(CNN) Donald Trump He faces more than 30 counts of business fraud indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, according to two sources familiar with the case — the first time in U.S. history that a current or former president has faced criminal charges.
Trump is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
A charge sheet will be filed with seal and will be announced in the coming days. The allegations are not currently public.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’The office of Questioning the former president He was allegedly involved in an undercover payment scheme involving adult film star Stormy Daniels leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Grand jury proceedings are confidential, but a source familiar with the case told CNN that one witness testified for about 30 minutes before voting to indict Trump.
The decision is sure to send shock waves across the country, plunging the US political establishment — which has never seen one of its former leaders face criminal charges, let alone run for president again — into uncharted waters.
Trump issued a statement in response to the indictment, calling it “the highest level of political harassment and election interference in history.”
“I’m sure this witch hunt will cause a huge backlash for Joe Biden,” the former president said. “The American people realize exactly what the far-left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see that. So our movement and our party — united and strong — first we’re going to defeat Alvin Bragg, then we’re going to defeat Joe Biden, and so will we. These crooked Democrats. We’re going to throw everyone out of office so we can make America great again!”
According to one person who spoke directly to Trump, he was caught off guard by the grand jury’s decision to indict him. As the former president prepared for impeachment last week, he began to believe news reports that a possible impeachment was weeks — or more — away.
“Is it a shock today? Hell yes,” said the person, speaking on condition of anonymity as Trump’s team gauged its response.
Prague’s office said it was in touch with Trump’s lawyers.
“This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney and coordinated his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s office on the Supreme Court indictment, which remains sealed,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday. “Guidance will be issued when the date for the examination is selected.”
The legal action against Trump pushes the 2024 presidential campaign into a new phase as the former president vows to continue running despite criminal charges.
Trump has often called the various investigations surrounding him a “witch hunt,” trying to sway public opinion by casting himself as a victim of what he says are political investigations led by Democratic prosecutors. As indictments are said to be imminent, Trump has urged his supporters to protest the arrests, a move he has called for as he seeks to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden following the 2020 election.
Trump has long avoided legal consequences in his personal, professional and political career. He has settled several private civil lawsuits over the years and is out of controversies related to his eponymous company, the Trump Organization. As president, he was twice impeached by the Democratic-led House but avoided conviction by the Senate.
In December, the Trump Organization was found guilty of multiple tax fraud charges, although Trump was not charged in that case.
Trump’s Republican allies — as well His 2024 GOP rivals — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has condemned the looming charge.
Former Vice President Mike Pence told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Thursday night, “I think it’s an outrage that a former president of the United States has been indicted in an unprecedented campaign finance matter.” He ran for office on a promise to impeach the former president.”
GOP Rallying to Trump’s Defense
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has promised to open an investigation into the matter, and congressional Republicans quickly rallied to Trump’s defenseAttacked Bragg on Twitter, accusing the District Collector of a political witch hunt.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of the Republican caucus leaders who has called on Bragg to testify before Congress about the Trump investigation, tweeted.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called the indictment “absolutely unprecedented” and “a devastating expansion in the weaponization of the judiciary.”
But at least one moderate Republican told CNN he trusts the legal system.
“I believe in the rule of law. I think we have checks and balances, I believe in the system,” said Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska.
“We have a judge. We have juries. We have appeals. So I think eventually justice will be served. If he’s guilty it will show. But if not I think it will also show,” Bacon told CNN. .
The trial began under Saivans
Bragg’s office signaled in early March that it was close to indicting Trump after they subpoenaed the former president to testify before a grand jury investigating the hush money scheme. Potential defendants in New York must be notified by law and summoned to appear before a grand jury weighs charges. But Trump ultimately declined to appear before the panel.
A long-term investigation first Started under Bragg’s predecessor, Cy Vance. When Trump was in office. It relates to a $130,000 payment to Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen Daniels in late October 2016, days before the 2016 presidential election, to prevent him from going public about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the matter.
At issue in the investigation are the payments to Daniels and the Trump Organization’s reimbursement to Cohen.
According to court filings in Cohen’s own federal case, Trump Organization executives authorized him to pay a total of $420,000 to cover his original $130,000 payment and tax liability and rewarded him with a bonus. The Trump Organization listed the reimbursements as legal expenses on its internal books. Trump has denied any knowledge of the payments.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Paula Reid, Kristen Holmes, Brynn Gingras, Lauren del Valle, Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz, Alayna Treene and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.