New York police are stepping up security and scanning social media for threats as the city prepares for protests over the possible criminal indictment of former President Donald Trump, including an expected “car caravan” of Trump supporters planning to arrive from Long Island on Tuesday, the Daily News has learned.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could indict Trump on felony charges as soon as this week, and Mayor Adams, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and other top NYPD officers held a briefing for the local elected officials Monday afternoon to describe the security preparations underway in anticipation of the potential tax bomb. .
The Daily News obtained a recording of the private briefing.
Adams and the police officers repeatedly stressed that they have no idea of Bragg’s decision-making. They also said there are no credible threats of violence against the city in connection with Trump’s possible impeachment.
Still, NYPD intelligence and counterterrorism chief Thomas Galati said police expect protests, including from a pro-Trump group that will gather outside Trump Tower in Midtown on Tuesday.
That group is expected to march from Trump Tower to the Manhattan Criminal Court, and “a potential caravan of cars coming from Long Island” could join “to escort them,” Galati said at the briefing.
“We will not tolerate any violence, we will not tolerate any destruction of property. Again, no threats, but we are actively monitoring the stream of threats for conversations related to protests, counter-protests or any civil disobedience,” Sewell said, adding that the NYPD is deploying officers to several “key” locations. , including Trump Tower, courthouses and municipal government buildings.
“We will have teams that can respond at any time in case there are any arrests or civil disobedience,” Sewell added.
A few hours after the briefing, a small group of Trump supporters gathered in Foley Square near the Manhattan Criminal Court. The protest was organized by the New York Young Republican Club, which has ties to the extreme right of the Republican Party.
The exact timing of a potential Trump impeachment remains unclear.
Adams said he sees people coming in from out of town as the biggest problem amid a looming impeachment by Trump.
“It is very important that we allow the prosecutor to do his job and not escalate the situation at all,” he told the briefing. “There are many outsiders who could aggravate the situation, so we will be vigilant on our end.”
A grand jury convened by Bragg has been investigating Trump’s role in reimbursing Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney, for a secret $130,000 payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election. Cohen testified under oath that Daniels accepted the payment with the promise that she would remain silent about her allegation that she and Trump had sex in 2006.
Under Bragg’s theory, which could lead to felony charges, Trump could have committed crimes related to campaign finance and business history by buying Daniels’ silence before the election he won, sources say. If impeached, Trump would be the first former president in US history to face criminal charges.
Earlier Monday, law enforcement sources told The News that if Trump is indicted and turns himself in, he will avoid a notorious crime walk and instead appear, with his lawyers, at Bragg’s offices in midtown Manhattan, where he likely Your mugshot will be taken.
In another sign that impeachment may be imminent, NYPD personnel could be seen Monday morning setting up security barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court, where Trump’s potential arraignment would take place. . Barricades were also set up outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
The barricades are just a constraint, with the Secret Service and the NYPD weighing whether there should be a freeze zone around the courthouse, if only to get Trump inside without incident.
At the Monday afternoon briefing, New York Police Department Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said there are no current plans to shut down large swaths of Manhattan, but police will do so if necessary.
“If we need to close a street, we will close a street,” he said.
The Secret Service and the NYPD are expected to use bomb-sniffing dogs inside and outside the courthouse during a possible arraignment. Rooftop snipers, a staple of presidential security, are also a possibility, the sources said.
The New York police, as they do every day, have been scouring social media for signs of trouble, even if there are reasons to fear a confrontation between Trump supporters and critics. There is also concern that a horde of Trump supporters will converge on the courthouse.
The New York police are expected to monitor Bragg’s residence, the sources said.
Trump claimed on social media last weekend that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and, in an echo of his infamous comments before the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, urged his supporters to take to the streets in protest.
About two dozen pro-Trump protesters gathered to criticize the district attorney at the protest Monday night, which began in Foley Square but moved to Collect Pond Park, across the street from the office of the Bragg.
“Alvin Bragg is a racist,” said Lucas Federico, 20. “He is corrupt. He is doing this because his friend George Soros told him to.”
Trump has also referred to the black district attorney as a racist.
Controversial Brooklyn activist Heshy Tischler appeared in the crowd filled with flags bearing Trump’s name and the slogan “Don’t tread on me.” She described the accusation as “frivolous.”
“This is a spectacle that will put New York City to shame,” Tischler said of the allegation. “It’s a waste of time and it’s going to cost millions of dollars. We don’t want Mr. Trump to give up. Never, never, never give up.”
Bragg’s office rejected such criticism.
“We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we allow unsubstantiated allegations to prevent us from applying the law fairly,” spokeswoman Danielle Filson said in a statement.
The grand jury in charge of making the final decision on whether to impeach Trump spent two hours listening to testimony from Bob Costello, a lawyer for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of the former president’s top surrogates. Costello spent the time attacking Cohen.
The timing of Costello’s testimony suggested the grand jury would soon vote on whether to indict the former president.