Former President Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested next week and called for his supporters to protest as a New York grand jury continues to investigate the alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. The reality show vet took to his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday morning, March 18 to make the announcement with an all-caps message. A few hours later, a spokesperson for Trump said that there had been no notification of an indictment, according to The Washington Post.
Susan Necheles, Trump’s lawyer, added that her client got his info from “media reports” and accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office of conducting a “political prosecution” with the criminal investigation, per the outlet. A spokesperson for Bragg’s office declined to comment in response to Trump’s post, per MSNBC.
On Truth Social, Trump followed up his original post with the all-caps message that read: “It’s time, we just can’t allow this anymore. They’re killing our nation as we sit back & watch. We must save America.” He added, “Protest, protest, protest.”
The message appeared to be an attempt to embolden his base, as Trump’s rhetoric was similar to his January 6 speech at the Ellipse, where he told his supporters to “fight like hell” because they were “not going to have a country anymore”. Following that speech, his followers attacked the Capital in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president, which resulted in several deaths, including police officers, and millions of dollars of damages.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who was the House speaker when the Capital was stormed, denounced Trump’s message on Saturday. She accused him of posting it “to keep himself in the news and to foment unrest among his supporters,” according to The Wall Street Journal. She added, “Rightfully, our legal system will decide how to hold him accountable.”
Donald Trump said the US authorities would arrest him on Tuesday.
The former US president claims he is awaiting arrest and is urging his followers to protest future allegations.
A message about this appeared on his social network Truth Social
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A member of Trump’s legal team, Joseph Tacopina, said on Friday, March 17 that his client will follow the normal procedure in surrendering to face criminal charges if he is indicted, per MSNBC. The statement comes as speculation grows that Trump will not surrender and will end up facing extradition from his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. The outlet also reported that New York law enforcement are preparing for an indictment, and the possibility of protests and violence to follow.
Trump’s post appeared to be in anticipation of an indictment by Manhattan D.A. Bragg over the $130,000 payment Daniels received to try to prevent her from sharing her story about her alleged Trump affair during the 2016 campaign. Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen paid the entertainer to try to silence her, with Trump’s promise that he would reimburse him. Cohen had claimed that he gave the money on Trump’s order, and because of the nature of the transaction, it could be considered an improper campaign donation, per The New York Times.
Trump, who is also running for president again in 2024, recently clapped back at the possibility of an indictment in a short video on his Truth Social platform. “Our country has become the investigation capital of the world. Actually, that’s all we do, and it’s only good for our many enemies, our enemies that are laughing at us all over the world. They could not be happier as they brilliantly plot our demise and destruction. We have to get back to making America great again,” he said.
Cohen had been sentenced to three years in prison, after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and charges of lying to Congress regarding hush money payments back in 2018. He began his prison sentence in 2019, but was released on house arrest in May 2020. He was released from prison in July of that year. When Cohen pleaded guilty, he had claimed that the former president was the one who had ordered him to pay Daniels.
The Stormy Daniels case isn’t the only possible indictment that Trump is facing. The former president is also facing an investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. An excerpt of the report that was released beforehand found that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud and there were recommendations for perjury charges.
Besides the Georgia and New York investigations, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol recommended four criminal referrals to the Justice Department during a hearing in December. The committee referred him for counts of obstructing an official proceeding, attempting to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make false statements, and insurrection. The DOJ is also conducting its own investigation of the Jan. 6 attack.