Talk of Trump’s arrest inspires sympathy for the former president, says Sununu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The possibility of Donald Trump being charged with allegedly concealing hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 campaign draws sympathy for the former Republican president, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said on Sunday.

Trump, whose supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 to reverse his 2020 election defeat, said he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and called for protests. He provided no evidence of his arrest concerns and his spokesman said the former president had not been notified of an imminent arrest.

“It builds a lot of sympathy for the former president,” Sununu, also a Republican, told CNN’s State of the Union program and said he spoke to some people Sunday who aren’t “big Trump supporters.” be, but everyone said … . they felt attacked.”

Trump is targeting the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Sununu, a relatively moderate, is considering a run and appeared to be trying not to upset Trump supporters.

Asked if Trump has a specific responsibility to ensure protests don’t turn violent, Sununu said “well, sure,” but was quick to add that it was a broader societal responsibility, saying, “You can’t.” just impose on the former president.”

Trump’s former national security adviser HR McMaster and former economic adviser Gary Cohn on Sunday urged Trump supporters to respond peacefully to any developments this week.

Prominent Republicans such as Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have suggested that a potential prosecution by Democrat Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would be politically motivated.

No US President has been prosecuted during or after his term of office. Trump has said he will continue campaigning even if he is charged with a crime.


In a social media post on Sunday, Trump accused President Joe Biden of playing a role in the Manhattan probe but offered no evidence. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for Bragg, whose office has investigated a $130,000 hush payment by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen to pornographic actor Stormy Daniels, declined to comment Sunday.

Sources say Bragg’s office has presented evidence to a grand jury for the payment, made in the closing days of the 2016 campaign in return for Daniel’s silence about an affair she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump has denied the affair and called Bragg’s investigation a witch hunt.

Robert Costello, an attorney, is scheduled to appear before the Manhattan grand jury Monday, a source familiar with the matter said, suggesting Costello was questioning Cohen’s credibility.

A witness is due to appear Monday at the request of Trump’s lawyers to provide exculpatory information about the former president, another source told Reuters on Saturday.

Costello’s expected appearance was first reported by the New York Times.

Legal experts have said if Trump were indicted, a trial was still more than a year away, potentially coinciding with the final months of the 2024 presidential campaign.

When asked if the Trump legal drama could help him politically, top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries told MSNBC’s Inside with Jen Psaki that American voters rejected political extremism during the 2022 midterm elections.

“I assume that they will continue to do so in the future,” he said on Sunday. “It’s unfortunate that extreme has gone mainstream for this version of the Republican Party.”

(Reporting by Karen Freifield, Arshad Mohammed, Michelle Nichols, Kanishka Singh, and Nandita Bose; Editing by Mark Porter and Chris Reese)

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