Donald Trump vows to stay in 2024 race if he faces criminal charges
Donald Trump has predicted his arrest on Tuesday in a furious all-caps Truth Social post calling for protests to “take our nation back” as he depicts a violent vision of America in chaos.
Law enforcement agencies are reportedly preparing for the possibility of his indictment in relation to the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. A spokesperson for Mr Trump later clarified that that there “has been no notification” of an arrest or charges, other than “illegal leaks” to news outlets.
Meanwhile, a federal judge ordered his attorney Evan Corcoran to give evidence before a grand jury regarding conversations he had with the former president regarding classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.
On social media, Mr Trump triumphantly returned to Facebook and posted no less than eight videos to his Truth Social account on Friday. YouTube also announced an end to his ban from the platform after the video-sharing site and others suspended the former president in the aftermath of the attack on the US Capitol.
ICYMI: Trump rages on Truth Social as he courts donations from supporters
After soliciting donations from his supporters through his Truth Social account, Donald Trump has once again invoked inflammatory and apocalyptic rhetoric around his 2024 campaign and potential criminal indictments after he predicted he would be arrested on Tuesday.
Another all-caps post on Saturday – roughly 45 minutes after asking supporters to “send your contribution” to his campaign – called on his supporters to “protest, protest, protest” to “save America.”
That post followed his other all-caps post urging his followers to “protest” after that he would be arrested next week.
In a follow-up post, he once again claimed that the US is being “led into World War III” while the Biden administration is “killing our nation.”
A spokesperson for Mr Trump said he wrote his posts without any direct knowledge of the timing of any arrest.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 23:00
‘No one is above the law’: Critics condemn Trump’s ‘reckless’ statement as he stokes unrest over indictment
Donald Trump’s rcitics and activist groups have condemned his inflammatory rhetoric and a statement from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as Republicans quickly rallied to the former president’s defense against possible criminal prosecution.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also condemned Mr Trump’s “reckless” announcement predicting his arrest, which she said has been used to “keep himself in the news and to foment unrest among his supporters” as he continues to use apocalyptic rhetoric around his 2024 campaign and potential criminal indictments.
The Republican leader issued a statement accusing the Manhattan district attorney’s office of an “outrageous abuse of power” and announced that he will direct House committees to “immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.
Democratic US Rep Ted Lieu struck back at Mr McCarthy’s suggestion that New York prosecutors are “subverting democracy” with their criminal investigation.
“Do you even know what the charges are? Have you seen any of the grand jury evidence? No,” Mr Lieu wrote. “You are being a craven, partisan politician who doesn’t respect the rule of law. In America, no one is above the law, including the person to whom you bend your knee.”
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 22:30
Will there be protests?
Across far-right social media, where QAnon influencers and Christian nationalists collide, debate over Marjorie Taylor Greene’s relevance and whether Donald Trump is the savior of a nation and Republican party in decline, the former president’s announcement that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday was the evidence they needed that the Biden administration has weaponised the federal government against him.
Mr Trump has called on his supporters to “protest, protest, protest,” but unlike the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, which was organised openly across social media platforms, discussion of Mr Trump’s potential arrest has largely revolved around denouncing the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation and echoing similar inflammatory and dramatic rhetoric about the state of the US.
QAnon accounts with large followings on Truth Social have echoed their accelerationist “trust the plan” slogan believing that Mr Trump’s potential arrest would trigger a national downfall. Others said his arrest would make him a martyr that his supporters would rally around.
QAnon influencer The Patriot Voice said the most effective protest would be wearing red “MAGA” hats. Laura Loomer told supporters not to show up outside Mar-a-Lago because streets will likely be shut down; she instead told people to show up at his first 2024 campaign rally in Texas on 25 March.
Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of the Stop the Steal rallies who is now campaigning alongside white supremacist Nick Fuentes for Kanye West, wrote: “Previously, I had said if Trump was arrested or under the threat of a perp walk, 100,000 patriots should shut down all routes to Mar-a-Lago. Now, I’m retired. I’ll pray for him though!”
He also said he spoke to Alex Jones and “he’s not protesting either.”
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 21:45
Mike Pence: ‘This is what the Manhattan DA says is their top priority?’
