We answer the questions you were afraid to ask – Rolling Stone

With news that Donald Trump is preparing to be arrested, Americans rightly have questions. The arrest of a former president — who is also an active 2024 candidate — would be unprecedented in American history. Trump is raging on social media, his minions are calling the justice system rigged, protests are brewing, and it’s a good time to catch up on the long, dirty, confusing saga of the former president’s legal woes.

Here’s what you need to know:

Is Trump really get arrested?
Nothing here is certain until it happens, but there are many reasons to believe that it will come – and soon. Trump himself said Saturday that his arrest would be coming soon (more on exactly when in a moment), and Fox News reported Friday that the early preparations for the arrest of the ex-president were underway.

When will Trump be arrested?
Trump initially said Tuesday, but his team has since suggested the president has no specific knowledge of when an arrest will come. So while the broad consensus is that it’s expected in the coming week, we won’t know until it happens.

What would Trump be arrested for?
We will not know the specific charges against Trump until the indictment is closed. According to reports, and Trump himself, it could happen as early as next week. What we do know is that Trump is not in imminent legal danger over the elephant in the room — his role in sparking the bloody riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 after losing the 2020 election.

Instead, the investigation in question is focused on a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels a month before the 2016 election. The money was advanced by Trump fixer Micheal Cohen — but soon repaid by the Trump Organization.

Since the payment may have been made to prevent news of the decade-old tryst from interfering with Trump’s presidential bid, investigators have argued that it could constitute an illegal campaign contribution. (Some in Trump’s circle have suggested that he should argue that the payment had nothing to do with his campaign and everything to do with keeping his marriage peaceful, even though the president, Rolling stones reported last month, has been reluctant to use that defense.) Reports suggest prosecutors may also be looking at charges of falsifying business records related to the effort to hide the payment.

On his Truth Social account, Trump referred to the allegations as related to “an old and fully debunked (by numerous other accusers!) fairy tale.”

Who is behind the indictment?
Alvin Bragg. Bragg was elected Manhattan District Attorney in 2021. He was previously a deputy attorney general in New York, where he helped oversee legal proceedings that led to the shutdown of the Trump Foundation.

Can you really arrest a former president? And can you put him in jail?
We are in uncharted territory. Richard Nixon was pardoned before he could face the criminal justice system for his involvement in Watergate. While sitting presidents are largely immune from prosecution, the voters’ ouster of Trump in 2020 makes him subject to the rule of law like everyone else.

However, a former president has unusual security protocols, and terms of any arrest must be worked out with the Secret Service. No one is kicking down any doors here. Will there be handcuffs? A frog march? Fox News reported Friday on negotiations between the Manhattan DA’s office and the Secret Service on how to conduct an expected arrest, fingerprinting and booking.

If it was so long ago with Stormy Daniels, why now?
In short: Because Trump is no longer in office. News of the Daniels payment broke in 2018, nearly a year into Trump’s term. In May of that year, Trump admitted that he had asked his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to be reimbursed for the $130,000 payment to Daniels. The loan to Cohen had been omitted from earlier disclosures, leading to allegations of a coverup.

Cohen would eventually plead guilty to several charges related to the payment, including tax and bank fraud, as well as campaign finance violations. During the case, Cohen directly implicated Trump as the mastermind behind the payment scheme.

Throughout Trump’s presidency, the courts and the Justice Department engaged in an extended discussion about whether criminal charges could be brought against a sitting president, without reaching a conclusion. Now that Trump is no longer in office, a major roadblock to prosecution has been lifted.

Is Trump mad? OKAY. Lived. We already know that. How crazy is Trump?
Trump appeared to confirm rumors of his impending arrest in a series of posts on his Truth Social account on Saturday. Using all caps for thunderous emphasis, Trump began in an apocalyptic tone, decrying the “death” of the American Dream; the depravity of “radical left anarchists”; and the injustice of “patriots being arrested and held captive like animals.”

He then continued: “Now, illegal leaks from a corrupt and highly political Manhattan District Attorney’s office … indicate that … the far-away Republican front-runner and former President of the United States, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week.”

Trump called his supporters to take to the streets: “Protest, take back our nation! It’s time!!! We must save America! Protest, protest, protest!!!” The calls for a new wave of unrest — and disturbing echoes of Jan. 6 — come as Trump recently had access to his regular social media accounts restored, including his March 17 YouTube account.

What are Trump’s henchmen saying?
Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy tweeted that the impending arrest was “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals go while pursuing political revenge against President Trump.”

Mike Pence, who recently said Trump endangered the former vice president’s family on Jan. 6, chose to take the party line in this one, criticizing the Manhattan district attorney and questioning his motives.

Rudy Giuliani of Truth Social argued, “What the Democrats are doing to President Trump, they will do to you. They have destroyed the fair and equal administration of justice in the United States.”

Rep. Playing dubious whataboutism on Truth, Andy Biggs of Arizona wrote: “President Trump is about to be impeached by some of the crooks in the Biden family. Think about it. We have a bipartisan justice system.”

Also on Truth Social stated rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas (Trump’s former White House physician) “Soros-owned DAs” engaged in “vendettas against conservatives” before coming out to advocate for President Biden’s impeachment. “The nation is falling apart. We need Trump back in charge NOW!”


What do top Democrats say?
Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi took to Twitter Saturday in an attempt to calm the water. “Whatever the grand jury decides, its brief makes clear: no one is above the law, not even a former president of the United States.”

She called Trump’s Truth Social statement a “reckless” attempt to “incite unrest among his supporters.” And she insisted that justice must be served: “He cannot hide from his violations of the law, disrespect for our elections and incitement to violence. Rightfully so, our legal system will decide how to hold him accountable.”

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