What started off as an unprecedented moment in America’s history at the beginning of the year has now become routine.For the third time during the 2024 presidential campaign, former President Donald Trump has been formally accused of a crime. And in each case, the latest indictment has been more troubling than the last.
In the latest case, federal prosecutors are accusing the Republican front-runner of undermining American democracy by organizing a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal the 2020 election that prosecutors say fueled a brazen and historic insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.”The attack on our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who led the investigation, said at news conference late Tuesday.
“As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies − lies by the defendant targeting and obstructing a bedrock function of the US government.”Trump has repeatedly made false statements about the last presidential contest, which he lost to President Joe Biden. But the consequences thus far have been political losses. What’s different now is he faces the harshest accusation yet from the federal government: namely, that his motivation was a criminal effort to cling to power.
Trump, indicted on four felony counts, has denied wrongdoing and denounced the indictment as an attempt to derail his 2024 presidential candidacy. Here are six key takeaways in the wake of the third indictment.
Trump knowingly spread lies about 2020 election, prosecutor says
Central to the Justice Department’s case against Trump, according to Smith, is the former president knew that he lost the 2020 election, yet he still spread knowingly false claims of election fraud. The indictment singles out Trump’s claims of large numbers of dead or other ineligible citizens who voted, “suspicious vote dumps” that hurt Trump’s chances, and rigged election machines.
“These claims were false, and the defendant knew there were false,” the 45-page indictment reads. “In fact, the defendant was notified repeatedly that his claims were untrue – often by people on whom he relied on for candid advice on important matters, and who were in best position to know the facts.”
The indictment alleges that almost everyone in Trump’s orbit repeatedly told him that his fraud claims were wrong. Among them were former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s senior Justice Department officials, his director of national intelligence, senior White House attorneys, senior campaign staffers and state election officials.But he didn’t listen, according to the indictment, which calls Trump’s false statements “integral to his criminal plans” to stop the certification of the election.
Trump directed Jan. 6 rioters, created fake electors scheme
The indictment also says Trump, along with six unnamed co-conspirators, did more than just lie about the 2020 election outcome.Smith’s case lays the violent insurrection at the former president’s feet, saying he “attempted to exploit the violence and chaos” by directing supporters to the Capitol in an attempt to bully lawmakers to delay the certification of the results.
Source: USA Today