March 30, 2023 Trump indictment news

By Elise Hammond, Tori B. Powell, Amir Vera and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 8:50 a.m. ET, March 31, 2023
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6:36 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Trump likely to be arraigned early next week, defense attorney says

From CNN's Paula Reid

Defense attorney Joe Tacopina said Donald Trump will likely be arraigned early next week.

6:37 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

New York Police Department ramping up security Friday

From CNN's Brynn Gingras and Shimon Prokupecz

Officers from the New York City Police Department Canine Unit search around the District Attorney's Office in New York City on March 29.
Officers from the New York City Police Department Canine Unit search around the District Attorney's Office in New York City on March 29. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

In light of Donald Trump being indicted by a New York grand jury, US Marshals, Secret Service and New York Police Department are talking about how the former president will appear for his arraignment, according to a senior NYPD source.

Out of an abundance of caution, all personnel at NYPD headquarters and support units will be in uniform on Friday, according to an internal memo from the department.

The memo also states that all uniformed officers should be prepared for mobilization at any time during their shifts.

Posture will be revisited in the coming days based on information as it develops, the source says.

6:54 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Trump responds to indictment, calling it "political persecution"

Former President Donald Trump responded Thursday after a grand jury voted to indict him with a statement, calling it "Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history."

"This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats — the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country — have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement. You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this.

"The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable — indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference. 

"Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever.

"Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace. Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!

"I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our Movement, and our Party — united and strong — will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump also posted on Truth Social saying in all caps that the indictment "is an attack on our country the likes of which has never been seen before. It is likewise a continuing attack on our once free and fair elections."

6:32 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Congressional Trump loyalists rally behind the former president

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

GOP lawmakers who have been loyal defenders of Donald Trump are rallying behind the former president after his indictment Thursday by a Manhattan grand jury. 

The charges have not been made public, yet many immediately came to his defense, alleging Trump’s innocence.  

Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary chairman, tweeted one word: "Outrageous."

Sen. Ted Cruz said in a tweet, “The Democrat Party’s hatred for Donald Trump knows no bounds. The ‘substance’ of this political persecution is utter garbage. This is completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.”

Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, called the indictment "outrageous."

“The sham New York indictment of President Donald Trump is one of the clearest examples of extremist Democrats weaponizing government to attack their political opponents,” Scalise tweeted Thursday. 

Even before an indictment was announced, Republicans attacked the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and accused him of being politically motivated to go after Trump.  

While a number of Trump’s Capitol Hill allies have been quick to defend the former president, one moderate Republican told CNN he trusted the legal system.

“I believe in the rule of law," US Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska told CNN. "I think we have checks and balances and I trust the system.”

Bacon said it was important to let the process play out. Bacon stressed that his statements were not about whether he supported a Trump indictment or not, but about protecting the legal system.

Some Democrats praised the justice system, saying that the Trump indictment shows “no one is above the law” and others are calling it a “sad day” for the country.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California called the moment “unique throughout all of American history.”

“If we are to be a nation of laws, then we must apply the law equally and to everyone, regardless of their station. Few nations have lived up to this ideal, and our own country has often fallen far too short. But if we are to have justice, if we are to have a rule of law that is meaningful and protective of our democracy, we must hold the rich and powerful to account, even when those persons hold high office — perhaps most importantly, when they hold high office,” he said in a statement. “To do otherwise, because holding a president accountable is controversial or provocative, will not bring order, but breed disorder, and disrespect of the law.”
6:31 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Trump attorney says he is a "victim of a corrupt and distorted version of the American justice system"

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz and Paula Reid

Alina Habba, an attorney for Donald Trump, released a statement Thursday after a grand jury voted to indict Donald Trump.

"A former president, a current candidate and my friend President Donald J. Trump is a victim of a corrupt and distorted version of the American justice system and history. He will be vindicated," Habba's statement read.

Attorneys Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina – who are representing him in the Manhattan grand jury probe – also released a joint statement:

“President Trump has been indicted. He did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this this political prosecution in Court," the statement read.
6:13 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

MAGA CEO on Trump indictment: "There was no crime"

From CNN's Kristen Holmes

Taylor Budowich, the CEO of Make America Great Again Inc., tweeted a statement Thursday after a grand jury voted to indict Donald Trump saying "this is not an indictment of a crime — there was no crime — instead, this news is the indictment of a failed nation."

6:10 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Trump was caught off guard by the indictment, source says

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

Former President Donald Trump was caught off guard by the grand jury’s decision to indict him, according to a person who spoke directly with him. He is preparing a response tonight and is poised to react with either a video message or a statement.

While the former president was bracing for an indictment last week, he began to believe news reports that a potential indictment was weeks or more away. 

"Is this a shock today? Hell yes,” the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity as Trump’s team calculated its response.

6:34 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Michael Cohen on indictment: "No one is above the law; not even a former president"

From CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

Michael Cohen, center speaks to reporters on March 15, in New York.
Michael Cohen, center speaks to reporters on March 15, in New York. (Mary Altaffer/AP/FILE)

Michael Cohen, a former attorney for Donald Trump, released a statement after a grand jury voted to indict the former president Thursday:

“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. However, I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former President. Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning. Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself. The two things I wish to say at this time is that accountability matters and I stand by my testimony and the evidence I have provided to DANY (District Attorney of New York).”

His attorney Lanny Davis said in a statement: "On July 2, 2018, Michael Cohen made the brave decision to speak truth to power and accept the consequences. And he has done so ever since. I am proud to have been his lawyer and his friend through this long journey on the path to justice and accountability.”

Some context: As CNN has reported, Cohen was a key player in the hush money scheme involving Stormy Daniels. He facilitated the payments, made days before the 2016 presidential election, and was reimbursed by the Trump Organization for advancing the money to Daniels.

Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal charges, including campaign finance violations, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

6:00 p.m. ET, March 30, 2023

Trump’s attorneys have been informed of the indictment, sources say

From CNN's Kara Scannell, Evan Perez and Lauren del Valle

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys have been informed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that the grand jury voted to indict him, sources tell CNN.

CNN observed prosecutors heading to the grand jury room late Thursday, and sources say the vote happened at the end of the day.