Donald Trump

Barricades Go Up at Trump Tower, Manhattan Court as NYC Readies for Possible Protests

There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case; an interagency security meeting is expected to take place Monday

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What to Know

  • Donald Trump claimed on Saturday that his arrest is imminent and issued an extraordinary call for his supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments
  • District Attorney Alvin Bragg is thought to be eyeing charges in the hush money investigation, and recently offered Trump a chance to testify before the grand jury
  • Trump’s aides and legal team have been preparing for the possibility of an indictment. Should that happen, he would be arrested only if he refused to surrender

All eyes are on Manhattan this week for the possibility that Donald Trump could be indicted by a grand jury investigating hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president.

The NYPD was seen erecting barricades Monday outside Trump Tower and Manhattan Criminal Court following the former president's weekend claim that his arrest is imminent -- and that his supporters to protest. Those are likely among multiple high-profile locations that law enforcement officials say the NYPD will cover Monday and Tuesday, and later in the week if necessary.

The police department, Secret Service, court officers and FBI continue to meet to discuss security. All NYPD members are being directed to be in uniform Tuesday and ready to mobilize if needed, the officials said.

Aside from a modest protest scheduled for Tuesday at Trump Tower going to the Manhattan district attorney’s office — and a separate small caravan of pro-Trump cars going from Long Island to lower Manhattan – security officials are not aware of any developments that might change the dynamic in NYC through at least Wednesday.

As of Monday night, there were no plans or requests for Trump — who has been at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida — to travel to the city this week, according to several sources. 

Even as Trump’s lawyer and spokesperson said there had been no communication from prosecutors, Trump declared in a post on his social media platform that he expects to be taken into custody on Tuesday. Trump's message seemed designed to preempt a formal announcement from prosecutors and to galvanize outrage from his base of supporters in advance of widely anticipated charges.

Within hours, his campaign was sending fundraising solicitations to his supporters, while influential Republicans in Congress and even some declared and potential rival candidates issued statements in his defense.

In a later post that went beyond simply exhorting loyalists to protest about his legal peril, the 2024 presidential candidate directed his overarching ire in all capital letters at the Biden administration and raised the prospect of civil unrest: “IT’S TIME!!!” he wrote. “WE JUST CAN’T ALLOW THIS ANYMORE. THEY’RE KILLING OUR NATION AS WE SIT BACK & WATCH. WE MUST SAVE AMERICA!PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!”

It all evoked, in foreboding ways, the rhetoric he used shortly before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. After hearing from the then-president at a Washington rally that morning, his supporters marched to the Capitol and tried to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s White House victory, breaking through doors and windows of the building and leaving officers beaten and bloodied.

Former President Donald Trump has said he is expecting to be arrested Tuesday in the city, though a grand jury has yet to make a decision. NBC New York's Jonathan Dienst, Marc Santia and Chris Glorioso have team coverage on the protests, the new testimony, and what the NYPD is preparing for.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg is thought to be eyeing charges in the hush money investigation, and recently offered Trump a chance to testify before the grand jury. Local law enforcement officials are bracing for the public safety ramifications of an unprecedented prosecution of a former American president.

The New York Young Republican Club organized a protest rally in lower Manhattan on Monday — and while a couple dozen Trump supporters donning red MAGA hats came out, it was a more subdued affair steps from the courthouse.

"The protests that have taken place so far have been small in nature and very peaceful," said former NYPD Chief of Department Terry Monahan. "If a pop up demonstration happens, I know NYPD can deploy hundreds of cops in a matter of minutes."

News 4 learned that the NYPD told thousands of its members to be prepared late Monday and through Tuesday for possible activity. Monday's rally wrapped up before the sun came down.

"We weren’t sure if we wanted to come out because obviously some people don’t like us. We are here to show there is support for President Trump on the bluest area in the country," said Gavin Wax, of the Young Republican Club.

A few incendiary but isolated posts also surfaced on fringe social media platforms from supporters calling for an armed confrontation with law enforcement at Trump's Florida estate, but that so far has yet to take shape in any form.

