Donald Trump with Stephanie Clifford (“Stormy Daniels”) in 2006
Donald Trump may be indicted as early as Tuesday on a financial felony charge.
A Manhattan grand jury has been hearing the prosecutor’s case that Trump covered up a $130,000 payment in October 2016, weeks before the US Presidential electionto adult film star Stormy Daniels. The money was to ensure that Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — did not reveal sexual encounters in 2006 with Trump, 18 months after he and Melania Knauss were married and four months after their son Barron was born.
The payment from Trump Organization accounts, made through Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, was disguised as a “legal expense”.
Prosecutors indicated earlier this month that Trump could be indicted, recommending to his lawyers that the reality TV star appear before the grand jury to give his version of events.
Trump has declined so far. A final witness is reportedly being heard by the grand jury soon.
Trump’s Dog-Whistle Call To Supporters and GOP Politicians
Trump posted on Saturday morning on his platform Truth Social, “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”.
A spokesman said two hours later that Trump had no direct knowledge of any indictment and arrest, insisting that he was “rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system”.
“One person with knowledge of the matter” said Trump’s advisors guessed that the indictment could be released Tuesday, and someone relayed their assessment to him. Trump lawyer Susan Necheles said the Truth Social post was based on news reports.
But the exact timing was secondary to Trump’s attempt to control the narrative. He was already having an effect through headlines in newspapers and across the Internet, with his demand for loyalty accepted by leading Republican politicians.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted that he was calling for investigations into whether federal funds were being used for “politically motivated prosecutions”.
Despite a likely run for the Presidency in 2024, Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence — who had begun to criticize Trump’s incitement of the Capitol Attack in January 2021 — also fell into line.
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking Republican in the House, repeated the “political persecution line”. However, other prominent hard-right Trumpists — notably Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — did not support the call for protests.
“Here we go again. Another politically charged prosecution against the former president of the United States,” he told reporters in Iowa.
On Friday night, Trump’s campaign announced a forthcoming rally in Waco, Texas. Early Saturday evening, Trump attended university wrestling championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was greeted with cheers and chants of “USA! USA!” Inside the arena, Mr. Trump shook hands with supporters, posed for selfies with audience members, and met some of the wrestlers.