If a New York grand jury indicts Donald Trump in connection with hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, it could put another spin on the bitter rivalry between the former president and his likely challenger for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Because if Trump refuses to travel from his home in Mar-a-Lago to voluntarily surrender to police in Manhattan, it would be up to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign a local arrest warrant.
The situation may be hypothetical, but it is one of the potential scenarios that could play out if the nation enters the uncharted territory of a former president, and current presidential candidate, who is being impeached.
And it could put DeSantis in a terrible spot.
Legal experts say he would have little choice in authorizing the extradition of a Florida resident to New York, knowing that Trump’s base will always blame him as the man who signed the warrant for the former president’s arrest.
There could be another twist in the legal saga unfolding in New York, giving Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a pivotal role in sending Donald Trump to be arrested in Manhattan.
Trump supporters rallied in support of the former president near his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on Tuesday, the day he said he was going to be arrested.
For now, the grand jury appears to be finishing its job, hearing its last witnesses before considering whether to enter an indictment.
‘Assuming it is, Trump would be notified and given the opportunity to come to New York voluntarily for booking (fingerprints and photo) and shortly thereafter brought before the judge for arraignment on the charges (where Trump can plead innocent and a determination of whether he will be released pending trial, at which he will certainly be given the nature of the crimes, although he would probably have to surrender his passport),’ said Joshua Dressler.
‘If he refuses to come to New York, it’s not out of the question that they’ll try to handle the matter remotely.
‘Otherwise, yes, an extradition hearing would be required. I think it’s unlikely that DeSantis will try to intervene in any way.
The case broke out in the media over the weekend when Trump himself posted a message saying he expected to be arrested on Tuesday.
Trump supporters expressed outrage over what they said was a politically motivated case. And he asked the governor of Florida to help block the arrest.
But DeSantis drew his ire by waiting more than 48 hours before commenting and then suggested he had more important things to focus on.
Photographers monitor Trump’s 757 private plane at West Palm Beach International Airport for any sign that the former president is about to take the flight to New York.
Trump supporters toured the highway that runs from West Palm Beach to Palm Beach and to the former president’s home in Florida.
Supporters said they were there to peacefully protest the politically motivated decision to bring possible charges against the former president.
Although he has not declared that he is running, DeSantis is already Trump’s biggest rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
And in his comments he suggested that he would stay away from the legal case.
“We are not going to get involved in that in any way,” he told reporters.
Trump’s lawyers have already said they hope the former president will voluntarily travel to New York to turn himself in.
But the famously quixotic president has been known to change his mind at the last minute, leaving the possibility that the police may have to come looking for him.
And there’s probably little DeSantis can do anyway to protect Trump, whether he wants to or not, according to Ric Simmons, a law professor at Ohio State University.
A US Secret Service agent can be seen guarding the Mar-a-Lago Club, home of former President Donald Trump, on Tuesday.
New York prosecutors could also seek an injunction from a Florida judge, he said.
‘You can do that with a judge, and the judge can approve it. Or they can go to DeSantis, it’s kind of a ministerial rubber stamp.
“If DeSantis refuses, it can really slow it down, since they can go to a judge instead.
All you can do is delay it if you want.
“But an important point is that this doesn’t prevent him from being charged and if he ever goes to New York, he will be arrested.”
Trump used a social media post on Saturday to call on his supporters to protest as he said he expects to be arrested on Tuesday. Helpers say they don’t know the time
For Trump allies, DeSantis’s response to the impending impeachment of the former president has ended his chances of winning over Republican primary voters.
“The last 72 hours have basically put the nail in DeSantis’s coffin for the 2024 presidential campaign,” he said.
‘He has finished.
“This is his Edwin Muskie moment.”
His 1972 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination fell apart after an emotional speech in a New Hampshire snowstorm. The Washington Post, among others, reported that he had “tears running down his face”, although correspondents later admitted that they may have been rivulets of snow melting on his face.
That wasn’t enough to save his presidential run.