After denouncing Trump’s behaviour surrounding January 6, former Vice President Mike Pence came to his former boss’s defense on Saturday following his prediction that he will be arrested next weekw.
His told SiriusXM radio that New York prosecutors’ potentioal indictment “reeks of the kind of political prosecution that we endured back in the days of the Russia hoax,” referring to the GOP’s shorthand for the investigation into 2016 Russian interference in that year’s elections, with reports revealing a web of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian actors, none of which has a hoax.
“This is what the Manhattan DA says is their top priority?” Mr Pence added.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 20:12
Trump announces first 2024 campaign rally in Waco as Texas city marks 30th anniversary of cult siege
Donald Trump will hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in Waco, Texas, on 25 March, within the 30th anniversary period of the deadly 51-day law enforcement siege at the compound of the Branch Davidians religious cult.
A statement from the Trump campaign announcing the rally points to his support among Texas Republican voters in recent polling from a right-wing media firm, finding that the former president leads in the state against potential 2024 rival Ron DeSantis.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 19:39
Nancy Pelosi: ‘No one is above the law’
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Donald Trump’s “reckless” announcement predicting his arrest, which she said has been used to “keep himself in the news and to foment unrest among his supporters.”
“Whatever the decision is of the Grand Jury, its consideration of this case makes clear: no one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States,” she said in a statement on Saturday.
“He cannot hide from his violations of the law, disrespect for our elections and incitements to violence. Rightfully, our legal system will decide how to hold him accountable,” she added.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 18:47
Manhattan DA and Secret Service reportedly engaged in delicate talks about handling potential arrest
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office is reportedly engaged in “delicate negotiations with the Secret Service” about how to handle over how to handle Trump’s potential arrest, according to Yahoo News.
“The chief question at the moment is how to work out procedures for an extraordinary and unprecedented scenario: how to arrest, fingerprint – per standard procedure – handcuff a defendant who happens to be a former president and is protected by a group of Secret Service agents,” chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported.
Trump could be facing felony charges involving hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, reportedly the subject of an investigation from New York prosecutors.
His former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a federal charge relating to a $130,000 payment to Daniels in 2016 to allegedly keep her quiet about her claim that she had sex with Mr Trump.
Cohen was allegedly later repaid the money he gave to her in payments described by Trump’s business as “legal fees,” which could be grounds for felony falsification of business records. Cohen appeared before a grand jury in New York this week for a second time.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 18:41
Republicans rush to defend Trump after ex-president teases arrest next week
Despite not having seen any charges or evidence involving the still-unannounceed indictment against him, leading Republican figures were quick to defend Trump on Saturday after he predicted he would be arrested.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 18:24
McCarthy slammed for using House Speaker role to ‘stop justice from taking place’
As Republicans dutifully rally around the former president to defend him from possible criminal prosecution before reviewing any evidence or the still-unannounced indictment, lawmakers and activist groups have condemned Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s statement accusing the Manhattan district attorney of an “outrageous abuse of power”.
Mr McCarthy also said he is directing House committees to “immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
A statement from the Congressional Integrity Project’s Brad Woodhouse said Mr McCarthy “is using his power as speaker of the House of Representatives to attempt to stop justice from taking place, threatening and intimidating those investigating Trump’s alleged wrongdoings with investigations of their own.”
“Kevin McCarthy has turned his speakership over to Trump, election deniers, white nationalist sympathizers and the cult of MAGA and he has lost the moral high ground to lead,” he added.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 17:43
House Republican conference chair Elise Stefanik said “illegal leaks” about Trump’s arrest – which were announced by Trump himself – are “unAmerican” and claimed that the “radical Left has reached a dangerous new low of Third World countries.”
In a statement full of randomly capitalised words, Ms Stefanik claimed that the “Radical Left will now follow the lead of Socialist dictators and reportedly arrest President Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President of the United States,” because “they cannot beat President Trump at the ballot box.”
“What these corrupt Leftist prosecutors like Alvin Bragg and their Socialist allies fail to understand is that America First Patriots have never been so energized to exercise their constitutional rights to peacefully organize and VOTE..to save our great republic,” she added.
Her remarks follow other top Republican officials who rushed to defend the former president without seeing an indictment or prosecution filings outlining the potential allegations and evidence against Mr Trump.
Alex Woodward18 March 2023 17:22