Trump predicts imminent arrest and calls for protests
It’s unclear if Trump’s legal team briefed him on an impending indictment or if he’s speculating based on media coverage.
A Trump spokesperson clarified that there was no actual “notification” of an impending arrest. The spokesperson added that he would be “in Texas next weekend for a giant rally. Make America Great Again!”
A person familiar with Trump’s operations said they were not actively organizing protests.
A spokesperson for Bragg declined to comment on Saturday. An NYPD spokesperson declined to comment. A Secret Service spokesman said they were unable to comment on specific protection plans or beneficiary movements.
Trump played golf Saturday morning and is scheduled to travel to Oklahoma Saturday afternoon to watch the NCAA wrestling championship.
A flurry of reporting on Friday night said Bragg had asked law enforcement authorities in New York to begin discussions about the security issues and logistics involved in responding to a possible Trump indictment there. . It’s unclear whether the potential criminal charge would result in Trump being arrested at his new Florida home, but one of Trump’s attorneys, Joseph Tacopina, said Trump would travel to face the charges in Manhattan if a grand jury would return an indictment within days.
But Trump’s new call for supporters to “take back our nation” is indicative of the kind of civil unrest he could spark if he faces charges. His description of his early arrest followed a long rambling thread in which he claimed “the American dream is dead” and falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him. The rhetoric is similar to his comments on January 6, 2021, when he urged supporters to “fight like hell” to keep Joe Biden from taking office.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’ll have no more country,” Trump said at the time, before thousands of supporters marched to the Capitol and stormed the building, exposing danger Congress and the transfer of power.
Trump’s clarion call to his supporters came in a pair of rambling social media posts early Saturday that painted a bleak, dystopian view of America and suggested his arrest was imminent.
“Our nation is now third world and dying. The American dream is dead! Radical left anarchists have stolen [sic] our presidential election, and with it, the heart of our [sic] country. American patriots are rounded up and held captive like animals, while criminals and left-wing thugs are allowed to roam the streets, killing and burning without retaliation,” Trump wrote.
Bragg’s predecessor as district attorney, Cy Vance Jr., led a lengthy investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices. That investigation resulted in tax evasion charges against two Trump business entities and the group’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. He pleaded guilty last year and a jury convicted the Trump Companies on those charges.
However, the investigation yielded no charges against Trump himself until Vance was replaced by Bragg early last year. One of the prosecutors leading that investigation has resigned, saying Bragg was reluctant to pursue a massive tax evasion and business fraud case.
However, Bragg’s investigation has intensified in recent months into a much narrower question: whether Trump committed a crime by disguising a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 as legal fees instead. than in spending aimed at bolstering his then-current presidential term. campaign.
The former Trump lawyer who made the arrangements, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges, including one admitting a violation of federal campaign finance law in connection with the payment. However, Trump was never indicted for his role.
Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing related to the payment and denied Daniels’ claim that the couple had sex on one occasion in 2006.
Trump’s legal straits aren’t limited to the Manhattan investigation. He faces an early arraignment in Fulton County, Georgia, where a district attorney investigated his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He also faces escalating legal threats from the part of a special counsel investigating his attempted election subversion and his efforts to prevent the government from recovering dozens of sensitive national security documents hidden in his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Meridith McGraw and Alex Isenstadt contributed to this report.