Law enforcement agencies have been conducting preliminary security assessments, five senior officials familiar with the discussions said Friday, to discuss potential plans for in and around Manhattan Criminal Court.

Any plan would include perimeter security around the courthouse and several hundred additional officers available to help manage any potential protests at locations around the city.

The officials stress that the interagency conversations and planning are precautionary in nature because no charges have been filed. The agencies involved include the NYPD, New York State Court Officers, the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, officials say.

A grand jury has voted to indict former President Donald Trump, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Here's what the case is all about.

In an internal email following Trump’s statements, Bragg said law enforcement would ensure that the 1,600 people who work in his office would remain safe, and that “any specific or credible threats” would be investigated.

“We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,” he wrote, and added: “In the meantime, as with all of our investigations, we will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, and speak publicly only when appropriate.”

There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case. At least one additional witness is expected to testify, further indicating that no vote to indict has yet been taken, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

That did not stop Trump from taking to his social media platform to say “illegal leaks” from Bragg’s office indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”

A Trump lawyer, Susan Necheles, said Trump’s post was “based on the media reports,” and a spokesperson said there had been “no notification” from Bragg’s office, though the origin of Trump’s Tuesday reference was unclear. The district attorney’s office declined to comment.

Trump’s aides and legal team have been preparing for the possibility of an indictment. Should that happen, he would be arrested only if he refused to surrender. Trump’s lawyers have previously said he would follow normal procedure, meaning he would likely agree to surrender at a New York Police Department precinct or directly to Bragg’s office.

In addition to the impending indictment to the hush money payment case, former President Donald Trump is also facing several other legal problems, including alleged election fraud, missing classified documents case and his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection. NBC New York's Andrew Siff reports.

It is unclear whether Trump’s supporters would heed his protest call or if he retains the same persuasive power he held as president. Trump’s posts on Truth Social generally receive far less attention than he used to get on Twitter, but he maintains a deeply loyal base. The aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot, in which hundreds of Trump loyalists were arrested and prosecuted in federal court, may also have dampened the passion among supporters for confrontation.

The indictment of Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings.

Even as Trump pursues his latest White House campaign — his first rally is set for Waco, Texas, later this month and he shook hands and took selfies with fans during a public appearance Saturday evening at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma — there is no question an indictment would be a distraction and give fodder to opponents and critics tired of the legal scandals that have long enveloped him.

Besides the hush money inquiry in New York, Trump faces separate criminal investigations in Atlanta and Washington over his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 election.

A Justice Department special counsel has also been presenting evidence before a grand jury investigating Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida estate. It is not clear when those investigations will end or whether they might result in criminal charges, but they will continue regardless of what happens in New York, underscoring the ongoing gravity – and broad geographic scope – of the legal challenges facing the former president.

Trump’s post on Saturday echoes one made last summer when he broke the news on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his Florida home as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents.

News of that search sparked a flood of contributions to Trump’s political operation, and on Saturday, Trump sent out a series of fundraising emails to his supporters, including one that claimed, “I’m not worried in the slightest.”

After his post, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy decried any plans to prosecute Trump as an “outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA” whom he claimed was pursuing “political vengeance.” Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, issued a statement with a similar sentiment.

The grand jury has been hearing from witnesses, including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who says he orchestrated payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about sexual encounters they said they had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump denies the encounters occurred, says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 campaign. Trump also has labeled Bragg, who is Black, a “racist” and has accused the prosecutor of letting crime in the city run amok while he has focused on Trump. New York remains one of the safest cities in the country.

Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.

Porn actor Stormy Daniels and at least two former Trump aides — onetime political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokesperson Hope Hicks — are among witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.

Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payouts were to buy their silence about Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors said Trump’s company paid him $420,000 as reimbursement for the $130,000 payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses. The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses. The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which kept her story from coming to light.

Federal prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the Enquirer’s corporate parent in exchange for its cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to charges against Cohen in 2018. Prosecutors said the payments to Daniels and McDougal amounted to impermissible, unrecorded gifts to Trump’s election effort.

Cohen pleaded guilty, served prison time and was disbarred. Federal prosecutors never charged Trump with any crime.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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