April 13, 2024

Trump’s indictment in New York removes “going first” factor for other investigations into former president

From CNN’s Evan Perez

There’s a rip-off-the-band-aid factor to today’s New York arrest and arraignment of Former President Donald Trump.

It’s an intangible aspect that Justice Department officials have long thought eventually federal prosecutors would confront: Would they be the first to charge a former president with a crime?

Now, New York City prosecutors have done it.

Justice officials say Special Counsel Jack Smith won’t be swayed by the case brought by the New York District Attorney.

The cases are separate and won’t be affected by today’s unprecedented events, officials say.

In appointing Smith, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he expected investigators “to make decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.”

There are growing indications that Smith and his team are nearing a crucial point in their classified documents investigation, which could include possible charges of illegal retention of national security documents and obstruction of justice.

As with any prosecution, Smith will have to weigh his discretion on whether the charges are appropriate.

One factor that won’t have to be weighed: Being the first to charge the former president with a crime.

Trump plans to say one brief line before entering courtroom, advisers say, saving rest of remarks for tonight

From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny

Former President Donald Trump plans to deliver brief comments — one short line, advisers tell CNN — before he enters the Manhattan courtroom this afternoon.

While his aides said they hope that is the extent of his remarks until tonight when he speaks at Mar-a-Lago, they note that he could chart his own course.

CNN reported earlier that advisers have urged him to hold off until he has the command of his own ballroom tonight, where hundreds of his supporters, surrogates and friends are expected to gather. Advisers have also warned Trump that any unplanned remarks put him at high risk of hurting his case. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago speech is expected to have legal eyes on it before he delivers it tonight.

Trump has spent the morning on the phone with Republican allies, his tight circle of political advisers and his legal team, with an intensifying focus on what specific charges are contained in the sealed indictment. He cannot fully assess the political or legal road ahead until he learns just what, specifically, is in the indictment.

As he prepares to leave the Trump Tower shortly after lunchtime today, the former president will lose a measure of control that he has wielded over every political battle, tabloid scandal and business dealing for decades in Manhattan. After he surrenders – even in his defiance and not guilty plea – he will be a criminal defendant, something he has spent a lifetime trying to avoid.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Kristen Holmes contributed reporting to this post.

No credible threats ahead of Trump arraignment, New York City mayor’s office says

From CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia

Protesters outside the courthouse building where later today Trump will be arraigned in New York on Tuesday.
Protesters outside the courthouse building where later today Trump will be arraigned in New York on Tuesday. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office reiterated that there are no credible threats ahead of former President Donald Trump’s arraignment today.

Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, said Adams’ earlier statements still stand.

At a news conference Monday, Adams told reporters there were no credible threats ahead of the arraignment and that the NYPD remained poised to respond to any situation.

“While there may be some rabble rousers thinking about coming to our city tomorrow, our message is clear and simple: Control yourselves,” he said.

How Trump’s New York arraignment is impacting other nearby court activity

From CNN’s Ray Sanchez in New York City

Former President Donald Trump’s scheduled arraignment have calmed the streets of Manhattan’s civic center. But just about a block away, dozens of immigrants stood outside the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) district office in Federal Plaza, looking anxious and confused.

Many had immigration interviews and other matters scheduled for Tuesday and were now finding out that the USCIS offices were closed because of security threats related to the Trump proceedings.

Some marveled at the irony that a politician and former president known for his anti-immigrant stance had once again managed to interject himself into their lives, even on the day of his arrest on criminal charges.

“Trump is paying for his actions but that does not make me happy,” said Gloria, a 52-year-old undocumented migrant from Bosa, Colombia, who had an interview scheduled Tuesday for a political asylum claim. “Who am I to judge him? I did the right thing. I’m here for my hearing and I’m being turned away.”

She arrived in New York one month ago after crossing the border from Mexico to San Diego, she said. Gloria did not want to her full name used, saying her family has been targeted by gang violence back home and she fears that speaking publicly about their plight could hurt her asylum claim.

Security guards outside the USCIS district office turned away people showing up for appointments. Among them was an 8-year-old girl from China who was present with her immigration attorney Adam Kopchian.

He implored the security guards to let him in with his client so they can show they appeared. “This interview is very important to her,” Kopchian said.

But they were turned away by one security guard, who said, “there is no one in the building,” and cited security threats. Frustrated, Kopchian walked back to his office with the girl and her mother.

“They’re not attorneys and they don’t represent USCIS,” Kopchian said of the security guards.

The immigrants outside the district office were handed sheets of paper instructing them to reschedule their interviews online. CNN is seeking comment from USCIS.

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