“Violence will not be tolerated”
Former Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he found the Manhattan District Attorney’s possible indictment of former President Trump “deeply disturbing,” but stressed that “violence will not be tolerated” as the former president calls for protests.
Trump said in a post on Truth Social that he expects to be arrested Tuesday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in connection with an investigation into a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.
“The prospect of impeaching a former President of the United States deeply troubles me, as do tens of millions of Americans,” Pence told reporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. “And that happened especially in a seemingly politically charged environment in New York, where the attorney general and other elected officials literally fought over promises to prosecute the former president.”
“No one is above the law,” he added. “I am confident that President Trump can take care of himself.”
He joined a number of other Republicans in criticizing the possible indictment as “politically motivated” and an “abuse of power.”
“Here we are again – an outrageous abuse of power by a radical prosecutor who is letting violent criminals free while pursuing political vengeance on President Trump,” spokesman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted Saturday.
However, amid Trump’s call for his supporters to protest and “take back our nation” in response to the possible indictment, Pence noted that “violence will not be tolerated.”
“We respect the right of Americans to speak out and express their frustration at what appears to be a politically motivated persecution of the former president,” he said. “But we want to send a very clear message that violence will not be tolerated and anyone who engages in violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and longtime fixer, likened the former president’s protest call on Saturday to the “war cry” he uttered before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“It would have been wise of Donald to write ‘peaceful protest,’ but he doesn’t want a peaceful protest,” Cohen told MSNBC. “He wants him to want another violent clash on his behalf.”
Cohen, who testified before the New York grand jury earlier this week, paid Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election to quash her story of an alleged affair with Trump. He pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations related to the payment.
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