Washington
CNN
 — 

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday he expects to be arrested in connection with the yearslong investigation into a hush money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels and called on his supporters to protest any such move.

In a social media post, Trump, referring to himself, said the “leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States will be arrested on Tuesday of next week” – though he did not say why he expects to be arrested. His team said after Trump’s post that it had not received any notifications from prosecutors.

CNN’s John Miller reported Friday that meetings have been going on throughout the week among city, state and federal law enforcement agencies in New York City about security preparations for a possible indictment of Trump.

In an echo of Trump’s appeals to supporters in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, he called Saturday for action, writing: “Protest, take our nation back.”

The former president has been agitating for his team to get his base riled up and believes that an indictment would help him politically, multiple people briefed on the matter told CNN.

Any indictment of the former president, who is running for reelection in 2024, would mark a historic first and quickly change the political conversation around an already divisive figure. While Trump has an extensive history of civil litigation both before and after taking office, a criminal charge would represent a dramatic escalation of his legal woes as he works to recapture the White House.

Another witness is expected to testify Monday before the grand jury investigating the hush money payments, according to a source familiar with the investigation. It is not clear whether this would be the final witness before it votes on a possible indictment.

Trump’s legal team has been anticipating that an indictment will happen soon and has been preparing behind the scenes for the next steps.

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.

A spokesperson for Trump said earlier Saturday that the former president has not received a notification from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office regarding any potential indictment, but was “rightfully highlighting his innocence” in his post.

Previewing a potential line of defense from Republicans on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, tweeted Saturday that any potential indictment of the former president would represent “an outrageous abuse of power” from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Mike Pence, who served as vice president under Trump, echoed McCarthy’s message on Saturday. “Well, like many Americans, I’m just – I’m taken aback,” Pence told Breitbart News in a radio interview. The former vice president claimed the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation “reeks” of “political prosecution.”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Saturday.

Trump has complained privately that he believes he is going to being indicted only because he thinks Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “hates him,” according to a source familiar with what Trump has said.

His call for a protest in response to a potential arrest echoes his final days in office, when he repeatedly urged his supporters to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election, culminating in the deadly January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Some of Trump’s advisers had urged him privately not to call for protests, concerned about the optics of a mass protest in the streets of Manhattan growing out of control or resembling the 2021 insurrection.

Trump’s defense team is expected to be notified following any possible indictment and then they would engage in negotiations for surrender and an initial appearance.

Another witness is expected to testify Monday before the grand jury investigating the hush money payments, according to a source familiar with the investigation. It is not clear whether this would be the final witness before it votes on a possible indictment.

Trump’s team has said repeatedly that he will not accept an invitation to testify before the grand jury. But multiple sources familiar with his legal team’s thinking says that if there is an indictment, he would negotiate an agreed upon surrender date with the district attorney’s office.

Trump’s team has been huddled all week planning for various scenarios, including Trump traveling to New York as well as having a remote hearing where he stays at Mar-a-Lago, according to sources familiar with the meetings.

Some members of his legal team are advising Trump to ask for a remote appearance for security reasons should an indictment occur but it is unclear if he would agree to that as he has also discussed with his team wanting to give a statement at the courthouse, sources said.

Trump is also considering hiring a new TV-friendly lawyer who can handle the outside media, sources said. The former president is known for hiring lawyers and advisers based on their TV presence and ability to defend him in the media.

Two lawyers currently involved in the Justice Department’s investigations around the former president, Jim Trusty and Christina Bobb, were brought into Trump’s fold after he saw them on television.

The campaign is also adding staff to focus on messaging around the potential indictment, a detail first reported by The New York Times.

Law enforcement discussions have been about how to navigate the potential indictment for a criminal charge by a New York county grand jury and the choreography around the possibility of an unprecedented arrest of a former president.

Should he be indicted, the former president is expected to surrender and go through the process of being processed and arraigned at the courthouse, which includes fingerprinting and mug shot, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

However, there could be some accommodations to expedite how quickly Trump is processed and how long he is in the building, the source said. For example, the source explained, officials would try to get him in front of a judge immediately.

The New York Police Department did not immediately respond to CNN’s inquiry following Trump’s posts on Saturday. But New York City law enforcement sources told CNN that security for a possible indictment against Trump was discussed as part of the NYPD daily briefing Saturday morning and that social media is being monitored daily for any threats.

Law enforcement sources know that Trump has a loyal following and they’re taking a wait-and-see approach, one source told CNN. They don’t yet know how many people could be planning on showing up in Manhattan this week, but officials are monitoring the situation. A more detailed security briefing is slated for Monday.

Trump’s US Secret Service detail would deliver him to the Manhattan district attorney’s Office for fingerprinting and then taking mugshots in offices of the district attorney’s detective squad. As is customary in cases where a defendant is allowed to voluntarily surrender, after arrest processing, the former president would be brought directly to an arraignment before a judge where he would likely be released on his own recognizance.

Law enforcement officials who are privy to the discussions said several concerns have been discussed in the planning process, including courthouse security and the potential for demonstrations or rallies outside of the courthouse by Trump supporters or counter demonstrations by anti-Trump protesters, with the risk of the two groups clashing.

This story has been updated with additional developments.



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