BY TN ASHOK
New York– Former US President Donald Trump has reportedly told his legal team and political advisors that he will escalate attacks against the Manhattan District Attorney (DA) Alvin Bragg whose prosecution on the hush money case involving adult film star Stormy Daniels created a nationwide political firestorm resulting in his possible sealed indictment by a New York grand jury.
The DA has issued an internal memo to law enforcement agencies in the metro to be ready in uniform and vigilant against any possible law and order problem from Trump supporters.
The entire nation is on alert against possible attacks by Trump supporters reminiscent of the January 6, 2021 Capitol Hill riot.
The former President has told advisers and associates he is ready to upscale attacks against the Manhattan DA who has taken the criminal prosecution into his hush money payments to Daniels in 2016 to a climax resulting in a grand jury reportedly indicting him, media reports said.
Trump has told people close to him he will take the offensive route revealing his sense of deep hurt by the possible indictment – so much so he told them at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida over the weekend, he intends to “rough’ em up”.
Media reports perceive Trump’s posts on his social platform Truth Social as being pugilistic, that his prosecution was purely political and the accusations against Bragg of being a psychopath.
The language increasingly used by Trump on Truth Social on his possible indictment shows his determination to double down on those attacks reflecting his time-tested political stunts of brawling with prosecutors, especially when faced with legal trouble that he knows he cannot avoid, people close to him were quoted by the media as saying.
The Guardian claimed that the Mar-a-Lago decision to retort against the Manhattan DA is part of an overall strategy Trump has hatched to respond to the indictment from a legal and political standpoint.
The New York lower Manhattan case against Trump focuses on the alleged payments of $130,000 that he paid to Daniels through his former lawyer Michael Cohen in the final days of his 2016 run for the presidency which he won defeating the democratic candidate former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
Media reports claim that Trump later reimbursed Cohen with $35,000 checks, which were recorded as legal expenses.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal tax evasion and campaign-finance violation charges.
With the judgement day approaching, no one has a clue as to what are the exact charges levelled against him. But there is general belief in the media that they could include the falsification of business records at Trump businesses and some additional charges that could easily enhance a “misdemeanour to a felony”, the Guardian said.
Trump has told advisers that he is innocent and that he has done nothing breaching the laws of the state and that he will not do anything before the court like agreeing to a plea bargain that would show him as admitting to his possible culpability, reports said.
Trump’s tone, being dubbed as pugnacious by the media, has exacerbated in recent days with his critical posts against New York state Supreme Court justice Juan Merchan, who is now presiding over the case. He presided over a different case involving the Trump Organization last year.
On his Truth Social platform, Trump said Merchan had “railroaded” his Trump Business CEO Allen Weisselberg, who is now in the midst of serving a 100-day sentence in the Rikers Island jail complex after pleading guilty to tax fraud charges in that case before the Manhattan court.
Referring to Judge Merchan, Trump said: “The Judge assigned’ to my Witch Hunt Case, a Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME.”
Trump is doing everything in his book of political tricks to see how he can leverage the maximum political advantage from the possible indictment.
He himself believes that the indictment will boost his poll numbers over potential rivals for the Republican nomination for 2024.
Obsessed with getting a mugshot taken and being fingerprinted by the NY police for records, Trump has asked whether his team could print it on T-shirts that could serve as a rallying motif for his supporters – an idea that his advisers have been particularly enthusiastic about, the Guardian said.
Weekend polls by Yahoo News showed Trump leading over his potential 2024 rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The poll showed Trump leading 57 per cent to 31 per cent in a hypothetical one-on-one contest. It also revealed that Trump was ahead in garnering majority support at 52 per cent in a field of candidates for the presidency — rivals being former Vice President Mike Pence, DeSantis and former UN Ambassador of US Nikky Haley.
Trump’s tumultuous four years in the White House made it clear how crucial a healthy, free press is to the functioning of democracy and the pursuit of accountability, the Guardian said.
Lawsuits against Fox News, which has now dumped Trump after the November 2022 midterms results, for pushing the former President’s “big lie” of a stolen election, also shed light on how a toxic, symbiotic relationship between politics and media can work together to sow misinformation and push democracy to the brink, the newspaper observed. (IANS)