Is Trump really being arrested this week? Here’s what we know
After years of investigation after investigation, former President Donald Trump says one of those investigations will lead to his arrest on Tuesday.
If that happens, Trump will be the first former president to face charges and likely the first presidential candidate to campaign even though he faces criminal charges.
Let’s get you up to speed.
What are the accusations against Trump?
A little refreshment: Trump currently faces at least five investigations, covering everything from his possession of classified documents to his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
But the latest rumors of an indictment involve just one of those investigations: an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Bragg’s office is investigating whether Trump and his company violated state laws by paying hush money to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels.
Daniels says she had sexual contact with Trump in 2006, a claim Trump has repeatedly denied. But his company still paid the star $130,000 in exchange for her silence during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In 2018, a campaign finance investigation into the payment led Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen to plead guilty to federal charges.
Now a grand jury is looking into the way Cohen is reimbursed and whether the method violates federal laws.
Mark Pomeranz, a former prosecutor who worked on the Manhattan investigation, told NPR. Fresh air What Trump’s company falsely concealed the payment as legal fees. Falsifying business records may be a violation of New York State criminal law.
Federal prosecutors also said that Trump himself instructed Cohen to arrange for the payments, meaning that Trump could be prosecuted for these false records.
Earlier this month, Trump was invited to testify before a grand jury, usually the last step before a person is charged.
But it’s ultimately up to Bragg whether to press these charges, and lawyers say it won’t be easy for him to win the case.
Why am I hearing that Trump will be arrested this week?
The rumor of Trump’s arrest on Tuesday began with the former president himself.
Trump released a statement on his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday morning, citing “illegal leaks from the corrupt and highly politicized Manhattan District Attorney’s office.”
He added that the arrest would be “based on an old and completely debunked (by many other prosecutors!) fairy tale.”
Trump’s lawyer Susan Necheles told NPR that Trump’s assumptions are “based on media reports” and hint that Trump’s legal team did not receive advance notice of the upcoming indictment.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office this weekend declined to comment on whether it would seek an arrest warrant for Trump anytime soon.
Several media outlets, including the Associated Press, reported that law enforcement officials in New York City were preparing for the arraignment, but called the time for such an event “in the coming weeks.”
What will a Trump arrest look like?
Bringing charges against Trump would be a major logistical and security test for Bragg’s office, a move that would require coordination between Trump’s lawyers, the Secret Service and local law enforcement.
Trump will need to be brought in for fingerprinting and will likely face a New York court to face charges.
All this will be complicated by public attention. Since Trump first predicted his arrest, Trump has reached out to Truth Social several times to urge his supporters to protest.
“We just can’t let this happen anymore,” he wrote on Saturday. “They are killing our nation while we sit and watch.”
The rhetoric drew ominous comparisons to Trump’s words ahead of the 2020 attack on the US Capitol.
Bragg makes it clear that he takes threats seriously. As first reported to Politico, the district attorney on Sunday sent out an internal memo to staff reassuring his colleagues that their safety was his top priority.
The next morning, journalists noticed The NYPD erects metal barricades around the perimeter of the Manhattan Criminal Court.
How are Republicans reacting?
Prominent Republicans have also tried to dissuade Trump supporters from the protests.
Speaking at a GOP retreat over the weekend, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., said he wants everyone to remain calm.
“I don’t think people should protest this, no. And I think President Trump, if you talk to him, doesn’t believe it either,” McCarthy said, according to NBC News.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, a reliable predictor of conservative sentiment, tweeted that Trump supporters don’t really need to show because they could get revenge in the 2024 election.
Here it is again – an outrageous abuse of power by a radical district attorney who lets violent criminals get away while he pursues political revenge on President Trump.
I am directing the appropriate committees to immediately investigate whether federal funds are being used to undermine our democracy by… https://t.co/elpbh7LeWn
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 18, 2023
But McCarthy, Green and other Republicans are also strongly defending Trump, dismissing the investigation as politically motivated.
The leader of the House of Representatives tweeted later on Saturday. that he asked the committees of the House of Representatives “investigate whether federal funds are being used to undermine our democracy through election interference with politically motivated persecution.”
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, D-Ohio, led the call, sending a letter to Bragg on Monday urging him to provide all “communications, documents, and testimony” relating to the Trump investigation.
Can Trump still run for president?
Republican support could prove to be a key barometer of Trump’s chances for the presidency in 2024 if the former president is arrested.
There is nothing in US law that would prohibit a candidate found guilty of a crime from campaigning. And Trump has repeatedly indicated that he will continue to move forward.
An arrest would no doubt make the physical work of the campaign more difficult, getting him off the trail at a time when other conservative candidates are considering a call.
But in narrative, Trump has already turned the frenzy over a possible accusation into fodder for his overarching message of political martyrdom, creating a clear “us vs. them” line that his rivals dared to cross.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered by many to be the top Republican presidential candidate, walked that line like a tightrope when weighing in during the investigation on Monday.
“I don’t know why pay a porn star to keep silent about an alleged affair. I can’t talk about it, ”he said, causing laughter in the hall.
But he later added: “The real victims are ordinary Americans, ordinary New Yorkers who are being victimized every day by the reckless political agenda of these [George] Soros [funded] DA.”
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