What you should know
- A Manhattan jury investigating alleged silent money payments made on behalf of former President Donald Trump is reconvening on Wednesday as the world awaits an impeachment ruling.
- Trump is in Florida, although a few days ago he urged his supporters to “PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST” in New York when he said he expected to be arrested this week. This does not happen.
- Any impeachment would not prevent him from seeking the 2024 Republican nomination. There are no rules against running for president while facing criminal charges or even after conviction, and convicted felons have already run for President of the United States.
NEW YORK — It’s been five days since former President Donald Trump told the world he expected to be arrested and urged his supporters to “PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST” in New York City, where throngs of officers NYPD, Secret Service and other uniformed agents provided security around the perimeter of Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of a possible indictment by the jury.
The grand jury meets again on Wednesday afternoon and all eyes are on Lower Manhattan.
Protests have been intermittent and largely silenced so far. Some members of the New York Republican Youth Club donned MAGA hats and demonstrated outside Manhattan Criminal Court earlier this week, and Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan was the scene of a handful of impromptu protests.
It’s unclear whether a potential organized action could escalate if the grand jury does indeed choose to indict Trump, which would be the first indictment of a former US president, but with the veil of the Jan. 6 insurrection still looming, the NYPD and its law enforcement partners at all levels of government are preparing accordingly.
NYPD officers of all ranks were ordered to wear their uniforms and prepare for deployment beginning Tuesday, according to an internal memo obtained by News 4.
The memo, sent by the NYPD Operations Division Commander, instructed all uniformed service members to observe public disorder etiquette and prepare for mobilization at all times while on duty.
Law enforcement sources said intelligence teams were closely monitoring social media for protests, including intentional acts aimed at slowing traffic or disrupting daily life in the city. So far, none of this has happened in the city.
The police department, secret service, court officials and the FBI continue to meet to discuss security. Two senior officials said the Secret Service had yet to conduct a 100-hour security review of the courthouse. Center Street, where Trump could face a judge if impeached. Entrances, reservation areas, hallways, the courtroom, surrounding streets and more would fall under this type of advanced security review, which would only take place if or when a potential charge is filed.
In meetings between law enforcement officials have discussed several potential routes of arrival for Trump should he be flown to New York to face charges. LaGuardia and Teterboro airports were mentioned as possibilities, authorities said, along with various routes to and from the courthouse.
Based on recent developments, there have been no plans or requests for Trump, who was at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, to visit the city this week, according to multiple sources. A virtual impeachment in the event of an indictment seems unlikely, given the historical significance of such a procedure.
What happens next? Could Trump still run? and more questions
District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has been investigating allegations of silent payments to women, including Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had sex with the former president. Trump refused to testify before the jury. Possible charges include falsifying business documents related to payments made during his 2016 campaign.
It’s one of many investigations that are intensifying as Trump mounts his third presidential race. He has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and accuses prosecutors of engaging in a politically motivated “witch hunt” to harm his campaign.
Impeachment would not prevent Trump from maintaining his 2024 presidential bid. There is no ban on running against criminal charges, or even after a conviction. In fact, convicted felons have run for president before.
If Bragg does win an indictment, legal experts say there will be a number of thorny procedural issues over how to provide a fair trial.
“If you’re going to sue someone like Donald Trump, you better have an incredibly strong case,” said Arthur Aidala, an attorney who has represented high-profile clients like Rudy Giuliani, Harvey Weinstein and Meek Mill.
If Trump is indicted, Aidala predicts the defense would request a change of venue, given the largely Democratic bloc from which the jury would be drawn. Aidala said she did not believe a venue change would be granted.
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