Trump says he will be arrested Tuesday, calls for protests
Former US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he expects to be arrested Tuesday as New York prosecutors consider charging hush money to a porn star and called on his supporters to protest.
“Illegal leaks from a corrupt and highly political office of the Manhattan District Attorney…indicate that, with no crime to be proven…the far-and-distant leading Republican nominee and former President of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform.
A Trump spokesman said the former president had not been notified of an arrest. Trump provided no evidence of leaks from the district attorney’s office and did not discuss the potential charges in his post.
“Protest, Take Back Our Nation!” said Trump, whose supporters stormed the US Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, to try to undo his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
No US president has been prosecuted
The inquiry comes as Trump seeks the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
No U.S. president—while in office or since—has been criminally charged. Trump has said he will continue to campaign even if he is charged with a crime.
A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg — whose office is investigating a $130,000 hush payment that Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, made to porn actor Stormy Daniels — declined to comment.
Sources have said Bragg’s office presented evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the twilight of Trump’s 2016 campaign in exchange for Daniels’ silence over an affair she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.
Trump has denied any affair and called the investigation of Bragg, a Democrat, a witch hunt.
An additional witness is expected to appear before the grand jury on Monday, at the request of Trump’s attorneys, a person familiar with the case said Saturday.
‘Here we go again’
Trump’s statement that he expected to be arrested Tuesday is based on news reports that Bragg’s office will meet with law enforcement officials to prepare for a possible indictment, said the individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy denounced the investigation on Saturday.
“Here we go again – an outrageous abuse of power by a radical district attorney who lets violent criminals go free while pursuing political revenge against President Trump,” McCarthy said on Twitter.
McCarthy’s predecessor as speaker, Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, who, like McCarthy, was present at the Capitol when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the building, battling police, denounced Trump’s call.
“The former president’s announcement this morning is reckless: he is doing this to keep himself in the news and to stir up unrest among his supporters,” Pelosi said in a statement. “He cannot hide his violations of law, disrespect for our elections and incitement to violence.”
Mike Pence, who was Trump’s vice president, told ABC News that the potential indictment against Trump “just feels like a politically charged prosecution here.” When asked about Trump’s call for people to protest if he is impeached, Pence said he thinks protesters will understand “they have to do this peacefully and lawfully.”
One of Trump’s many legal woes
Bragg’s office invited Trump earlier this month to testify before the grand jury investigating the hush money payments, Trump attorney Susan Necheles said. Legal experts said this was a sign that charges were imminent. Trump declined the offer, the person familiar with the matter said.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations related to arranging payments to Daniels and another woman, among other crimes. He has said that Trump directed him to make the payments. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan has not charged Trump with a crime.
The investigation is one of many legal problems Trump faces as he seeks the Republican nomination for president.
He also faces a state-level criminal investigation in Georgia over attempts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.
A special counsel appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland is currently investigating Trump’s handling of classified government documents after he leaves office, as well as his attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden. , a Democrat, to undo.
Bragg’s office won the Trump Organization’s conviction last year on tax fraud charges. But Bragg refused to charge Trump himself with financial crimes related to his business practices, forcing two prosecutors working on the investigation to resign.
Trump leads rivals early in the race
Trump, who was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday attending the NCAA wrestling championships, is leading his early rivals for his party’s nomination. He received the support of 43 percent of Republicans in a Reuters/Ipsos poll in February, compared to 31 percent for his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not yet announced his candidacy.
Trump initially denied knowing anything about the payment to Daniels in 2018. He later acknowledged that he had reimbursed Cohen for the payment, which he called a “simple private transaction.”
Cohen, who served time in jail after pleading guilty, testified before the grand jury this week. Grand jury proceedings are not public. Outside the lower Manhattan courthouse, he told reporters he was not testifying out of a desire for revenge against Trump.
“This is all about accountability,” he said. “He must be held accountable for his filthy deeds.”
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, spoke to prosecutors last week, according to her attorney.
Trump founded Truth Social after being banned by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. He has since recovered his bills on those services, though he limited his statement to Truth Social on Saturday.
“His posts on Truth Social are deeply concerning as he declares the entire justice system corrupt,” said Jennifer Stromer-Galley, a senior associate dean at Syracuse University and an expert on the use of social media during elections.