Trump camp slams 'political' prosecution, Democrats brace for 'unrest'



Senior Republicans on Sunday echoed former U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that a looming indictment in a hush-money case would amount to political "persecution," while Democrats warned his call for protests could trigger a repeat of chaos his supporters unleashed at the U.S. Capitol.

In a social media post on Saturday, Trump said he expected to be "arrested" on Tuesday in connection with a grand jury inquiry into a 2016 payment to a porn star, allegedly to keep her from revealing a past affair with Trump.

Even potential Republican rivals in the still-evolving 2024 presidential race reacted sharply.

"I'm taken aback at the idea of indicting a former president of the United States at a time when there's a crime wave in New York City," Trump's former Vice President Mike Pence said on ABC's "This Week."

"It just feels like a politically charged prosecution here," said Pence. "I just feel like it's just not what the American people want to see."

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has not confirmed any plans for an indictment, though multiple signs – including the recent appearances before the grand jury of Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen and the porn star known as Stormy Daniels – point to a quick conclusion.

Trump has denied any untoward involvement with Daniels. But law enforcement agencies are preparing for a possible indictment, with chaotic scenes outside the Manhattan Criminal Court a near-certainty if it does happen.

The stunning possibility of a former president being arrested – a historic first – has fanned passions and injected considerable uncertainty into the 2024 campaign.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal supporter of the former president, called a possible indictment "an effort that's ongoing, never-ending to destroy Donald Trump, everything around Donald Trump."

Even Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, an outspoken Trump critic and a potential rival for the 2024 nomination, suggested an indictment could generate a powerful backlash."I think it's building a lot of sympathy for the former president," Sununu told CNN Sunday talk show "State of the Union."

Democrats said they feared Trump's call could provoke violence.

Democratic Senator Mark Kelly recalled being in the Senate chamber when the January 6 riots forced him and other lawmakers to seek shelter, and expressed concern that Trump urging protests could spark a repeat of life-threatening unrest.

"I think it's going to be important for law enforcement to pay attention to protests and make sure it doesn't rise to the level of violence" seen at the Capitol two years ago, Kelly said on CNN.