Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that “illegal leaks” had indicated that he would be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest.
Trump, in posts on his social media platform Truth Social, referred to reports that he could soon face possible criminal charges in New York relating to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Trump did not say whether he had been informed by law enforcement of a coming indictment. A spokesperson for Trump later clarified in a statement that there “has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office, to NBC” and other news outlets.
The spokesperson added, “President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system. He will be in Texas next weekend for a giant rally. Make America Great Again!”
NBC News reported Friday that law enforcement agencies are prepping for a possible Trump indictment as early as next week.
Trump, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, decried “illegal leaks” that “indicate” he would be arrested on Tuesday.
“PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” Trump wrote.
Republicans on Saturday rallied to Trump’s defense and criticized the New York probe, although they stopped short of embracing his desire for protests in the streets. He escalated his calls for demonstrations later in the day, writing in another Truth Social post: “WE MUST SAVE AMERICA! PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., in a tweet said, “We don’t need to protest,” adding: “These idiots are sealing their own fate in 2024.”
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the investigation by the Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office a continuation of the partisan “witch hunt” against him. He’s also accused Bragg, who is Black, of being a “racist.”
A spokesperson for Bragg’s office declined to comment on Trump’s Truth Social posts.
Former President Donald Trump.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images file
The 76-year-old presidential candidate has said he has no plans to drop out of the race even if he gets indicted. “Absolutely not,” he told reporters at a political event in early March, adding that getting charged “would probably enhance my numbers, but it’s a very bad thing for America.”
A key witness in the current case is Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer who testified before the grand jury this week. Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making the illegal payment to Daniels for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election and said he did so at Trump’s direction. He was sentenced to three years in prison for that and other crimes.
Trump has acknowledged that he repaid Cohen the $130,000, but maintained the payment was legal. Trump tweeted in 2018 that the money was “not from the campaign” and that the deal had been “a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.”
“The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair … despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair,” Trump said on Twitter.
Liz Johnstone is the managing editor for politics at NBC News digital.
Olympia Sonnier, Dareh Gregorian, Jesse Rodriguez and Garrett Haake contributed.