Donald Trump calls for protest on Truth Social, saying he will soon be arrested
Trump’s advisers and lawyers have been expecting for days that he will be charged in the New York case, which hinges on a $130,000 payment to an adult movie star.
But Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said on Saturday morning there had been no ‘notice’ of an indictment and said Trump supporters should attend a rally he is organizing next week in Texas for re-election in 2024.
Susan Necheles, a lawyer for Trump, said her remark about the timing of his arrest was gleaned from the media on Friday about local and federal law enforcement expecting to meet early next week to discuss security and logistics related to Trump’s anticipated indictment.
“Since this is a political prosecution, the District Attorney’s Office has engaged in a practice of leaking everything to the press, rather than contacting President Trump’s attorneys as would be the case in a normal case,” Necheles said in a statement.
Two other people close to the former president who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations said they were not sure, or even whether, he would be charged. They said advisers and lawyers on his team had warned Trump in recent days that an indictment could come early next week, including the possibility of Tuesday, but were unsure why he chose that. that day in his message.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The prosecutor, the ex-president and the ‘zombie’ case that came back to life
Trump’s message echoed his call at the end of 2020 for his supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to protest the election results, urging them to “Be there, it will be wild.” On Saturday, Truth Social users posted comments such as “all hell will break loose” in response to the possibility of Trump’s indictment.
Mary McCord, director of a democracy advocacy center at Georgetown Law School, said Trump stokes extremists who might engage in violence.
“Trump knows the call-and-response impact of his words on his most ardent supporters. is not just the request, but the permission for them to act, violently if necessary,” McCord added. “Protest is protected and valued in America, but violence and incitement to violence is illegal and not protected by the First Amendment.”
Frank Pavone, Trump supporter and anti-abortion activist, wrote: “Oh yes, we will protest, and it will be extremely resounding!”
A preliminary security planning meeting has already taken place recently involving the district attorney’s office and the New York Police Department, according to a person familiar with the planning. This person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.
Trump’s indictment would be a jaw-dropping moment: A former president, who faces a slew of other investigations into his handling of classified documents and the Jan. 6 attack, has been charged with a pay-per-view adult film star Stormy Daniels.
The case involves a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer, made to Daniels, an adult film actress, before the 2016 presidential election, and whether it was made to keep her silent on allegations that she and Trump had an affair, which he denied.
Cohen acknowledged making the payment, saying he expected to be reimbursed; this reimbursement would have been documented as payment for legal work.
The case had been under scrutiny for years by authorities, but prosecutors have so far declined to prosecute Trump. But in recent weeks, Bragg has escalated the matter.
Meanwhile, Trump’s team has begun fundraising in anticipation of his arrest, after the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago home last year led to his best fundraising days. funds since leaving the White House, as reported by The Washington Post.
“MANHATTAN DA COULD BE CLOSE TO CHARGE TRUMP,” read a pitch on Saturday morning. “Patriot – With the Deep State targeting President Trump with fake witch hunts like never before, we had to be sure you saw the *private and secure* message he wrote for YOU. See below!”
Trump and his team are gearing up for a “political war”, in the words of one adviser, to attack the credibility of Bragg, Cohen and Daniels. And Trump wants to force other Republicans to publicly defend him against the investigation, the adviser said.
Investigators continue to examine his role on January 6 as well as the potential mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Separately, Georgia prosecutors are nearing the end of their investigation into his efforts to nullify the state’s election results.
Advisers said Trump had focused on investigations in recent months and had long feared a possible arrest or indictment.
After posting on Truth Social, Trump reportedly played golf Saturday at his club in Jupiter, Florida.
Justine McDaniel and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.