Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Donald Trump of recklessly attempting to stoke rage among his supporters after the former president called for protests in response to his expected arrest over alleged hush payments in 2016.
The California Democrat warned that Mr. Trump “cannot hide from his violations of the law, disrespect for our elections and incitements to violence.
“The former president’s announcement this morning is reckless: doing so to keep himself in the news & to foment unrest among his supporters,” Mrs. Pelosi wrote on Twitter.
She also defended Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s multi-year investigation into payments Mr. Trump allegedly made to porn star Stormy Daniels through his lawyer Micheal Cohen ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Cohen, who plead guilty to campaign finance law violations and lying to Congress, said the payouts were to buy their silence about previous relations with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump has denied the allegations and called the probe a “witch hunt.”
“Whatever the Grand Jury decides, its consideration makes clear: no one is above the law, not even a former President of the United States,” Mrs. Pelosi said on Saturday.
The former president cited leaked information from the Manhattan district attorney’s office signaling that he would be arrested in the coming days.
In a post on Truth Social on Saturday, Mr. Trump called for his supporters to protest what he said is a politically driven indictment.
A spokesperson Mr. Bragg declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Mr. Trump said the former president has received no formal notification from prosecutors of an impending arrest “other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office, to NBC and other fake news carriers.”
“President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system,” the spokesperson told The Washington Times.
Republicans were quick to rally behind the former president.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who has been critical of Mr. Trump for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol spoke out in defense of his former boss after Mr. Trump sounded the alarm over his impending arrest.
“Well, like many Americans, I’m just, I’m taken aback,” Mr. Pence told SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday and host Matt Boyle.
“You have literally a Democratic party that’s literally dismantled the criminal justice system in that city, undercut the NYPD, and this is what the Manhattan DA says is their top priority?” he said. “It reeks of the kind of political prosecution that we endured back in the days of the Russia hoax and the whole impeachment over a phone call.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused Mr. Bragg of “an outrageous abuse of power” after former President Donald Trump claimed that he will be arrested on Tuesday.
The California Republican called for congress to immediately investigate potential election interference carried out through “politically motivated prosecutions” targeting Mr. Trump.
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” Mr. McCarthy wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday. “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.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the first impeachment trial against Mr. Trump, accused Mr. McCarthy of attempting to shield the former president from accountability.
“Kevin McCarthy once again playing the part of criminal defense counsel to shield Trump from accountability,” the California Democrat wrote on Twitter. “Heedless of the consequences to the country, he stirs the pot, and calls for an investigation of the investigators.”
“It’s all part of Trump’s playbook,” he wrote.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.