The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, has opposed Donald Trump’s call for protests against his alleged imminent arrest. Trump announced on his online platform Truth Social on Saturday, citing a “leak” at the prosecutor’s office: “The leading Republican candidate and former President of the United States of America will be arrested next Tuesday”. That’s why he called on his followers: “Protest, take back our nation!”

“I don’t think people should object to that, no. And I don’t think that if you talk to President Trump, he doesn’t believe that either,” McCarthy said Sunday at a press conference on the sidelines of a Republican Party retreat in Orlando the US broadcaster NBC News. “He doesn’t talk in a harmful way, and nobody should.” The Republican leader later declared, “Nobody should hurt each other […]. We want calm out there.”

The background to Trump’s fear of arrest are investigations by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg into alleged hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had sex with Trump in 2006. In order to prevent her from making this claim public and damaging Trump’s election campaign, his former lawyer Michael Cohen, according to his own statements, paid her 130,000 dollars (around 122,000 euros) on behalf of the then presidential candidate in 2016. Trump and his lawyers conceded payment but deny the ex-president had an affair with the actress.

The cash flow may have violated campaign finance laws. Multiple sources confirmed last week, according to NBC News, that law enforcement agencies in New York are preparing for a possible indictment against Trump later this week.

As consistently as McCarthy contradicted Trump’s protest call, he also vehemently defended the 76-year-old against the allegations: Bragg’s investigations were politically motivated, the Republican leader claimed. “Lawyer after lawyer will tell you that this is the weakest case in trying to turn a misdemeanor into a felony,” McCarthy said. “The last thing we want is for someone to put their thumb on the scales [of the judiciary] just because they disagree with someone else’s political view. That’s what’s wrong and what makes people angry. And that won’t stand up in court.”

When asked whether Trump should still run for the presidency even if he were ultimately convicted, McCarthy referred to the existing legal situation. “The constitution allows him to do that,” said the speaker of the US House of Representatives. “He has a constitutional right to run.”

Sources: NBC News, “Politico”