Three people close to Mr. Trump said that the former president’s team had no specific knowledge about when an indictment might come or when an arrest could be anticipated. One of those people, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said that Mr. Trump’s advisers’ best guess was that it could happen around Tuesday, and that someone may have relayed that to him, but that they also had made clear to one another that they didn’t know a specific time frame.
Mr. Trump, who faced his first criminal investigation in the late 1970s, has been deeply anxious about the prospect of being arrested, which is expected to include being fingerprinted, one of the people close to him said. When the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, was arrested in 2021, Mr. Trump watched in horror as television coverage showed Mr. Weisselberg flanked by officers in the courthouse and said he couldn’t believe what was being done to him.
The call for protests echoed Mr. Trump’s call to his supporters, in the waning days of his presidency, to join him for a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, the day President Biden’s win was to be certified by a congressional approval of the electoral college votes. At that rally, at the Ellipse near the White House, Mr. Trump then told supporters to march to the Capitol, where the certification was taking place.
Mr. Trump’s post urging his supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” carried unmistakable echoes of the incendiary messages he posted online in the weeks before the attack on the Capitol. In the most notorious of those messages, he announced on Twitter that he would hold a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. “Be there,” he told his millions of followers, “will be wild.”
Investigators later determined that far-right extremist groups as well as ordinary Trump supporters read that tweet — posted on Dec. 19, 2020 — as a clear-cut invitation and almost immediately sprang into action, acquiring protective gear, setting up encrypted communications channels and, in one case, preparing heavily armed “quick reaction forces” to be staged outside of Washington for the event.