Trump expects to be arrested, urges protests
Washington/New York, Mar 18 (EFE).- Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that he expects to be arrested early next week and he urged citizens of the United States to protest.
“PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!,” Trump, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.
No sitting or former US president has ever been charged with a crime.
The real estate mogul turned politician is the subject of criminal investigations in Georgia and Washington, DC, in connection with his attempts to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
And the federal Justice Department named a special counsel to look into the classified documents found last year at Trump’s Florida residence.
But his message on Saturday concerned the investigation being conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into alleged hush money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign to women who claimed to have had sex with Trump.
“ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE … INDICATE THAT, WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK,” Trump said.
Hours after the post appeared, spokespeople for the former president said that neither he nor his lawyers had received notification from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg that an indictment was imminent.
The grand jury investigating the payments has heard from Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, who said that he paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, as well as from Daniels herself.
The panel is expected to interview at least one additional witness before voting on any indictments.
Trump declined Bragg’s offer of an opportunity to address the grand jury.
Despite Trump’s talk of an arrest, the usual procedure in a case like this is for the defendant to surrender to authorities and his attorneys said earlier this week that he would do so if indicted.
In this instance, the likeliest scenario would be for Trump’s US Secret Service detail to accompany him to the Manhattan DA’s Office, which has its own detective squad to handle the fingerprinting and mug shots.
From there, the former president would be taken directly to the courthouse for arraignment and then released on his own recognizance.
CNN reported Saturday that if he is charged, Trump wants to make a speech outside the courthouse.
Media outlets say that the New York Police Department has already begun contingency planning for such an eventuality, as authorities fear the possibility of disturbances at the courthouse involving supporters and opponents of the former president.
The country’s highest-ranking Republican, the speaker of the House of Representatives, reacted to Trump’s post by denouncing Bragg and vowing to discover whether any federal resources are going toward the investigation in New York.
“Here we go again – an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter, falsely suggesting that New York, one of the safest cities in the US, is overrun with crime.
“I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions,” McCarthy wrote. EFE