Indictment: Trump Knew Election Claims Were Lies

'Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2023 7:01 PM CDT
'The Defendant Was Determined to Remain in Power'
Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power," a federal indictment filed against former President Trump Tuesday states. Trump was charged on four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the US, over his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The 45-page indictment filed by special counsel Jack Smith states that for more than two months after the election, Trump "spread lies" that there had been widespread fraud and he was the real winner, the Hill reports. "These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false," it states. "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." More:

  • Co-conspirators. The indictment, which can be seen in full here, refers to six co-conspirators, including four attorneys, but they have not been named or charged. "Observers will try to match their descriptions against prominent allies of Trump in his attempt to subvert the election, like Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, Kenneth Chesebro and others," the New York Times reports.

  • Smith wants a speedy trial. The special counsel made a brief statement after the indictment was released, the AP reports. "The attack on our nation's capital on January 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy," Smith said. He described the law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol as heroes and said he would seek a speedy trial for Trump. He added that the indictment "is only an allegation and that the defendant must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a court of law."
  • Court appearance. The former president is due to appear before US District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Thursday. Politico notes that Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Obama, "has been among the harshest critics of Jan. 6 defendants and their conduct." More on her here.
  • The charges in full. Trump has been charged with conspiring to defraud the United States government, conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiring against rights, and obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, per the Guardian. The indictment describes how Trump convened slates of fake electors, attempted to use the Justice Department to conduct "sham election crime investigations," and attempted to block certification of the election on Jan. 6.

  • New details on Jan. 6. Politico reports that the indictment "tracks closely" with evidence gathered by the House select committee, but it includes some new details about Jan. 6, stating that Trump called two Republican senators at 6pm that day, while the riot was ongoing, still trying to block the certification of Biden's victory.
  • Trump's GOP rivals speak out. Trump's vice president Mike Pence, now a rival for the GOP nomination, said the indictment "serves as an important reminder: Anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States," the Times reports. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is in second place behind Trump in most polls, slammed the "weaponization of the federal government" and said it was "unfair to have to stand trial before a jury that is reflective of the swamp mentality" in Washington, DC.
  • Trump team responds. Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said the former president "has always followed the law and the Constitution, with advice from many highly accomplished attorneys," and will not be "deterred by disgraceful and unprecedented political targeting," the Washington Post reports. A campaign statement Trump posted on his Truth Social network said the "persecutions" of Trump and his supporters were reminiscent of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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