By TN Ashok
Washington, Apr 1 (IANS): Former US President Donald Trump called on his supporters to rally round him and protest nationwide as he expects to be arrested coming Tuesday in anticipation of an indictment from a New York jury of a Manhattan court on the years-long investigation into a hush money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels and the AG's tax fraud case.
"Protest, take our nation back," Trump said. Referring to himself in a social media post, he said the "leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States will be arrested Tuesday next week. But he did not detail the reasons for his possible arraignment and arrest. However, Trump's legal team said, following his social post, that they had not received any notifications so far from the prosecutors.
Meetings after meetings have been held through the week between state and federal law enforcement agencies in New York City on the preparations' to be made for security ahead of a possible indictment of Trump, media reports said adding the US was already on the edge fearing a repeat of the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill.
Trump has been pushing his team to get his base riled up in the belief that the indictment would give him considerable political leverage, CNN said in a report.
Any indictment of Trump, who has already announced his 2024 re-election is expected to change the political narrative around a controversial politician, considered a divisive figure by political strategists.
As Trump has an elaborate history of civil litigation, both before and after his presidency in 2016 to 2023, any criminal charge against him would dramatically alter his legal woes even as he works against odds within the GOP (The Republican Party) to recapture the White House in a 3rd time bid.
Meanwhile, CNN says another witness is expected to testify on Monday before the grand jury investigating the hush money payments, the cornerstone of New York District Attorney Alan Bragg's base for arranging the former president. Whether this witness would be the last in this case occurred during the 2016 pre-polls when Trump allegedly paid off adult star Stormy Daniels in his reportedly stormy affair with her remains to be seen. Republicans say this is a fabricated case.
Trump's legal team is now behind the scenes preparing for the steps to be taken should the former president be indicted. Joe Tacopina, an attorney for Trump, later said the former president had based his claims on press reports.
"No one tells us anything which is very frustrating. President Trump is basing his response on press reports," Tacopina said in a statement to CNN. He also said he did not expect a former president to be handcuffed behind his back to do a perp walk, though Trump has told his advisors such an act would protect him as a martyr in a stupendous drama before the media and cameras across the nation.
A Trump spokesperson said while the former president has not received any notification from the Manhattan DA's Office on any possible indictment, he was only "rightfully highlighting his innocence" in his post.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, tweeted on Saturday any potential indictment of Trump would be "an outrageous abuse of power" from the NY DA's office.
Mike Pence, vice president under Trump, endorsed McCarthy's statement saying: "Well, like many Americans, I'm just - I'm taken aback." He told Breitbart News in a radio interview that the Manhattan district attorney's investigation "reeks" of "political persecution." The DA's Office refused to comment. Trump reportedly told his advisors that the NY DA Alan Bragg hates him.
Media reports in the US claim that Trumps' call for a protest seems like history replaying the January 6 action of the ex-President to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election declaring Joe Biden as President that culminated in the deadly January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
Some of Trump's advisers have urged him in private to call off his appeal for protest as they feared that the optics of a mass protest in the streets of Manhattan could spiral out of control repeating the 2021 insurrection.
Meanwhile Bragg said in an email to staff on Saturday that his office will "not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York."