Former President Donald Trump expects to be arrested Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and called on his supporters to protest in a Truth Social post Saturday.
“Illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has allowed records to be set in violent crime & whose leader is funded by George Soros, indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven, and based on an old and 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 wrote.
“Protest, take our nation back!” Trump said.
A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office declined to comment to Reuters.
Reaction included shock, including anti-Trump Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who has said he will be backing Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 presidential election cycle.
“If this happens, Trump will be reelected in a landslide victory,” Musk tweeted.
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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office earlier this year began presenting evidence to a grand jury investigating a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had an affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair happened.
The payment, if not properly accounted for, could result in a misdemeanor charge related to falsifying of business records. That might be raised to a felony if the false accounting was intended to cover up a second crime, such as a campaign finance violation, The New York Times has reported.
Trump was Republican president from 2017 to 2021 and has said he will make a bid to return to the White House in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
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“Our nation is now third world & dying,” Trump wrote. “The American dream is dead! The radical left anarchists have stolen our presidential election, and with it, the heart of our country. American patriots are being arrested & held in captivity like animals, while criminals & leftist thugs are allowed to roam the streets, killing & burning with no retribution.
“Millions are flooding through our open borders, many from prisons & mental institutions. Crime & inflation are destroying over very way of life.”
Bragg’s office earlier this month invited Trump to testify before the grand jury probing the hush money payments, according to Trump’s lawyer, Susan Necheles. Legal experts said that was a sign an indictment was close.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Daniels and another woman, among other crimes. He has said Trump directed him to make the payments. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan did not charge Trump with a crime.
Cohen testified before the grand jury Monday and again on Wednesday, according to his lawyer, Lanny Davis. Grand jury proceedings are not public.
Daniels’ lawyer said she spoke with prosecutors last week.
The probe is one of several legal woes Trump faces as he seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency. Trump is also confronting a state-level criminal probe in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.
A special counsel named by Biden administration Attorney General Merrick Garland is currently investigating Trump’s handling of classified government documents after leaving office, as well as his efforts to challenge the 2020 election.
Bragg’s office last year won the conviction of the Trump Organization on tax fraud charges. But Bragg declined to charge Trump himself with financial crimes related to his business practices, prompting two prosecutors who worked on the probe to resign.
Trump leads his early rivals for his party’s nomination, holding the support of 43% of Republicans in a February Reuters/Ipsos poll, compared with 31% for his nearest rival DeSantis, who has not yet announced his candidacy.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., tweeted a similar sentiment as Musk did above, saying this continued search for a crime of Trump will only make Democrats’ political rival stronger.
“If the Manhattan DA indicts President Trump, he will ultimately win even bigger than he is already going to win,” she wrote. “And those Republicans that stand by and cheer for his persecution or do nothing to stop it will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base.
“President Trump did nothing wrong and has always fought for the American people, and we all know it, which is why we love him. And any Republican who thinks the Democrats will stop this madness once Trump is out of the way is fooling themselves.”
Greene also denounced the weaponization of government against dissent and its political rivals.
“Weaponized government and political persecution are new chapters in their playbook and they will use those methods against anyone who stands in their way,” she continued. “And we are absolutely fed up with the two-tiered justice system or rather injustice system in America. The base has had enough of Republicans that won’t stand up for the people and against the Democrats war against Trump, his admin, his supporters, and traditional values.”
Information from Reuters and Agence France Presse was used throughout this report.