out of office following just one term - but he has continued to deny his 2020 election defeat to President Joe Biden and has repeatedly teased another presidential run in 2024.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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