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New York, DC prepare for possible Trump indictment in hush money probe

CNN takes a closer look at the legal drama surrounding Donald Trump. Watch “CNN Primetime: Inside the Trump Investigations” Tuesday, March 21 at 9 p.m. ET.



CNN
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Officials in New York and Washington, DC, are preparing for potential protests as a grand jury empaneled as part of the investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged role in a scheme to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels continues to weigh possible charges.

In New York City – where the grand jury has been meeting – all NYPD officers are expected to be in uniform and ready for deployment Tuesday, according to an internal memo that a source shared with CNN. Law enforcement officials told CNN that although Tuesday is a “high alert day,” there is currently no credible threat.

The memo came in response to Trump’s social media posts over the weekend that called on his supporters to protest in response to a potential arrest, echoing the calls he made for protests in Washington, DC, in response to his 2020 election loss – protests that later turned violent when scores of his supporters stormed the Capitol. While Washington police are similarly preparing, the US Capitol Police force “is not currently tracking any direct or credible threats to the US Capitol,” according to a department intelligence assessment obtained Monday by CNN.

A source close to the Trump legal team told CNN that should Trump be indicted, they do not expect any arrest or initial appearance to happen before next week. As of Monday night, they did not have any guidance on the timing of a potential indictment beyond that they had been told by Manhattan district attorney’s office that nothing was expected Tuesday.

An indictment could come at any time, and law enforcement officials involved in the discussions have stressed the need to adequately prepare for the complex choreography of a Trump surrender and court appearance. Federal, state and local law enforcement met Monday in New York City to discuss the planning, a senior law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing discussions about security said.

The Manhattan DA’s office has signaled it is closing in on a decision of whether or not to indict the former president.

Attorney Robert Costello, at the request of Trump’s legal team, testified Monday for nearly three hours in front of the grand jury in an effort to discredit the testimony of the former president’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, who has admitted to paying $130,000 to Daniels just before the 2016 election to stop her from going public about an alleged affair with the former president.

Cohen made himself available to the DA’s office as a rebuttal witness Monday but was “not needed,” according to a statement provided to CNN by his lawyer.

Trump – who has denied having an affair with Daniels and says the probe by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, is politically motivated – has been agitating for his team to get his base riled up and believes that an indictment would help him politically, multiple people briefed on the matter told CNN, though in private, he has called the looming development “unfair.”

On Capitol Hill, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, House Oversight Chairman James Comer and House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil said they intend to investigate whether Bragg and his office used federal public safety funds as part of its grand jury probe in an extraordinary move to intervene in the investigation.

A spokesperson for Bragg responded by saying that the district attorney’s team “will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law.”

“In every prosecution, we follow the law without fear or favor to uncover the truth. Our skilled, honest and dedicated lawyers remain hard at work,” the spokesperson continued.

CNN’s Paula Reid, Shimon Prokupecz, Priscilla Alvarez, Devan Cole, Alex Marquardt and Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.

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