Donald Trump has said that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and called on supporters to protest, as Manhattan prosecutors continue to investigate allegations that the ex-president paid hush money to buy a porn star’s silence.
Trump, who is campaigning as a Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, on Saturday wrote on his Truth Social platform that he “will be arrested on Tuesday of next week”, citing unspecified leaks.
He claimed that “no crime” could be proved and that any action against him would be “based on an old & fully debunked . . . fairytale”.
“PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” He posted.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is reportedly handling the case, declined to comment.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has alleged she had an affair with Trump. The pornographic film actress sued the ex-president in 2018 to bypass a non-disclosure agreement that was set up shortly before the 2016 election.
Clifford was paid $130,000 via an entity established by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer. Cohen was sentenced in 2018 to three years in jail after pleading guilty to charges including campaign finance violations linked to the payment.
The actress had previously signed a statement saying she did not have an affair with the former president, which was presented to the media by Cohen. Clifford later claimed she had been threatened to make her remain silent about the matter. Trump’s representatives have denied he had an affair with Clifford.
The former president is facing a string of legal challenges, including a probe on potential mishandling of government documents, led by a special counsel, as well as an investigation into his efforts to subvert the 2020 election results in Georgia. Trump denies wrongdoing.
In December, the Trump Organization was convicted of tax fraud in a criminal case pursued by Manhattan prosecutors. In September, New York state attorney-general Letitia James sued Trump and three of his adult children for what she described as an “outstanding” fraud, a case that could generate penalties of at least $250mn.
In addition, a congressional committee probing the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 last year, said Trump should be prosecuted for aiding the failed effort to overturn the 2020 election results. He should also be criminally charged for obstructing an official government proceeding, conspiring to defraud the US and knowingly making false statements to authorities, the committee said.
In February last year, the two top prosecutors leading the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation resigned in a move that led some to speculate at the time that the district attorney’s office had taken a step back.
Several leading Republicans, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, came to Trump’s defence on Saturday, accusing prosecutors of being politically motivated.
McCarthy, who has had a rollercoaster relationship with the former president in recent years, said in a tweet that he would direct Republican committee chairs in Congress to “immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions”.
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy said.
Additional reporting by Joe Miller and Lauren Fedor