With former President Donald Trump insisting he’s going to be arrested as early as Tuesday, meetings have reportedly been held between city, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to prepare for mass protests or riots.
The talks come as far-right forums have become flooded with ideas on how to keep Trump out of the clink—with one person suggesting Trump supporters should create a “Patriot moat” around the former president’s estate at Mar-a-lago in South Florida so law enforcement can’t enter.
Police in Palm Beach, Florida, did not respond to questions from The Daily Beast about the threats. But New York City Police Department sources told The Daily Beast that their officers will be closely monitoring social media as well as intelligence from federal authorities and other police departments to assess the size of any protests.
If a significant demonstration materializes in the next week, NYPD sources said the force may deploy the Strategic Response Group, a roughly 700-hundred-member unit trained in “disorder control.” The department, if necessary, could escalate that response by deploying a Level 4 alert—which would put eight cops and one sergeant on alert in every precinct.
While the online threats remained just that as of Saturday evening, law enforcement at all levels appear to be preparing to prevent mass violence from breaking out like it did at the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, CNN reported.
This prep has reportedly led to meetings between senior staff members from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office—which could potentially indict Trump as early as next week for alleged hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels—officers who provide security at the state Supreme Court building in lower Manhattan, and the New York City Police Department.
Following Trump’s Saturday barrage of messages on Truth Social—including calling for nationwide protests—some of his most hardcore supporters online began tossing around ideas. On the pro-Trump and far-right internet forum “The Donald,” violent protest ideas began to gain widespread support.
“Surround Mar-A-Lago or wherever he currently is and prevent ‘law enforcement’ from entering,” one commenter wrote, receiving hundreds of positive votes.
Another user responded, “What if they use choppers to circumvent the Patriot moat?”
The idea of creating a protective barrier around Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate led to chatter about what type of rifle ammunition could take down low-flying aircraft sent to take the former president into custody.
Earlier on Saturday morning, “Stop the Steal” leader Ali Alexander suggested “100,000 patriots” should “shut down all routes to Mar-a-Lago.”
Despite publicly calling for action to take place, Alexander said he wouldn’t be participating in such an event.
Likewise, Alexander claimed on Telegram to have spoken to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones—who also expressed zero interest in organizing another protest in the name of Trump.
“He’s not protesting either,” he added of Jones. “We’ve both got enough going on fighting the government. No billionaire is covering our bills.”
During an “emergency” Saturday broadcast, Jones carefully attempted to thread the needle between supporting Trump’s calls for protests over a possible indictment—and warning his own followers of potential fallout from such events turning violent.
“Do not be provocateured into violence,” Jones said, while warning his followers of dubious agents attempting to hijack pro-Trump rallies.
Neither Alexander nor Jones immediately returned The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.
But it isn’t just Jones and Alexander, many in Trumpworld haven’t heard of concrete plans for protests.
“Negative,” Jan. 6 lawyer and pro-Trump pundit Joseph McBride told The Daily Beast. “Only a bunch of prayer vigils,” he added.
Other ultra-MAGA personalities took swings at Trump for even suggesting protests after the events of Jan 6.
“The last time Trump’s biggest fans protested on his behalf, he left them all to rot in jail without so much as a penny from him in legal fees,” right-wing pundit Jesse Kelly wrote. “Not a penny. Shame on him for this. Do NOT go to a blue area and protest for this man. Ignore this.”
Similarly, Steve Bannon ally Grace Chong discouraged Trump supporters from attending protests while declaring: “Don’t be stupid.”
If Trump were to be indicted, authorities would set a date and time for his surrender, at which point he’d be formally arraigned and taken in for fingerprinting and a mugshot. That might cause both pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters to convene at Manhattan Criminal Court—a coming together that officials fear could cause a violent clash, CNN reported.
New York City police and the FBI have also coordinated a contingency plan to deal with an increase in threats to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his staff if Trump’s extremist supporters—like the Proud Boys—were to target them, CNN reported, citing a source.
Also part of those discussions is how to physically transport Trump. Secret Service agents in charge of Trump’s detail in South Florida and those in New York are reportedly coordinating how they’ll get Trump into the district attorney’s office through crowds of protesters and media. Part of that discussion has also included the need to secure an area for a possible press conference outside the courthouse or at Trump Tower.