Former President Donald Trump said that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation, while he also called on his supporters to protest the move.
Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform, that “illegal leaks” from the D.A. showed that he would be arrested. “Protest, take our nation back!” he wrote in all caps.
He did not specify what he has been told about an indictment and potential charges, but his post comes amid reports that his lawyers are preparing for it to happen. Trump called the investigation by D.A. Alvin Bragg a “fairytale.”
The New York investigation reportedly has to do with so-called “hush money” payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 presidential election. Trump attorney told MSNBC that the payments were “not a crime” and that Trump was merely following the advice of his attorney at the time, Michael Cohen. Cohen has testified before a grand jury.
Trump’s call for protests evoke his rallying of his supporters in advance of January 6, 2021, when he used social media to invite crowds to an event held at the Ellipse as Congress was preparing to certify the Electoral College count in favor of Joe Biden. Trump urged his supporters to then march to the Capitol, where many stormed the building, forcing lawmakers to flee and temporarily suspending the proceedings.
Trump’s claim that he will be arrested could be a way for him to scramble prosecutors’ timeline, as there already were reports that law enforcement was preparing for such an event next week.
An indictment of Trump would be unprecedented in American history. Richard Nixon faced potential criminal charges related to the Watergate scandal after resigning in 1974, but he was pardoned by his successor, President Gerald Ford.
A Trump indictment also would occur as he wages a campaign for president, and he may be facing more charges beyond New York.
Trump also faces potential charges from prosecutors in Fulton County, GA over charges that he and his supporters interfered in the 2020 election. A special federal prosecutor, Jack Smith, also is investigating Trump’s role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, as well as the former president’s handling of documents marked classified that were found at his Florida residence.
If he is indicted and arrested, Trump likely will use the moment to bolster his contention that he is being unfairly targeted by state and federal prosecutors. As he runs for another presidential term, he has characterized those efforts as politically motivated while vowing retribution were he to return to the White House. In a video he released last week, he also vowed to dismantle the federal government “deep state,” while he said that the greatest threat to western civilization was not Russia, but “probably more than anything else ourselves and some of the horrible, USA-hating people that represent us.”