Donald Trump is unlikely to be arrested on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the cryptic call to protest to his supporters is dangerous.
In military terms, what Donald Trump is upsetting America with is called a “pre-emptive strike” – a counterattack before an attack has even taken place. Because the prediction of the ex-president and Republican presidential candidate for 2024 that he will be arrested by the judicial authorities in New York on Tuesday has not been covered by anything so far. However, the appeal that his supporters demonstrate for him and “take the country back” fuels fears of a nasty repetition. Keywords: storming the Capitol. The most important questions at a glance:
Will Donald Trump be arrested tomorrow?
Nothing speaks for it at the moment. The testimonies before the jury in New York, which deals with the modalities of Trump’s hush money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels, are not over. And the public prosecutor’s office has so far neither announced any concrete charges nor contacted Trump’s lawyers. But: There are increasing signs that, for the first time in US history, an ex-president could be prosecuted.
What could this unprecedented scenario look like?
With his Secret Service bodyguards, Trump would likely fly from Mar-a-Lago, Florida, to New York and appear at the District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s building. He would not be spared the ritual of taking fingerprints and taking photos (“mug shots”). According to an official statement about the allegations against him, Trump would be free until the end of a trial. It is unlikely that he would do the “perp walk”, the media-effective demonstration in handcuffs; even if Trump could well like that for publicity reasons.
Why is Donald Trump doing this circus?
He loves the victim pose, even more the media spotlight. The call to his followers to take to the streets for him is a test balloon. Trump says he is the target of a “politically corrupt judiciary”. Can he still electrify tens of thousands who throw themselves into the breach for him? Large demonstrations, not in liberal New York but elsewhere, would be an indicator. Second motive, as always with Trump: money. The threat of indictment is a veritable tool for collecting donations. With the lie about election fraud in 2020, Trump made millions.
Are there violent riots by Trump supporters?
It’s hard to say today. First waves of anger from his fans on social media are fleeting. Ali Alexander, a strategist who played a key role as a demo organizer in January 2021, is already distancing himself: “So far I have said that 100,000 patriots should block all roads to Mar-a-Lago if Trump is imprisoned or with a public threatened with humiliation. Today I am retired. But I still pray for him.” In New York, the security authorities are still taking special precautions around the courthouse in southern Manhattan.
Why are there doubts about the actions of the New York Attorney’s Office?
Because the hush money case is at least five years old. Alvin Bragg’s predecessor Cyrus Vance waived charges. The Ministry of Justice and the State Election Commission (FEC) also had concerns at the time. Reason: Hush money payments are not illegal in the USA. The improper accounting of “hush money” – in Trump’s books, the 130,000 US dollars were booked as legal fees – is a misdemeanor in New York.
Also read: Trump’s candidacy – The majority of voters are fed up with him
In order for the payment to become a crime, it must be proven that Trump made an illegal donation to porn star Stormy Daniels with the hidden money for his 2016 election campaign. Alvin Bragg himself was initially hesitant for a long time. So much so that two of his top investigators, desperate to see Trump indicted, resigned. One of them, Mark Pomerantz, even wrote a book about it.
Many legal experts have no idea why the New York chief prosecutor now believes he can successfully fight the case against the ex-president. Especially since Trump has long since admitted the payment, not the affair. “I have relied on counselors to settle the blackmail against me,” he writes personally. Does Bragg have an ace up his sleeve that nobody knows about yet? Without that, says Washington law professor Jonathan Turley, who is devoted to Trump, the indictment becomes a “flop”.
Aren’t there more serious allegations against Trump?
There is broad consensus in politics and the legal community that Trump’s executive director role in staging the bloody Capitol riot attempt was decidedly tougher stuff. His fully documented attempts to subsequently collect almost 12,000 votes for him in the state of Georgia after the 2020 election in order to surpass Joe Biden is also considered an assassination attempt on the basic democratic order; here, too, an accusation is in the air.
Also interesting: Storming the Capitol – Trump should be forced to testify
The fact that Trump illegally kept highly secret government papers in Mar-a-Lago and made false statements about them for months is also not a trivial offense from a legal point of view. A Justice Department special counsel may soon recommend charging Trump with violating espionage laws. Not to mention the defamation lawsuit filed by a woman in New York accusing Trump of a long-ago rape that the 76-year-old denies. Start of process: this spring.
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