By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Mark Warner said on Sunday he was briefed by the FBI on Donald Trump’s rhetoric after the former president verbally lashed out at a New York prosecutor overseeing a grand jury investigation into alleged hush-money payments.
“I have been briefed by the FBI. They say they are fully prepared,” Warner, a Democrat and the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday. “They have seen no specific threats but the level of rhetoric on some of these right-wing sites has increased.”
Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential elections, has ramped up his rhetoric against New York prosecutors probing his hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Prosecutors have said they would not be intimidated.
Trump has specifically condemned Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in multiple posts on his Truth Social media site since March 18 when the former president wrongly predicted he would be arrested three days later. Trump has warned of potential “death & destruction” if he faced criminal charges.
Trump falsely claims his defeat in 2020 was the result of fraud – a claim that inspired his followers to launch a deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to stop Congress from certifying the election of Democratic President Joe Biden, who bested the Republican Trump by more than seven million votes.
Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said on Sunday that some of Trump’s online attacks against Bragg were ill-advised.
“I’m not his social media consultant. I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up & he quickly took down,” Tacopina told NBC News in reference to a post by Trump of his image holding a baseball bat next to Bragg.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams also said on Sunday the city was prepared for any fallout from a potential Trump indictment.
“We are just going to be ready no matter what happens,” Adams told PIX11 on Sunday.
Daniels, an adult film actress and director whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she received money in exchange for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006.
Trump has denied ever having an affair with Daniels, and has called the payment a “simple private transaction.” He has said he did not commit a crime and has called the investigation, one of many legal hurdles that he faces, politically motivated.
The Manhattan grand jury probing Trump is expected to reconvene in the coming week.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrea Ricci)
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