Trump says he expects to be arrested on Tuesday, calls for protests



Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as New York prosecutors consider charges over a hush money payment to a porn star, and called on his supporters to protest.

He claimed that he got the leaks from a "corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorney's office" and did not discuss the possible charges in a post on his Truth Social account. A spokesman for Trump said the former president had not been notified of any arrest.

The former U.S. president also called for protests in his post, saying "take our nation back."

The probe comes as Trump seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2024. Trump said he will continue campaigning even if he is charged with a crime. No U.S. president, while in office or afterward, has faced criminal charges.

A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office has been investigating a $130,000 hush payment Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen made to porn actor Stormy Daniels, declined to comment.

Sources have said Bragg's office has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the waning days of Trump's 2016 campaign in exchange for Daniels' silence about an affair she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump has denied the affair happened and called the investigation by Bragg, a Democrat, a witch hunt.

An additional witness is expected to appear before the grand jury on Monday, at the request of Trump's lawyers, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

Trump's statement that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday is based on news reports that Bragg's office is going to be meeting with law enforcement to prepare for a possible indictment, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Reactions from various sides

The Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, on Saturday decried the investigation, saying it's "an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA" who seeks vengeance against Trump.

McCarthy's predecessor as speaker, Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, denounced Trump's call, saying Trump is fomenting unrest among his supporters.

Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, told ABC News Trump's possible indictment "just feels like a politically charged prosecution here." Asked about Trump's call for people to protest if he is indicted, Pence said he thinks protesters will understand "they need to do so peacefully and in a lawful manner."

Bragg's office earlier this month invited Trump to testify before the grand jury probing the payment, while Trump declined the offer, the person familiar with the matter said.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Daniels and another woman in exchange for their silence about affairs they said they'd had with Trump, among other crimes. He has said Trump directed him to make the payments. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan did not charge Trump with a crime.

Cohen, who served time in prison after pleading guilty, testified before the grand jury this week. Outside the courthouse, he told reporters he did not testify out of a desire for revenge against Trump. "This is all about accountability," he said. "He needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds."

Trump in 2018 initially disputed knowing anything about the payment to Daniels. He later acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a "simple private transaction."

A series of crime probes

The probe is one of several legal woes Trump faces as he seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency. Trump is also confronting a state-level criminal probe in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.

A special counsel named by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is currently investigating Trump's handling of classified government documents after leaving office, as well as his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Bragg's office last year won the conviction of the Trump Organization on tax fraud charges. But Bragg declined to charge Trump himself with financial crimes related to his business practices, prompting two prosecutors who worked on the probe to resign.

Trump, who was in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday and attended the NCAA wrestling championships, leads his early rivals for his party's nomination. He had the support of 43 percent of Republicans in a February Reuters/Ipsos poll, compared with 31 percent for his nearest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not yet announced his candidacy.