Trump huddles with senior advisers at Mar-a-Lago as possible indictment looms
Several sources close to former President Donald Trump say he is currently huddling at his private club at Mar-a-Lago and meeting with his team, including his lawyers and senior advisers from his campaign operation, as he awaits a possible indictment in New York City.
Trump posted on social media over the weekend that he expected to be arrested this week by the Manhattan district attorney, who has been investigating whether Trump was involved in allegedly falsifying business records to hide campaign finance violations tied to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
The former president did not post any details about what the charges would be, but Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been probing whether Trump violated New York bookkeeping law by allegedly directing Michael Cohen to pay Daniels in exchange for her silence ahead of the 2016 election.
If an indictment is handed down, it is likely Trump would fly from Mar-a-Lago to New York and turn himself in, sources close to Trump said. According to a Trump adviser, he is considering making a statement in front of the Manhattan Criminal Court before turning himself in.
Trump's team has been planning since last week for an aggressive public relations push and has added more personnel including some other key players involved in other Trump-related investigations into the mix, as first reported by The New York Times. The Trump operation will also supply surrogates for counter messaging.
Some of Trump's advisers have told CBS News that they believe the Manhattan investigation and the possible indictment could help him politically with his base and note the majority of his 2024 rivals have denounced Bragg's investigation as "politically motivated."
The campaign has already sent about a dozen fundraising emails referring to the possible indictment, and Trump posted a 60-second video attacking Bragg on his social media platform on Monday.
While Trump is currently using his potential indictment for fundraising and political advantage, it's an issue that may divide Republicans. He has a base that will continue to support him in the face of any criminal charge against him, but for others who approve of his policies, it would be a reminder that there may be other candidates in the party who don't face the same kinds of legal challenges. As one potential Trump rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, put it Monday after denouncing Bragg's investigation, "I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I just can't speak to that."
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