Manhattan DA: Trump's Intimidation Efforts Won't Be Tolerated
Alvin Bragg's comments came after Trump urged his supporters to "protest" and "take our nation back" ahead of his expected indictment.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Saturday that former President Donald Trump's efforts to undermine his prosecutorial authority won't be tolerated.
In a memo to colleagues, Bragg wrote that "we do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York."
"Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment," Bragg continued.
"As with all of our investigations, we will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, and speak publicly only when appropriate," he added.
"We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York."
Bragg's email didn't specifically name Trump, referring only to the "public comments surrounding an ongoing investigation by this office."
But it came just hours after the former president and leading 2024 GOP candidate claimed on his social media platform that he "will be arrested" on Tuesday and called on his supporters to "protest" and "take our nation back."
Trump is expected to be indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in a criminal case involving hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president, but its timing remains uncertain.
In a follow-up post on Truth Social, Trump wrote: "It's time!!! We are a nation in steep decline... We just can't allow this anymore. They're killing our nation as we sit back and watch. We must save America! Protest, protest, protest!!!"
Trump's call to action echoed how, six weeks after losing the 2020 presidential election, he fired off a tweet encouraging his supporters to join a "big protest" in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. "Be there, will be wild!" he wrote. Hundreds of far-right extremists came and—after Trump told them to march from a rally near the White House to the Capitol—ransacked the halls of Congress in a bid to prevent lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's win. Several people died as a result of the insurrection, which was precipitated by Trump and his Republican allies' ceaseless lies about voter fraud.
Mother Jones' D.C. bureau chief David Corn noted that Trump has recently "excused or dismissed the violence of January 6."
"He is an authoritarian willing to (again) use violence for his own ends," Corn tweeted. "That is a threat to the nation."
Trump started priming his supporters for unrest more than a year ago. At a January 2022 rally in Texas, the ex-president promised to pardon January 6 rioters if he wins in 2024 and called for protests if prosecutors investigating his effort to subvert the 2020 election and other alleged crimes attempt to bring charges.
"If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had... in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta, and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt," Trump told a crowd of his supporters 14 months ago.
On Saturday, HuffPost's senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked if high-ranking Republicans had anything to say about Trump's most recent threats.
"If a new round of political violence occurs, McCarthy should absolutely shoulder some of the blame."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other right-wing lawmakers quickly made it clear that they're siding with Trump over the rule of law.
Trump is expected to be charged in connection with payments his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to buy the silence of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal—both of whom say they had affairs with Trump—at the height of the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen has testified that at Trump's direction, he organized payments totaling $280,000 to Daniels and McDougal. According to Cohen, the Trump Organization reimbursed him $420,000 and categorized it as a legal fee. Trump's former fixer pleaded guilty to federal campaign violations in 2018.
Trump has so far evaded charges but that could soon change, as Manhattan prosecutors are expected to accuse Trump of overseeing the false recording of expenses in his company's internal records.
McCarthy on Saturday described Bragg's probe as "an outrageous abuse of power by a radical D.A. who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump."
"I'm directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions," he tweeted.
According toMSNBC's Hayes Brown:
By the time he fired off his own tweet, McCarthy had presumably seen Trump calling his supporters into the streets, echoing the incitement of violence against Congress two years ago. The speaker lived through that experience and witnessed firsthand the effect of Trump's words. And yet he opted to pretend otherwise in the weeks and months after the January 6 attack as he flew to Mar-a-Lago in supplication. In handing over unvetted security footage from the attack to a far-right propagandist last month, McCarthy is once again complicit in trying to whitewash the assault. If a new round of political violence occurs, McCarthy should absolutely shoulder some of the blame.
McCarthy was far from alone. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), for example, baselessly declared: "If they can come for Trump, they will come for you. This type of stuff only occurs in third world authoritarian countries."
The GOP's current framing of ongoing investigations into Trump as political "witch hunts" is not new. McCarthy and others reacted in a similar manner when the FBI in early August searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and removed boxes of documents as part of a federal probe into the ex-president's handling of classified materials.
In New York, meanwhile, law enforcement and security agencies at all levels are reportedly preparing for the possibility of a Trump indictment as early as this week.
If indicted, Trump would become the first U.S. president to face criminal charges in or out of office. Trump, who has denied all wrongdoing, has vowed to keep campaigning regardless of whether he's arrested.
The New York Times reported that if "Trump is arraigned, he will almost certainly be released without spending any time behind bars because the indictment is likely to contain only nonviolent felony charges."
However, the Manhattan D.A.'s hush money probe is just one of many pending cases against Trump. The twice-impeached former president is also facing a state-level criminal investigation in Georgia over his efforts to overturn that state's 2020 election results, as well as federal probes into his coup attempt and his handling of classified government documents.
As The Associated Pressobserved, it's not clear when the other investigations into Trump "will end or whether they might result in criminal charges."
"But they will continue regardless of what happens in New York," the outlet noted, "underscoring the ongoing gravity—and broad geographic scope—of the legal challenges confronting the former president."