Former President Trump could be impeached in the coming days, a seismic event that will reverberate in the political world.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said he is prepared to charge Trump for a hush money payment to cover up an alleged affair during the 2016 election.
Trump, who indicated over the weekend that he expected to be arrested this week, launched a series of attacks on Bragg and urged his supporters to protest.
Here’s what to look for before a possible prosecution
How are charges announced?
A grand jury could decide this week and as early as Wednesday whether to indict the former president on charges related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.
What comes next will be closely watched, but the details are unclear.
If Trump is indicted, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is likely to work with Trump’s team to arrange for his surrender in New York City. Trump resides in Florida and his lawyer has said he will not refuse to turn himself in.
Trump would have to face trial in New York City, but it is unlikely that he would be detained in Manhattan while the legal case against him unfolds, allowing him to continue his campaign as the 2024 presidential candidate.
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Trump has tried to frame the looming charges against him for political gain, even predicting that his own arrest would occur on Tuesday despite no inside information or evidence to support his claim.
The former president is likely to use the announcement of the charges to drive home his message to his supporters that he is the target of a politically motivated justice system that must be torn down and rebuilt.
The Trump campaign has already sent numerous fundraising missives to supporters taking advantage of reports of Trump’s impending arrest, and is expected to do the same when an indictment is filed.
And Trump himself has turned his Truth Social feed into a sounding board for aggressive attacks on Bragg, degrading the 49-year-old district attorney as a “racist, [George] Soros endorsed a prosecutor who is being manipulated by Democratic leaders.
Since Trump is unlikely to be held in Manhattan after the charges are filed, he is expected to continue his schedule as a 2024 presidential candidate, beginning Saturday with a rally in Waco, Texas, where his grievances will be on view. in front of a crowd. of ardent followers.
What will the protests be like?
New York City authorities have been on the alert for the possibility of protests, setting up metal barricades near the Manhattan courthouse in anticipation of a charged response to Trump’s arrest.
Republicans have generally called for the protests to remain peaceful, and talks among pro-Trump groups have yet to show any organized effort for widespread demonstrations.
But the rhetoric coming from Trump and his team has made many nervous about the possibility of violence, particularly two years after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
Trump himself urged his supporters to “protest, take back our nation.” in the same Truth Social post where he predicted his own arrest would occur on Tuesday.
In a separate post, Trump lamented what he described as the country’s decline, writing: “They are killing our nation as we sit and watch. We must save America! Protest, protest, protest!!!”
Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, warned that it would be “an all-out war” if the former president is impeached, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) suggested that impeaching Trump would “blow up our country.”
House GOP goes on the attack
House Republicans in particular have signaled that they will support Trump and go on the offensive on his behalf.
Chairman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has led an effort to criticize the looming charges as politically motivated, and has threatened to review federal funding for the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Three House Republican committee chairmen solicited Bragg’s testimony and wrote to the district attorney that the decision to impeach Trump “will erode confidence in the fair administration of justice and invariably interfere with the course of the 2024 presidential election.” ”.
The strategy is reminiscent of the former president’s previous impeachment trials, when House Republicans such as Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows (RN.C.) they were among its most outspoken defenders.
Bragg’s office in an internal memo Monday said it would not be intimidated by rhetoric from Trump and Republicans.
How does he shake up the 2024 race?
Even with multiple investigations into him, Trump has remained the favorite for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race.
The former president has a fervent base of supporters who give him a solid footing in any primary race, and some of that support will only be re-entrenched by what some see as politically motivated impeachment.
Still, an impeachment could prove damaging to Trump’s long-term prospects.
Other contenders such as former Vice President Mike Pence and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have repeatedly argued that the GOP has a better chance of moving forward than Trump, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) , said Monday that he has never had to pay hush money to cover up an affair.
A strategist who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign acknowledged that the former president remains a force in the Republican Party, but argued that at some point the baggage will be too much for voters to pass up.
“Impeachment is not like the Democrats are chasing you in the Oval Office,” the strategist said. “This is of his own creation.”
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