Former President Donald Trump said in a social media post that he expects to be arrested Tuesday as a New York prosecutor is eyeing charges in a case examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president.
Trump said in a post on his Truth Social network early Saturday that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”
Trump attorney Susan Necheles explained in a text to CBS News on Saturday that this is speculation from the former president.
“As President Trump states, his post is based on the media reports. Since this is a political prosecution, the District Attorney’s office has engaged in a practice of leaking everything to the press, rather than communicating with President Trump’s attorneys as would be done in a normal case.”
Trump did not provide any details on social media about how he knew about the expected arrest. In his postings, he repeated allegations that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden was stolen and he urged his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
Early Saturday afternoon, Trump posted another missive on his Truth Social network, saying, “WE ARE A NATION IN STEEP DECLINE, BEING LED INTO WORLD WAR III BY A CROOKED POLITICIAN WHO DOESN’T EVEN KNOW HE’S ALIVE, BUT WHO IS SURROUNDED BY EVIL & SINISTER PEOPLE WHO, BASED ON THEIR ACTIONS ON DEFUNDING THE POLICE, DESTROYING OUR MILITARY, OPEN BORDERS, NO VOTER I.D., INFLATION, RAISING TAXES, & MUCH MORE, CAN ONLY HATE OUR NOW FAILING USA.”
A Trump spokesperson said Trump has a rally planned next week.
“There has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office, to NBC and other fake news carriers, that the George Soros-funded Radical Left Democrat prosecutor in Manhattan has decided to take his Witch-Hunt to the next level,” the Trump spokesperson said Saturday. “President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system. He will be in Texas next weekend for a giant rally. Make America Great Again!”
There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president.
Still, the Trump campaign is preparing for a “robust” and aggressive public relations operation to push back on potential impending indictments, according to a senior Trump advisor. They are coordinating surrogates and a messaging offensive, they say, to engage head on with the district attorney’s office.
Law enforcement officials in New York have been making security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg addressed the security issue in an email to employees Saturday, telling them that “your safety is our top priority.” The contents of the email, which were first reported by Politico, were confirmed to CBS News.
“We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,” Bragg wrote. “Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.”
Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to reporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, was asked about Trump’s claims.
“Well, here we go again,” Pence responded. “Another politically charged prosecution against the former president of the United States … I think many Americans are taken aback at the unprecedented indictment of a former president, but also the fact that the Manhattan D.A., in the midst of a crime wave in New York City, then says that indicting the former president is his highest priority. It tells you everything you need to know about the liberal left in this country.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also weighed in, calling the hypothetical move “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA,” and saying Congress will investigate.
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” the California Republican tweeted. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
Manhattan prosecutors investigating Trump’s alleged “hush money” payment of $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 recently invited the former president to testify in the probe, a step that commonly comes before an indictment in New York.
Trump says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 presidential campaign.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated former attorney Michael Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.
— Fin Gomez contributed to this report