Trump veers between ‘golden handcuff’ jokes to anger as insiders reveal ‘deflated’ Mar-a-Lago mindset

A few dozen people arrived outside Mar-a-Lago on Thursday to show support and wave Trump and MAGA flags

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 31 March 2023 16:21 BST
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Trump indicted in Stormy Daniels probe as first ex-US president to face criminal charges

Donald Trump has veered from making “golden handcuff” jokes to anger after being indicted on criminal charges over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.

Insiders at Mar-a-Lago revealed that – in the days before the indictment was handed down – Mr Trump had been in high spirits and was joking with aides about the looming charges.

But, the insiders told The Washington Post that the atmosphere soon changed on Thursday when he learned the Manhattan grand jury had voted to indict him.

Instead, Mr Trump’s mood quickly became “deflated” and “irritated”.

Mr Trump and Melania Trump were seen stepping out of their Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida not long after the news broke – as a small group of MAGA supporters gathered outside the former president’s home.

Local media reported that police were stationed outside the front gate of Mar-a-Lago a few hours before the former president was indicted by a New York grand jury.

A few dozen people also reportedly showed up to offer support to Mr Trump, waving Trump and MAGA flags.

The crowd played the song “God Bless the USA”, CNN reported.

Mr Trump is the first former president in US history to face criminal charges after the Manhattan grand jury investigating his role in a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels voted to indict him.

It is not clear what the charges are but he was under investigation for falsifying business records stemming from the payments which were allegedly to prevent her from revealing an affair he had with her before the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the former president called key allies on Capitol Hill to shore up support before his indictment – including members of House GOP leadership and lawmakers.

It was reported that Mr Trump told his allies that he plans to fight the charges.

“This is literally legal voodoo, this is political persecution, this is a combination of political hatred and selective prosecution on steroids,” Republican senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox News.

He added: “Give the president some money to fight this bulls**t.”

Meanwhile, Alvin Bragg said in a statement on Thursday that his office has been in touch with Mr Trump’s attorneys over the former president’s surrender.

“This evening we contacted Mr Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” Mr Bragg said.

“For the first time in our country’s history, a president (current or former) of the United States has been indicted. I take no pride in issuing this statement and wish to also remind everyone of the presumption of innocence; as provided by the due process clause,” Michael Cohen said in a statement reported by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.

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