Donald Trump, a former US president, stated he anticipates being “arrested” on Tuesday in connection with an alleged 2016 hush-money payment to a porn star.
While prosecutors showed signs of getting closer to an indictment, he urged his supporters to protest.
He would be the first former US president to be charged with a crime if indicted, which would be a shocking and unexpected development in the 2024 presidential election as Trump tries to reclaim the Republican nomination.
“Leading Republican candidate & former President of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” the 76-year-old said Saturday on his Truth Social platform, adding: “Protest, take our nation back!”
Not even a conviction in the hush money case would prevent Trump from running, but an indictment could have major consequences, galvanizing his critics but also electrifying his supporters.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reacted with fury, accusing New York prosecutors of pursuing “political vengeance” against Trump. McCarthy vowed on Twitter to launch a congressional probe of the matter.
But his Democratic predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, who was still speaker when Trump was impeached for inciting the January 6, 2021 rioting in the US Capitol, said his announcement would “foment unrest among his supporters.”
“He cannot hide from his violations of the law, disrespect for our elections and incitements to violence,” Pelosi added.
The current investigation, led by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat, centers on $130,000 paid weeks before the 2016 polls to stop porn star Stormy Daniels from going public about an affair she says she had with Trump years earlier.
Trump has denied having had an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and has insisted the probe amounted to “blatant and unconstitutional” election interference and that the procedure wasn’t “a prosecution, it’s a persecution.”
His lawyer told CNBC on Friday that Trump, if indicted, would surrender to face criminal charges.