Suggesting that his indictment was imminent, former President Donald Trump on Saturday called on supporters to “PROTEST” and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK” — raising the specter that potential charges in Manhattan could be met with political violence. “OUR NATION IS NOW THIRD WORLD & DYING,” Trump wrote in a two-post rant on social media early Saturday. “THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD!”
“THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA…WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK,” he continued, describing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as “corrupt” and “highly political.”
It wasn’t clear what information Trump was basing his predicted Tuesday arrest on, but charges in the Stormy Daniels hush money case have been looming since last week, when the Manhattan DA invited the former president to appear before a grand jury. Trump declined to testify, but a number of associates — including his former fixer Michael Cohen — appeared over the past week. With the long-running investigation apparently in its final stages, law enforcement officials at the local, state, and federal levels have reportedly been preparing for the possibility of a Trump indictment — and potential unrest — as soon as next week. Such charges— which could be the first of many, given the number of investigations he’s currently under — would put the United States in uncharted waters: Not only would he be the first American president to ever face charges after leaving office — he could become the first to seek reelection while under indictment.
Trump’s call Saturday to “TAKE OUR NATION BACK” echoed his demands, following his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden, for his supporters to “fight like hell” for him. “If you don’t fight like hell,” he told an angry mob on January 6, 2021, “you’re not going to have a country anymore.” That rallying cry helped incite a deadly insurrection on Capitol Hill, for which he is also under a Justice Department investigation. Trump has denied wrongdoing in the DOJ probes into his efforts to overthrow the 2020 election and his handling of classified materials, as well as the Manhattan DA inquiry into his allegations that he directed Cohen to silence two women during his 2016 presidential campaign who said they had affairs with Trump. Trump has downplayed all the swirling probes as part of a “witch hunt” to undermine him politically, and has vowed to remain in the 2024 race no matter what. “I wouldn’t even think about leaving,” he told reporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month.
But Trump has clearly been unnerved at the legal jeopardy he’s facing, and has seemed to threaten civil unrest if he does, indeed, face prosecution. “I think you’d have problems in this country, the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before,” Trump told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt last year. “I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”