Donald Trump emerged Saturday afternoon to board his private jet hours after he declared he would be arrested Tuesday over claims he paid porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about his alleged affair.
In exclusive footage taken by DailyMail.com, Trump was seen boarding his Trump-branded Boeing 757 from Florida to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the NCAA wrestling tournament at the BOK Center.
The president, who was escorted by a large security detail, has spent this morning criticizing New York prosecutors who are expected to indict him over $130,000 payments to Daniels, a porn star, during the run-up to the election. of 2016.
The former president was dressed in a suit and tie and was on his way aboard a plane to watch a competition for the best college wrestlers in the country.
Trump had earlier urged his supporters to “protest, protest, protest” against the impending charges with an inflammatory post made on his TruthSocial platform.
In exclusive footage taken by DailyMail.com, Trump was seen boarding his Trump-branded Boeing 757, hours after criticizing New York prosecutors online who are expected to indict him soon over money paid to Stormy Daniels to keep their alleged affair a secret.
The president, who was escorted by a large security detail, was wearing a suit and tie and was on his way aboard a plane to watch a competition for the best college wrestlers in the country.
Trump’s private Beoing 757 on the runway of a Florida airport, where the former president has been holed up at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Trump boarded the flight hours after a post, written entirely in all caps, called on his supporters to protest him.
Trump claimed on his Truth Social account that the Manhattan district attorney’s office will arrest him in a few days, calling the investigation “corrupt and highly political,” calling the alleged hush money payment an “old and old fairy tale.” completely discredited.”
He urged his supporters to demonstrate against the criminal case, raising concerns among law enforcement officials that his words could be interpreted as a call for violence.
Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will meet today to discuss how to handle the announcement of Trump’s indictment and arrest.
Officials are also tightening security around the New York County Supreme Court in anticipation of the protests.
If Trump’s claims of impending arrest are true, it would make him the first former president to face criminal charges. His post came hours after it was claimed that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg planned to indict Trump next week.
Top Republicans led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy were quick to call the investigation politically motivated, and legal experts have also questioned whether the case has any merit.
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, said that if impeached, Trump “would be re-elected with a landslide” in the 2024 presidential election.
Trump had a large team of security personnel and bag carriers with him when he boarded his plane.
The president is heading to a tournament of the best college wrestlers in the country in Tulsa.
Trump’s lawyer said the former president continues to deny the substance of the allegations of a sexual relationship with Daniels (pictured with Trump), calling the $130,000 a “nuisance payment” that rich or famous people sometimes pay to make disappear a distracting situation.
A Trump spokesman said he is “rightfully highlighting his innocence and the use of weapons of our system of injustice.”
Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, said: “Here we go again: an outrageous abuse of power by a radical district attorney who lets violent criminals walk while seeking political revenge against President Trump.”
“I am directing the relevant committees to immediately investigate whether federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
Last week, the former president and 2024 hopeful was invited to testify before a Manhattan grand jury, and his mediator and former attorney Michael Cohen testified Monday.
Cohen served jail time after pleading guilty in two criminal cases, one of which involved the use of campaign funds in connection with Daniels and another woman who allegedly had an affair with Trump.
He said he had been acting on his orders and that the bribes were supposed to keep love stories out of the public eye ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has admitted reimbursing Cohen
Daniels met with prosecutors Wednesday to answer more questions about the case, and his attorney, Clark Brewster, said he would also be available as a witness in the future, if necessary.
Trump called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “corrupt and highly political,” calling the alleged hush money payment an “old and completely discredited fairy tale.”
Elon Musk, pictured at the 2022 Met Gala, believes the criminal charges against Trump will help him win re-election in the 2024 presidential race
Trump claims he will be arrested by the Manhattan prosecutor’s office, and Musk says it would spell a “landslide victory” for the former presidents’ re-election campaign.
Speculation that charges were imminent also rose when Bragg told Trump’s team that the former president could testify before the grand jury if he wanted, a notification usually late in a process that could mean impeachment is near.
Trump could face one of two charges for the payments, but lawyers have said both would be difficult to prove.
He could be charged with falsifying business records if it is alleged that Trump knew his retainer agreement with Cohen was a sham to facilitate payments. That would be a misdemeanor under New York law unless prosecutors prove the records were falsified to hide another crime, which would make it a felony.
That other offense could be that the payments violated state election law because the alleged payment was intended to benefit his campaign.
Trump could face up to four years in prison on those charges.
But experts also say the former president could still be re-elected if he is charged or even convicted over the issue. Trump has already maintained that he “wouldn’t even think of dropping out” of the race if he is impeached.
The United States Constitution does not say that a candidate cannot run if they have a criminal record. The conditions are simply that a candidate be a natural citizen who is at least 35 years old and has been a resident of the US for 14 years or more.
Kate Shaw, a legal analyst and professor at Cardozo Law School, told ABC: “There is nothing in the Constitution that disqualifies people convicted of crimes from running or serving as president.”
Any issues are likely to be practical, rather than legal, Shaw said, such as jail time making the campaign “difficult, if not impossible.”
Daniels met with prosecutors Wednesday to answer further questions about the case and tweeted his thanks to his attorney for “supporting me in our continued fight for truth and justice.”
Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, also said this week that an indictment was “more likely” because of recent events.
“But the only thing I still cling to is the hope that justice will prevail,” he said.
Tacopina also said he hopes Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office “won’t stoop to the level of Mark Pomerantz, who was looking for a crime that fit the person.”
Tacopina was referring to a memoir by former Manhattan Special Assistant District Attorney Mark Pomerantz, who led the office’s investigation into Trump for a year beginning in February 2021.
In a letter sent last Friday to the commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation, Trump’s attorney accused Bragg and his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, Jr., of conducting a “politically motivated investigation.”
Prosecutors “armed” their office, Tacopina wrote, “reviewing every aspect of President Trump’s personal life and business affairs, going back decades, hoping to find some legal basis, however implausible, novel or complicated, to prosecute him.” ‘. ‘
Vance has said that “it is difficult to argue that the previous investigations were politically motivated.”
A Trump spokesman said: “There has been no notification, other than illegal leaks by the Department of Justice and the prosecutor’s office, to NBC and other fake news outlets, that the George Soros-funded radical left Democrat prosecutor in Manhattan has decided to take their witch hunt to the next level. President Trump is rightly highlighting his innocence and the use of weapons of our system of injustice. He will be in Texas next weekend for a giant rally. Make America! be great again!’ – Trump spokesman.