A former President of the United State, Donald Trump, said he expects to be “arrested” Tuesday over an alleged hush-money payment to a porn star in 2016.
He urged his supporters to protest, as prosecutors gave signs of moving closer to an indictment.
If indicted, he would be the first former US president to be charged with a crime, marking an explosive and unpredictable development in the 2024 White House race as Trump seeks again to clinch 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.