Donald Trump has claimed the Manhattan prosecutor dropped a criminal investigation into a silent payment to a porn star, a week after claiming he would be arrested within days.
The former president told a small group of reporters aboard his private jet Saturday night that prosecutors would have had no choice but to give up in the face of recent evidence.
With an open-necked shirt and a bottle of Diet Coke by his side, Trump cut a relaxed figure as he returned from his campaign’s first rally in Waco, Texas – and got angry at any suggestion that he has found the last few days “frustrating”.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen…” he said. I think they’ve already dropped the case. From what I understand… I think he was abandoned.
“But I believe that if anything ever happened with the case, it’s a bogus case.”
Earlier Saturday, Trump told Waco fans that Bragg had “nothing” on him. He insists a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels weeks before the October 2016 election was not a campaign finance breach. Trump also denies a one-night stand with the entertainer in 2006.
Donald Trump speaks to reporters, including DailyMail.com, on his plane as he returned from Waco, Texas on Saturday. He said he believed the Manhattan DA was dropping the case
Trump shared his claim Alvin Bragg gave him the case just a week after he wrote he expected to be arrested within days
It’s a remarkable turnaround. Last Saturday, he posted a message saying he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and calling on his supporters to protest.
But the day has come and gone. And a grand jury hearing evidence in New York did not meet on Wednesday or Thursday, sparking speculation in the Trump world that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s case was sinking.
Trump spent the days following his usual routine of hitting up his West Palm Beach golf course, maintaining a business as usual image.
On Saturday evening, as he returned home after addressing what aides said was a crowd of 25,000 supporters in Waco, Texas, he scoffed at any idea that the investigation had been a distraction .
“I’m not frustrated with anything,” he said in response to a question. “I just gave a two-hour speech. I’m not initially frustrated doing this.
“I just had polls that came out where I’m 40 points ahead. See, that’s what I hate about fake news.
But he faces growing legal peril from a series of criminal investigations. The most immediate relates to an alleged silent payment to Daniels during his 2016 White House campaign.
He was recently asked to testify before a Manhattan grand jury, a sure sign that he is finishing his job and may be on the verge of an indictment.
“The Biden regime’s weaponization of law enforcement against their political opponents is straight out of the horror show of Stalinist Russia,” he said at the Waco rally on Saturday.
Trump has always denied any relationship with adult film star Stormy Daniels
A silent payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is at the center of an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump called the case politically motivated and used it to raise money. Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – an avowed Democrat – said on Saturday he believed the case against Trump was political.
On Saturday, Trump said he believed the testimony of attorney Robert Costello cast doubt on the evidence given by his former fixer Michael Cohen, who said he made the payment and was later reimbursed by Trump.
And he said the appearance of a letter from Cohen’s lawyer, saying in 2018 that Cohen had not been reimbursed, destroyed the case against him.
“Two of the most respected lawyers in the country, one wrote a letter about Cohen that made him want to be a liar,” Trump said.
“The other one did even more so he went to the grand jury and he said this guy was a liar.”
Trump maintained a steady stream of attacks on Bragg. On Friday, he was accused of going too far when she shared a photo of him wielding a baseball bat alongside an image of the Manhattan district attorney.
He also warned of “death” and “destruction”.
But he told reporters traveling with him that violence was not the solution.
“I don’t like violence and I’m not for violence,” he said. “But a lot of people are upset and you know, they rigged an election, they stole an election, they spied on my campaign. They did a lot of bad things. They made a false record.
He referenced the case during his 90 Minutes speech in Waco, as well as other inquiries and inquiries he has faced since winning the 2016 election.
Organizers said some 25,000 people came to see Donald Trump in Waco, Texas
Trump gives half way to five traveling press members as he boards his private jet at West Palm Beach International Airport for the flight to Waco, Texas
“The Biden regime’s weaponization of law enforcement against their political opponents is straight out of the horror show of Stalinist Russia,” he said.
“From the start, it’s been one witch hunt and one bogus investigation after another.”
His choice of place and time sparked controversy even before his plane landed in Texas.
The rally comes amid the 30th anniversary of the Siege of Waco, a 51-day stalemate that ended with a raid by federal agents on the religious sect Branch Davidians that left 86 people dead.
Since then, the region has become a magnet for far-right groups.
The left-leaning Houston Chronicle said the decision to hold the event in Waco during the anniversary was more than a whistleblower message to far-right, conspiratorial Trump supporters.
“The most apt metaphor is the blaring air horn of an 18-wheeler Mack hurtling down I-10,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
The former president took ‘Trump Force One’ from Palm Beach to Waco, Texas on Saturday
Trump shared this article which shows these images side by side: one of the ex-president with a baseball bat and another with the Manhattan District Attorney, looking scared
Supporters gathered for a Friday tailgate party in Waco ahead of Trump’s arrival
Photographers staked out Trump’s 757 private jet at West Palm Beach International Airport for any signs that the former president is about to board the flight to New York. Instead, he was prepared for the trip to Waco, Texas on Saturday.
Trump supporters have been out in force this week along the road leading from West Palm Beach to Palm Beach and the former president’s Florida home
The newspaper added that Waco had become “a sanctuary for the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and other anti-government extremists and conspirators.”
The Trump campaign said the location was chosen because of its position between the major population centers of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, and the site’s infrastructure.
But the siege metaphor is unlikely to be lost on supporters of Trump, who expects to be indicted by a grand jury in New York and faces three other major investigations.
Trump stoked excitement last weekend by posting a message saying he expected to be arrested on Tuesday.
But the week has come and gone with the former president sticking to his usual routine of playing golf on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.