Even Chris Sununu, governor of New Hampshire, an outspoken Trump critic and a potential rival for the 2024 nomination, suggested an indictment could generate a powerful backlash.

“I think it’s building a lot of sympathy for the former president,” he told State of the Union, a CNN Sunday talk-show.

“It does drastically change the paradigm, as we go into the ’24 election,” he said, adding, in relation to a possible indictment: “It’s going to be a circus.”

Mike Pence, former vice-president, described the potential indictment of Mr Trump as “deeply troubling” but nevertheless distanced himself from the call for protests saying violence would not be tolerated.

And one-time Trump ally turned critic, Chris Christie, described the whole affair as a “circus”.

He told ABC: “I mean, look, he only profits and does well in chaos and turmoil. And so he wants to create chaos and turmoil on his terms. He doesn’t want anybody else’s terms.”

Mr Cohen, the ex-president’s one-time fixer, was jailed for campaign finance violations involving hush-money payments to pornographic film star Stormy Daniels, as well as former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Having once said he would “take a bullet” for Mr Trump, Mr Cohen has since turned against his former boss.

The former president, who has denied having sex with either woman, upped the ante with an inflammatory post on his Truth Social platform.

“The far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week. Protest. Take our nation back.

“We just can’t allow this any more they’re killing our nation as we sit back & watch. We must save America! Protest, protest, protest!!!”

‘Cynical’ part of election campaign

Mr Cohen said that the call for protests was a cynical part of Mr Trump’s 2024 presidential election campaign.

“These fools that are representing him, this clown show of lawyers, what they believe is that this will propel him into the White House by having another violent insurrection.”

Mr Trump’s remarks have fueled fears of a re-run of the Jan 6 protests in which a mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election.

Five people died during the violence or in its immediate aftermath.

The Bragg investigation is not the only legal threat faced by Mr Trump.

A grand jury is investigating a call to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, in which he was urged to “find” the 11,779 votes that would overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

It is expected to recommend a raft of indictments – possibly including Mr Trump himself.

By zonxe