7m ago / 4:37 PM UTC
Asa Hutchinson says Trump should drop out of presidential race
In Asa Hutchinson’s interview yesterday on ABC’s This Week, the new GOP presidential contender said Donald Trump should no longer run for president.
“I do believe if — if we’re looking at the presidency and the future of our country, then we don’t need that distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on the legal issues that he faces,” Hutchinson said to Jonathan Karl.
While Hutchinson said Trump should drop out, he did not support the predicted charges.
“I don’t like the idea of the charges, from what I’ve seen coming out of New York,” Hutchinson said in the interview. “But the process has got to work, and we’ve got to have respect for our criminal justice system, but also for the office of presidency.
The former governor of Arkansas is the most critical GOP primary opponent of Trump so far.
Hutchinson said that while he thinks Trump should drop out, he will not, so voters will ultimately have to decide.
9m ago / 4:35 PM UTC
Trump departs Mar-a-Lago for New York
Trump has left his Florida residence and his headed toward New York.
As Trump’s motorcade drove toward the airport, a small number of protesters lined up on the side of the road to support him.
In a social media post yesterday, Trump said he would leave Mar-a-Lago at noon and spend a night in Trump Tower in Manhattan before going to the courthouse on Tuesday morning.
17m ago / 4:27 PM UTC
What Trump risks if he keeps talking about the judge in his case
For days, Trump has been on a tear on social media, railing against Bragg’s hush money investigation, Michael Cohen, prosecutors, and more recently, the judge presiding over the historic case.
Without evidence, he’s referred to Judge Juan Merchan as “Trump Hating” and suggested that Merchan was “handpicked” by Bragg.
Trump has previously referred to Bragg an “animal” in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social. In another earlier Truth Social posting, he appears to have shared an article that included an image of him wielding a baseball bat juxtaposed next to an image of Bragg’s head. That post was deleted.
All defendants have a right to vigorously defend their innocence, but Trump can’t threaten the prosecutor without risking other legal charges under New York law.
51m ago / 3:53 PM UTC
Viktor Orbán tweets support for Trump
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shared his support for Trump this morning on Twitter.
“Keep on fighting, Mr. President! We are with you, @realDonaldTrump,” he wrote.
Orbán has veered Hungary increasingly to the right during his four terms at the country’s helm. He and Trump have supported each other, with the former president endorsing Orbán at the beginning of last year, shortly before Orbán’s re-election. Orbán was also a speaker at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference, a Republican gathering that has favored Trump in recent years.
Orbán’s tweet has garnered more than 14,000 likes so far.
1h ago / 3:40 PM UTC
NYPD plans to escort Trump from LaGuardia to Trump Tower
When Trump arrives at LaGuardia Airport today, the plan is to have a couple of NYPD highway units escort the vehicle out of the airport for the drive to Trump Tower in Manhattan, three senior officials say.
One NYPD vehicle will be driving in front of Trump’s car and one will be behind.
The NYPD escort plan is to provide general security and to mitigate any safety concerns. One official said security officials don’t want a paparazzi “Princess Diana motorcycle-like chase” — or any other safety issue — during the drive to Trump Tower, the sources said.
As of this morning, there was no plan to have additional units shut down any roads or lanes from LaGuardia to Trump Tower.
The U.S. Service Service has the final say regarding which route to take or what form of travel to take. Several routes have been mapped out, which is routine.
1h ago / 3:21 PM UTC
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene reschedules ‘Rally for Trump’
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., one of Trump’s fiercest supporters on Capitol Hill, moved her “Rally for Trump” to 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, before the former president’s scheduled arraignment.
Greene will be in New York ahead of Trump’s planned surrender to law enforcement. Late last week, Greene called for protests after Trump’s indictment. She will hold her rally at Collect Pond Park, blocks from the court.
“I’m going to New York on Tuesday. We MUST protest the unconstitutional WITCH HUNT!” she tweeted.
The calls have so far received a muted response, with few protesters coming out against Trump’s indictment. But the New York City Police Department has ramped up security ahead of Trump’s expected arraignment.
