Former US President Donald Trump has warned of "death and destruction" if he were to face criminal charges after New York prosecutors who are investigating the hush money he paid to Stormy Daniels said they will not be intimidated.
Early Friday, Trump took to Truth Social, his social media site, and published his latest attack on the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The thread of verbal attacks has been going on since last Saturday when Trump (wrongly) predicted he would be arrested in three days.
“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case, a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?” wrote Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, reported The New Daily.
Daniels, whose original name is Stephanie Clifford, has claimed that she received money from the ex-president for staying silent about their affair. Trump, however, denies any sexual encounter with Daniels. He has labeled the money a “simple private transaction" which he says is not a crime.
New York officials tightened security after Donald Trump claimed he would soon be arrested in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's probe into a 2016 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Bragg has said Trump created a "false expectation" for his followers.
But while Trump's plea for protests prompted some sporadic calls for violence, traffic jams and acts of civil disobedience on fringe forums such as The Donald, even some of his best-known supporters have so far appeared unmoved.
Ali Alexander, who helped organize rallies that preceded the Capitol riot, signaled he will be staying away from demonstrations this time around and warned of New York City: "You will be jailed or worse."
And Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, who before the 2021 riot said his group was bussing Trump supporters to Washington, cautioned: "Do not give the feds and their plants what they want — STAY PEACEFUL!"
Megan Squire of the Southern Poverty Law Center told AFP the posts are "another example in a long history of paranoia and finger-pointing on the extreme far right."
Fox News host Tucker Carlson and other prominent conservatives have repeatedly amplified the narrative that the FBI orchestrated the Capitol insurrection to jail Trump voters, despite fact-checking from AFP and others. More than 1,000 people have been charged for their actions that day, according to the Justice Department.
Trump has also lent credence to such claims, sharing posts about Epps and a "false flag."
"This type of entrapment or false flag conspiracy from the far-right has been a common refrain that we've seen since January 6," Hill said. "If you look back on potential flashpoints — Biden's inauguration, the anniversary of January 6, the FBI raid at Mar-a-lago — the calls for protests quickly fizzled out because of this type of conspiratorial paranoia."
Trump has not been arrested yet, but call for protests over his potential indictment has sparked conspiracy theories about an FBI setup among some of his far-right supporters, making them reluctant to show up.
Trump is to hold a campaign in Texas today, Saturday, The New Daily reported.
With additional input from AFP
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