This content was published on Mar 18, 2023 – 16:37
March 18, 2023 – 4:37 p.m
Former US President Donald Trump expects to be arrested on Tuesday and has therefore called on his supporters to protest. “The overwhelmingly leading Republican candidate and former President of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday next week. Protest, take back our nation!” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday.
Prosecutors in New York are investigating Trump over hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels. A jury will decide whether to press charges after prosecutors have presented evidence. US media assume that this decision will be made in the coming days. Trump could become the first ex-president to be charged with an alleged crime.
It was unclear what made Trump assume that he would be arrested on Tuesday. Trump denies the allegations made by prosecutors.
Trump’s call for protests brought back memories of the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters violently entered the House of Commons in Washington to prevent the official confirmation of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Republican Trump. Earlier, Trump had incited her to repeat his false allegations of voter fraud during an appearance at the White House.
It is questionable how a possible indictment against Trump would affect his renewed application for the presidency. Trump announced in November that he wanted to run again. Even if he were charged, Trump had made it clear in advance that he had no intention of withdrawing his application. Many months or, in extreme cases, years could pass before a possible conviction. And even a guilty verdict wouldn’t legally stop Trump from running for the 2024 election.
Whether the Republican base would be willing to rally behind a candidate charged in connection with dubious hush-money payments to a porn star remains to be seen. In the past, similarly spicy allegations have not diminished Trump’s popularity with his supporters. However, he has not yet appeared in court himself.
Trump has repeatedly tried in the past to portray investigations against him as politically motivated and to stylize himself as an innocent victim. The ex-president recently described the case in New York as a “witch hunt”. In his most recent post on Truth Social on Saturday, Trump called the New York City Attorney’s office “corrupt” and “highly political.” Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, tweeted on Saturday that the prosecution’s actions were “a heinous abuse of power” and an act of political revenge.
In order to reach his supporters better, Trump seems to want to use tried and tested means again. On Friday, the ex-president reported back to Facebook for the first time in a long time. “I’m back!” Trump wrote in a short video clip showing him winning the 2016 election. The world’s largest online network had him back on the platform at the end of January – a good two years after the violent storming of the US Capitol by his supporters. Trump initially preferred to continue mobilizing his supporters through his own Twitter copy, Truth Social.
The allegations that Trump could now face indictment in New York have been with the former president for a long time. Porn actress Daniels says she had sex with Trump in 2006. Trump’s then and now estranged lawyer Michael Cohen said he paid her hush money on behalf of Trump in 2016 in order to avert damage to Trump during the election campaign. Trump and his lawyers conceded payment. Trump did not have an affair with Daniels.
The prosecutor’s office in New York is now obviously also concerned with the question of whether Trump violated campaign finance laws by paying. While hush money isn’t illegal in the United States, prosecutors could present Daniels’ $130,000 as a campaign donation illegal in New York state. Prosecutors could argue that the hush money benefited his candidacy directly.