2h ago / 2:33 PM UTC
2h ago / 2:27 PM UTC
Barr says Trump ‘lacks all self-control’ and should avoid testifying in a potential trial
William Barr, Trump’s former attorney general, said yesterday that it would be a “particularly bad idea” for the former president to testify on his own behalf, as Trump “lacks all self-control.”
“I’m not his lawyer. Generally, I think it’s a bad idea to go on the stand, and I think it’s a particularly bad idea for Trump, because he lacks all self-control, and it would be very difficult to prepare him and keep him testifying in a prudent fashion,” Barr said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
Barr served twice as the country’s top law enforcement officer, under the first President Bush and then again under Trump. But he has come out against Trump for his false claims about the 2020 election.
2h ago / 2:20 PM UTC
Vivek Ramaswamy calls on Bragg to drop charges
GOP allies continue falling in line behind Trump, criticizing the indictment of the former president and calling prosecution “politically motivated.”
Republican primary competitor Vivek Ramaswamy put out a television ad calling on the Manhattan DA to drop the “corrupt” charges. He said he expects every Republican to join him.
“We’re not some banana republic where the ruling party gets to use its police power to arrest its political opponents,” Ramaswamy said in the ad. He is not considered to be a top GOP contender for the nomination.
AdImpact, an advertisement data tracking company, found the ad running nationally on Newsmax and a media market that covers much of New Hampshire, an early nominating state.
3h ago / 2:11 PM UTC
Trump camp says post-indictment fundraising eclipses $5 million
Trump’s campaign says it’s raised more than $5 million since the news of his indictment was first reported Thursday night.
While the campaign initially touted raising $4 million in the first 24 hours after the indictment, a campaign official tells NBC News it’s since eclipsed $5 million. (Axios first reported the updated total.)
It won’t be possible to verify those claims until fundraising reports are filed with the Federal Election Commission on April 15. Friday was also the last day of the first fundraising quarter, when campaigns typically make a final push before closing their books on the first three months of the year.
But the Trump campaign is clearly trying to send the message that the indictment is helping — not hurting — his presidential bid. The campaign noted in a press release that in the first 24 hours after the indictment, 25% of contributions came from first-time donors.
3h ago / 2:03 PM UTC
Trump calls for new judge and trial venue in overnight Truth Social post
Trump claimed it would be “IMPOSSIBLE” for him to get a fair trial in New York and called for a new trial venue and judge in an overnight post on his Truth Social site.
“The Corrupt D.A. has no case,” he wrote. “What he does have is a venue where it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to get a Fair Trial (it must be changed!)”.
Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina said yesterday that it was “way too premature” to be thinking about venue changes. Speaking about motions Trump’s team could file, he added, that “everything’s on the table,” in an interview with ABC News’ “This Week.”
In his post, Trump also referred to Judge Juan Merchan as “Trump Hating,” and said “he must be changed!”
Tacopina said yesterday that he doesn’t believe Merchan is unfair. “Do I think the judge is biased? Of course not,” he said. “How could I subscribe to that when I’ve had no interactions with the judge that would lead me to believe he’s biased?”
Trump attorney James Trusty, who represents him in a separate case, said on “Fox News Sunday” about Trump’s attacks on Merchan, “Well, the president’s a big believer in free speech — as you know, he’s got strong opinions.”
3h ago / 2:03 PM UTC
New poll: Most Americans approve of Trump indictment
As many as 60% of Americans approve of the Trump indictment, even though 76% say politics played a role in it, according to a new CNN poll of 1,048 adults conducted Friday through Saturday by the polling firm SSRS.
Americans have been following news of the indictment closely, with 94% saying they had heard at least a little about it and 51% saying they had heard a lot, even though the poll was conducted in the first 48 hours after the news broke.
Americans were split on whether Trump’s payments to porn star Stormy Daniels were illegal — 37% said they were, while 33% said they were unethical, but not illegal. Only 10% said the payments were “not wrong at all” while another 20% weren’t sure.
While Democrats nearly universally approved of the indictment, Republicans were slightly less unanimous in their opposition to it, with only 54% strongly disapproving. Independents were mostly in favor of the indictment, with 62% approving of it and 38% disapproving.