Trump Indicted for Trying to Overturn 2020 Election

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday was indicted by a federal grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump—now the leading candidate for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination—faces four charges: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.

“The defendant lost the 2020 presidential election,” the indictment states. “Despite having lost, the defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following Election Day on November 3, 2020, the defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won.”

“These claims were false, and the defendant knew that they were false. But the defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway—to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) president Noah Bookbinder said Tuesday that “the charges leveled against Donald Trump today are the most significant he has yet faced because they address the most serious offense he committed: trying to block the peaceful transfer of power and keep himself in office despite losing the 2020 election by inciting a violent insurrection.”

“Had he succeeded, it would have effectively ended our almost two-and-a-half-century experiment in democratic self-governance,” added Bookbinder, a former federal prosecutor. “Jack Smith’s indictment cuts through Trump’s propaganda to explicitly demonstrate not just the facts, but the stakes of this case. Holding Trump accountable for his crimes pulls our democracy back from the precipice and prevents his criminal attempt to overturn an election from being forgotten or normalized. Nothing could be more important for the future of America.”

Common Cause interim co-president Marilyn Carpinteyro declared that “no American is above the law—not even former presidents. The charges that a federal grand jury leveled today against former President Donald Trump are profoundly serious and must go to trial. The charges themselves are unprecedented, but so are the events that led to them.”

The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol “revealed the monthslong conspiracy to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and its culmination in the deadly insurrection,” she noted. “Anyone and everyone who broke the laws of this nation participating in that conspiracy must be held accountable.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement:

The insurrection on January 6, 2021 was one of the saddest and most infamous days in American history, personally orchestrated by Donald Trump and fueled by his insidious Big Lie in an attempt to undermine the 2020 election. In a deadly effort to overturn the will of the American people and block the peaceful transition of power, our nation’s Capitol—the very symbol and home of American patriotism and democracy—fell under attack to thousands of vicious and violent rioters.

The third indictment of Mr. Trump illustrates in shocking detail that the violence of that day was the culmination of a monthslong criminal plot led by the former president to defy democracy and overturn the will of the American people. This indictment is the most serious and most consequential thus far and will stand as a stark reminder to generations of Americans that no one, including a president of the United States, is above the law. The legal process must continue to move forward without any outside interference.

Meanwhile, Trump claimed on social media that the new “Fake Indictment” is an effort to interfere with the next presidential election—an unsubstantiated allegation repeated by his campaign, which also took aim at his likely 2024 opponent, Democratic President Joe Biden.

Trump was also indicted in June as a result of Smith’s classified documents probe and in April following Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into alleged hush money payments during the 2016 election. He could also soon face charges stemming from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ probe of attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

The election interference case has been assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. NBC News noted that she “is the only federal judge in Washington, D.C., who has sentenced January 6 defendants to sentences longer than the government had requested.”

Trump is expected to be arraigned in D.C. on Thursday before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya, according to NBC.

Some advocacy groups and constitutional experts argue that regardless of the results of his ongoing legal issues, the 14th Amendment disqualifies Trump from holding office again because he incited the 2021 insurrection.


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