History has shown that when Donald Trump calls for protests, violence may be around the corner. So when the former president lashed out at the Manhattan prosecutor’s office on Saturday, District Attorney Alvin Bragg had to prepare for the worst.
“Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment,” Bragg wrote in an email to staff on Saturday. He didn’t mention Trump by name, referring only to “public comments surrounding an ongoing investigation by this office.”
Those public comments came from Trump on Saturday morning, amid reports that he could soon be indicted in New York for possible campaign finance violations. “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social. “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
If they can come for Trump, they will come for you.
This type of stuff only occurs in third world authoritarian nations.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 18, 2023
Bragg’s email reassured employees that the office is continuing to coordinate on security matters with the NYPD, as well as with the prosecutor’s own security officers and the state court system. ABC’s Jon Karl reported on Sunday that an online watchdog had noted that some Trump supporters are beginning to call for violence.
Bragg’s office is reportedly nearing the end of its investigation into Trump’s alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. (Trump denies having an affair with Daniels.) Michael Cohen—the former Trump attorney and fixer who pleaded guilty in 2018 to making the payments—testified before a New York grand jury this week. Trump was also invited to testify, which is generally one of the final stages of a grand jury investigation.
As Mother Jones’ Russ Choma pointed out, a sudden arrest of Trump on Tuesday would be highly unusual:
White collar criminals are typically given the opportunity to turn themselves in, and any courthouse appearance by Trump would be a highly choreographed affair involving the Secret Service, worked out well in advance.
Trump’s supporters claim that any arrest would only help him win back the presidency next year. “If they indict Trump on fake charges,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Lindell TV, “he is going to win 2024 in a landslide victory.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu—a Republican who has said the party should move on from Trump—had a similar take Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “I think it’s building a lot of sympathy for the former president,” he said. “It does drastically change the paradigm as we go into the 2024 election.”