Updated 08/02/2023 at 10:44 a.m. ET:
Former President Donald Trump was indicted on federal charges alleging that he attempted to derail the 2020 election results. The indictment sheds new light on the events surrounding the the violent insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021. The case is being overseen by Jamaican American District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has ruled on previous January 6th cases.
Despite the severity of the charges, Trump still has some loyal allies, including his primary opponent, Senator Tim Scott.
“I remain concerned about the weaponization of Biden’s DOJ and its immense power used against political opponents,” Scott wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night, “What we see today are two different tracks of justice. One for political opponents and another for the son of the current president.”
One could argue that the fact that Trump is walking around giving campaign speeches, while facing three felony indictments, is indicative of a different kind of bias in the system. But that’s clearly not the kind of bias someone like Scott cares about discussing.
On Tuesday, Special Counsel Jack Smith didn’t mince words when announcing the charges. “The attack on our nation’s capitol on January 6th, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American Democracy,” he said. “It was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government.”
Trump is facing four felony counts: 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 indictment states that “despite having lost,” Trump “was determined to remain in power,” adding that “for more than two months following election day on November 3rd, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won.” According to the indictment, “these claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false.”
The indictment also lists six un-named co-conspirators, including a Justice Department office alleged to have “attempted to use use the Justice Department to open sham election crime investigations and influence state legislatures with knowingly false claims of election fraud.”
The sham Justice Department investigation is far from the only conspiracy the former President is being accused of in the indictment. Trump and his co-conspirators allegedly “organized fraudulent slates of electors” in major swing states, including Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
However, the thing everyone really wants is an explanation of what went down on January 6th, which the indictment certainly provides. The indictment accuses Trump of pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to alter the election results. When that failed, “the Defendant and co-conspirators repeated knowingly false claims of election fraud to gathered supporters, falsely told them that the Vice President had the authority to and might alter the election results, and directed them to the Capitol to obstruct the certification proceeding and exert pressure on the Vice President to take the fraudulent actions he had previously refused.”
The allegations surrounding January 6th don’t stop there. According to the indictment, “After it became public on the afternoon of January 6th that the Vice President would not fraudulently alter the election results, a large and angry crowd— including many individuals whom the Defendant had deceived into believing the Vice President could and might change the election results— violently attacked the Capitol and halted the proceeding.”
The indictment accuses Trump and his alleged co-conspirators of exploiting the riot “by redoubling efforts to levy false claims of election fraud and convince Members of Congress to further delay the certification based on those claims.”
The Root will continue to cover the fall-out from Trump’s latest indictment, as there is undoubtedly more news to follow.