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Former President Donald Trump urged his followers to take action Saturday afternoon, after claiming earlier in the day that he would be imprisoned next Tuesday.
Trump’s comments come after NBC News reported that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were reviewing security assessments and planning for the possibility that Trump could be indicted next week by a Manhattan grand jury in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment he allegedly made to porn actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
NYPD, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are among the authorities engaged in the process, according to the report from the News outlet.
Trump’s War Room released the following statement via Twitter:
Former President also recorded a short video statement that was posted across his social media channels with the caption: “They’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you. I’m just standing in their way, and I always will stand in their way!”
The issue revolves around an alleged payment paid to Daniels by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen during the presidential campaign to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 tryst between Trump and Daniels. Cohen pled guilty to similar offenses and was sentenced to jail.
Although non-disclosure agreements are permissible, the possible issue for Trump is how his firm compensated Cohen. The payment was represented as a legal fee, and the corporation mentioned a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist, and the payment was unrelated to any legal services provided by Cohen, setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal allegation of manipulating company documents. According to the article, Trump himself signed some of the payments to Cohen while he was serving as President.
Prosecutors can charge Trump with a felony if they can show that his “purpose to deceive” includes an intent to conduct or conceal a second offense.
Authorities contend that the alleged $130,000 hush payment constituted an unlawful donation to the Trump team since it was paid to halt a story in order to promote his presidential run.
Conservatives Rally Around Former President Trump
After Trump’s announcement and the NBC news report, several political figures, media personalities, business owners & political commentators rallied around the former President. Here are some of the quotes:
Twitter, Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stated: “If this happens, Trump will be re-elected in a landslide victory.”
Former VP Mike Pence also commented the news in a Radio interview:
“You have literally a Democratic party that’s literally dismantled the criminal justice system in that city, undercut the NYPD, and this is what the Manhattan DA says is their top priority?” (…) “It reeks of the kind of political prosecution that we endured back in the days of the Russia hoax and the whole impeachment over a phone call.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who backed Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for president earlier last week, defended Trump:
Also, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said:
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also weighed in:
“Alvin Bragg is abusing his office to target President Trump while he’s reduced a majority of felonies, including violent crimes, to misdemeanors. He has different rules for political opponents. Republicans stopped the radical DC crime law, and we will investigate any use of federal funds that are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DA’s across the country.”
On the other hand, 4 U.S. Senators made statements, including Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), and Josh Hawley (R-MO).
Other legal experts, like Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, published their opinion and said they thought the evidence against Trump was weak.
On the Democrat side, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the last House Speaker, remarked:
“Whatever the Grand Jury decides, its consideration makes clear: no one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States.” (…) “The former president’s announcement this morning is reckless: doing so to keep himself in the news & to foment unrest among his supporters,” (…) “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.”
A Section 175 charge is legally qualified as a misdemeanor. The way to make it a Class E felony, according to NY State Law, is to prove that the “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”
The Clinton campaign was penalized by the Federal Election Commission last year for using the Steele dossier as a legal expenditure. The campaign previously denied paying the dossier, which was used to bolster the recently debunked Russia collusion charges against Trump in 2016, and the payment was disguised in the campaign’s legal budget.
There was no uproar in Washington or New York about this prosecution.
Independent Writer. Marketing and communications strategist for politicians, artists, public figures & corporate brands for more than 10 years. Contact: @alejandrosbasso (Twitter)
Escritor independiente. Consultor en marketing y comunicaciones de políticos, artistas, figuras públicas y marcas por más de 10 años. Contacto: @alejandrosbasso (Twitter)