Donald Trump warned there could be violence if he’s indicted in New York in an escalation of verbal attacks on prosecutors as a Manhattan grand jury is expected next week to resume its investigation of him for potential crimes.
In a post after midnight on Friday on his Truth Social platform, Trump asked how a former president could be charged with a crime given that “potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?”
Trump has been making a torrent of posts on his social media platform criticizing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the other state and federal prosecutors who are investigating him in Washington, DC, and Georgia.
He predicted last weekend that he would be arrested Tuesday in the New York probe related to a payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence during the 2016 campaign about an alleged sexual encounter that he denies. He’s also being investigated in Washington for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and his handling of classified documents.
The New York grand jury was in recess Friday, a day after Bragg rejected a demand by House Republicans that he testify about his investigation. The panel is expected to reconvene early next week.
The grand jury was abruptly called off Wednesday, and when the panel returned Thursday, it heard evidence on other matters, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it isn’t public. There was no explanation from Bragg’s office and the panel was expected to return to court as soon as Monday, the person said.
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By law, grand juries operate in secret, and disclosing their work publicly is a crime. The panel does not meet on Fridays.
Trump has labeled Bragg, who’s Black, racist and “an animal” and linked him to Democratic political donor George Soros, a frequent target of the right.
“Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath,” Trump said of Bragg.
Trump made his “potential death and destruction” warning a day before his first major rally of the 2024 Republican campaign in Texas, a friendly locale full of symbolism. The rally will be in Waco, 30 years after federal law enforcement raided a cult headquarters and stoked anti-government sentiment among far-right extremists.
In a statement in Politico’s New York Playbook newsletter on Friday, civil rights leaders including Al Sharpton called Trump’s comments an effort to “burn down the greatest values of our democracy and destroy honest, ethical officials performing their constitutional duties” to avoid accountability.
Bragg said in a statement to staff Friday afternoon that some staffers had been receiving “offensive or threatening phone calls” this week. Bragg assured his office that increased security measures were in place and “safety is our top priority.”
“I am very sorry that you have had to endure these distressing disruptions to your work,” Bragg said in an email first reported by the New York Daily News. The office is “well-prepared for any possibility,” he said. “We will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, which is what each of you does every single day.”
Trump has also called for his supporters to “protest, take our nation back,” — a call similar to when he urged his supporters to assemble in Washington and march to the US Capitol in 2021 when Congress met to ratify Trump’s loss in the election and a violent mob stormed the complex.
New York City police officers put up security barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court and Bragg’s office earlier this week, but so far, protests have been minimal with only a handful of demonstrators each day.
While the district attorney’s office hasn’t spoken publicly about the status of the investigation, the public will know when his investigation of the former president has been concluded, according to a letter by Bragg’s lawyer in response to a request by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan for Bragg to explain his investigation.
“The District Attorney pledged that the DA’s office would ‘publicly state the conclusion of our investigation whether we conclude our work without bringing charges, or move forward with an indictment.’ He stands by that pledge,” Leslie Dubeck, Bragg’s general counsel, wrote in the letter to Jordan.
“If charges are brought at the conclusion, it will be because the rule of law and faithful execution of the District Attorney’s duty require it,” Dubeck wrote.
The letter capped off a chaotic week. Trump set off security concerns Saturday when he predicted on social media that he’d be arrested and urged a “PROTEST.”
While a protest by a Young Republicans group Monday evening outside Bragg’s offices saw only a handful of demonstrators, on Tuesday a bomb threat was called in for the courthouse where a suit brought against Trump by the New York attorney general was being heard. The hearing was temporarily put on hold.
Since then, the NYPD has stationed officers to guard the Manhattan courthouses, and added barricades and portable flood lights to illuminate the area at night.
On Friday, police investigated a suspicious envelope filled with unidentified white powder delivered to the building that houses the DA’s office, concluding it was harmless, according to a statement issued by Bragg’s office.
“The DA has informed the office that it was immediately contained and that the NYPD Emergency Service Unit and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection determined there was no dangerous substance,” according to the statement.
When the grand jury resumes its work, it could hear from at least one witness, according to the person familiar with the matter.