Trump Indicted By Department Of Justice Over Jan. 6 Coup Attempt

Trump was already impeached for his incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol designed to keep him in power despite losing the 2020 election.
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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges based on his attempted coup to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election.

The former president was indicted Tuesday on four federal 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 charges reflect what the indictment describes as three overarching criminal conspiracies related to the attempt to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump is accused of conspiracy in using “dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat” the efforts to count and certify the results of the election, as well as conspiracy to disrupt and impede the certification proceeding itself. It also alleges that Trump’s efforts to overturn the election amount to a conspiracy against the right to vote and have it counted.

“Each of these conspiracies — which build on the widespread mistrust the Defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud — targeted a bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election,” the indictment reads.

In a statement posted to his Truth Social site, Trump called the charges “fake” and suggested they were an attempt to interfere with the 2024 presidential election, in which he is running for reelection.

Though Trump is the only named defendant in Tuesday’s charges, the indictment also lists six alleged co-conspirators, who are accused of helping his “criminal efforts to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and retain power.” While the alleged co-conspirators are unnamed in the indictment, they appear to line up with several notable Trump associates and advisers who disputed the results of the 2020 election.

In a brief statement to the press after the indictment was unsealed, special counsel Jack Smith, who has been overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation, indicated there could be more to come.

“Since the attack on our Capitol, the Department of Justice has remained committed to ensuring accountability for those criminally responsible for what happened that day,” Smith said. “This case is brought consistent with that commitment and our investigation of other individuals continues.”

The Department of Justice has been prosecuting people in Trump’s mob who assaulted the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, for more than two years. In the past year, federal prosecutors started going more aggressively after those who took part in laying the groundwork for that day, including the fraudulent Trump electors from states that Democrat Joe Biden had won.

At the head of that scheme was Trump himself, whose White House and campaign directed the effort as part of a plan to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence into accepting those fake Electoral College votes to award Trump another term.

Top White House aide Stephen Miller, in fact, boasted of the fake elector scheme as it was playing out in real-time during a Fox News appearance on Dec. 14, 2020, the day the actual electors were officially making Biden president-elect.

And Trump recently has been sharing social posts that falsely claim that the attack on the Capitol was actually instigated by the federal government ― a government that he was still in charge of that day.

In one, he amplified to his millions of followers a message from singer Ted Nugent that “January 6th will be remembered as the day the government set up a staged riot to cover up the fact they certified a fraudulent election.”

During a CNN “town hall” appearance the network hosted for him this May, Trump defended his actions leading up to and on the day of the riot and again claimed that Pence had done “something wrong” by refusing to go along with his scheme.

“It was a beautiful day,” Trump said of his pre-insurrection rally and his followers’ subsequent march on the Capitol, which he had called for and had even wanted to personally lead.

He did try, though, to distance himself from the events of that day: “I wasn’t involved in it very much. I was asked to come in. Would I make a speech?”

That claim is a lie. Trump personally asked his followers to come to Washington, D.C., on the day of the congressional certification ceremony, starting with a tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, when he wrote: “Be there, will be wild!”

The House Jan. 6 committee, in its final report before disbanding, recommended to the Justice Department that it consider charging Trump with a number of crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors, however, had already been investigating Trump’s actions, and it is unclear what effect the criminal referrals had, if any, on the timing or substance of the indictment.

Trump has already sought to discredit the Department of Justice’s investigation into his conduct around the events of Jan. 6, 2021, attacking the special counsel. The Biden administration’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed Smith to preside over all federal probes into the former president.

In a lengthy July 18 statement posted to TruthSocial, Trump revealed that Smith had informed him in a letter that he was the target of an investigation into the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Calling Smith “deranged,” Trump depicted the investigation as a partisan maneuver by the Biden administration to knock off his chief Republican rival.

“THIS WITCH HUNT IS ALL ABOUT ELECTION INTERFERENCE AND A COMPLETE AND TOTAL POLITICAL WEAPONIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT!” Trump concluded. “It is a very sad and dark period for our Nation!”

On July 27, in a new post, Trump confirmed that his lawyers had met with Smith’s office in an attempt to talk them out of indicting him. He claimed that it was a “productive” meeting and that he had received no “notice” that an indictment was forthcoming.

In June, a separate federal grand jury indicted Trump on 37 counts for his removal of highly classified documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago social club in South Florida and his subsequent refusal to hand them over. Trump said in a public statement that he was innocent. Also on Thursday, Smith added three new charges in an updated indictment, including two that accused Trump of ordering the deletion of a computer server that contained incriminating video footage. A trial, in that case, is scheduled to begin in May.

In addition to the federal criminal investigations, a Georgia prosecutor is looking at Trump and his allies’ attempts to coerce state officials into falsely declaring him the winner in that state in 2020. Indictments are expected as early as August.

And Trump this spring was indicted by the Manhattan district attorney on felony charges of falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment he made to an adult film star just days before the 2016 election. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges, and a trial is set for March.

Daniel Marans contributed to reporting.

CORRECTION: This article previously incorrectly stated Jack Smith was appointed by the president; the special counsel was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

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