Former US president Donald Trump has returned to New York amid tight security as he prepares to surrender to authorities. Trump faces criminal charges related to hush money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign. The payments were reportedly made to two women who claimed they had had sexual encounters with Trump. Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, is the first former president in US history to face criminal charges.
Trump arrived in New York on Monday from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He was met with a heavy police escort as he made his way into Manhattan, where he will be arraigned on Tuesday. City officials have warned potential protesters that New York is “not a playground for your misplaced anger” and have urged calm. Trump’s supporters have also urged calm and have dismissed the charges against the former president as politically motivated.
However, there were some small groups of supporters lining the streets as Trump’s motorcade made its way through the city. Trump also spent some time on board his plane en route to New York, meeting with his legal advisers and working.
After his arraignment, Trump plans to return to his Mar-a-Lago resort and hold a press conference on Tuesday evening. At least 500 people have been invited to the event, including members of Congress who have endorsed Trump’s presidential campaign, donors, and other supporters.
In a Monday filing, Trump’s lawyers asked the judge overseeing the case to ban photo and video coverage of his arraignment. However, it is unclear whether the judge will grant the request.
Trump has also bolstered his legal team, hiring a third high-profile attorney, Todd Blanche. Blanche, a former federal prosecutor, has previously represented Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Security in and around Trump Tower has been increased in anticipation of the former president’s arrival. However, there have been few supporters or protesters in the area. Officials have warned that possessing a weapon in certain areas of the city, including near courthouses, is a crime.
One of Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, is helping to organize a rally at a park across from the courthouse where Trump will appear. However, city officials have called her out for spreading misinformation and hate speech, and have urged her and her supporters to behave themselves while in New York.
The charges against Trump stem from payments made to porn actor Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both women claim to have had sexual encounters with Trump before he became president. Trump has denied having sexual liaisons with either woman and has denied any wrongdoing involving payments.
As Trump heads to court, President Joe Biden has expressed his faith in the New York Police Department and the US legal system. Biden, who is expected to formally announce his reelection campaign in the coming weeks, has used the opportunity to contrast his economic agenda with “the last guy who had this job”.
Trump’s arraignment marks a historic moment in US political history, and it remains to be seen how it will affect his political future. Despite the charges against him, Trump is believed to be planning another run for president in 2024. His supporters remain loyal, and many believe that the charges against him are politically motivated. However, the outcome of his trial could have far-reaching consequences for the US political landscape.
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