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Wednesday June 12, 2024

Trump camp slams ‘political’ prosecution, Democrats brace for ‘unrest’

By AFP
March 20, 2023

WASHINGTON: Senior Republicans on Sunday echoed Donald Trump´s claim that a looming indictment in a hush-money case would amount to political “persecution,” while Democrats warned his call for protests could trigger a repeat of chaos his supporters unleashed at the US Capitol.

In an explosive announcement on Saturday, the former president said he expected to be “arrested” Tuesday in connection with a grand jury inquiry into a 2016 payment to a porn star, allegedly to keep her from revealing a past affair with Trump. Even potential Republican rivals in the still-evolving 2024 presidential race reacted sharply.

“I´m taken aback at the idea of indicting a former president of the United States at a time when there´s a crime wave in New York City,” Trump´s former vice president Mike Pence said on ABC´s “This Week.” “It just feels like a politically charged prosecution here,” said Pence. “I just feel like it´s just not what the American people want to see.”

The Manhattan District Attorney´s Office has not confirmed any plans for an indictment, though multiple signs -- including the recent appearances before the grand jury of Trump´s former fixer Michael Cohen and the porn star known as Stormy Daniels -- point to a quick conclusion.

Trump has denied any untoward involvement with Daniels. But law enforcement agencies are preparing for a possible indictment, with chaotic scenes outside the Manhattan Criminal Court a near-certainty if it does happen.

The stunning possibility of a former president being arrested -- a historic first -- has fanned passions and injected considerable uncertainty into the 2024 campaign. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called a possible indictment “an effort that´s ongoing, never-ending to destroy Donald Trump, everything around Donald Trump.”

Even Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, an outspoken Trump critic and a potential rival for the 2024 nomination, suggested an indictment could generate a powerful backlash. “I think it´s building a lot of sympathy for the former president,” he told CNN Sunday talk show “State of the Union.” “It does drastically change the paradigm, as we go into the ´24 election,” he said, adding of a possible indictment: “It´s going to be a circus.”