Former President Donald Trump called on his supporters to protest after he shared in a social media post that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday.
"IT’S TIME!!!" Trump wrote. "WE JUST CAN’T ALLOW THIS ANYMORE. THEY’RE KILLING OUR NATION AS WE SIT BACK & WATCH. WE MUST SAVE AMERICA!PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!"
The possible indictment is in connection to a hush money payment of $130,000 sent to adult film star Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election, for which now-former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was later reimbursed.
"The simple fact is we live in the real world; it's a former president charged with a crime, and there's a public relations element to all of it," said Elliot Williams, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department.
Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion and campaign finance violations in 2018.
Earlier this week, Cohen testified before a Manhattan grand jury investigating the hush money payments he made on behalf of Trump.
He told reporters he doesn’t wish revenge on the former president.
"I don't want to see anyone, including Donald Trump, indicted, prosecuted, convicted, incarcerated, simply because I fundamentally disagree with them. This is all about accountability. He needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds," said Cohen.
Manhattan prosecutors have previously invited Trump to testify. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Former federal prosecutor Kevin O’Brien says if the former president is indicted, it may result in just a misdemeanor.
"It's almost anticlimactic. We're talking about the former president of the United States, and he may be indicted for something that's punishable as nothing more than a misdemeanor, which is not the way you want to see the resources of the system expended," said O’Brien.
Nonetheless, an indictment would make things complicated.
"It's significant, and it's also logistically complicated to arrest a president of the United States; he has secret service everywhere, all of this creates a mess both legally and practically," said Williams.
It’s unclear how all of this could hurt Trump’s presidential campaign, if at all.
O’Brien says he believes a case like this could extend past the 2024 presidential election.
"You know, the idea that someone running for president who could win is going to be undergoing this process at the same time under which you might be convicted of fraud in a crime against the public, so to speak. It's staggering, really," said O’Brien.
Several Republicans took to Twitter in support of Trump, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who called for an investigation into the prosecutors allegedly preparing to indict the former president.
"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," tweeted McCarthy. "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."
New York law enforcement is preparing for a possible indictment.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has not issued a statement.
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