Indictment: Trump charged with four felonies in 2020 election probe — 6 un-indicted co-conspirators

Trump was charged with multiple conspiracy counts in special counsel Jack Smith's investigation

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer
Published August 1, 2023 5:42PM (EDT)
Updated August 1, 2023 6:39PM (EDT)
US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Former President Donald Trump was indicted on Tuesday by the federal grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

Trump was charged with 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 — a civil rights law related to the alleged attempt to disenfranchise voters by trying to overturn the election.

The indictment listed six un-indicted co-conspirators. 

He was summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, on Thursday.

In a statement Tuesday evening, special counsel Jack Smith said the indictment describes the attack in the capitol on Jan. 6 as "fueled by lies," although he made no specific mention to Donald Trump. 

"The attack on our nation's capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 was an unprecedented assault on the seat of America democracy," Smith said. "Lies by the defendant," Smith said, were aimed at "obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government and the nation's process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election."

Attorney General Merrick Garland also made public comments after the indictment was handed down on Tuesday. Smith, Garland said, "followed the facts of the law." 

Prosecutors allege Trump was "determined to remain in power" and engaged in conspiracies that 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 marks the third set of criminal charges filed against the former president this year and the first charges pertaining to his conduct while in office. 

Trump teased the indictment on Truth Social minutes before it was announced.

"I hear that Deranged Jack Smith, in order to interfere with the Presidential Election of 2024, will be putting out yet another Fake Indictment of your favorite President, me, at 5:00 P.M," he wrote. "Why didn't they do this 2.5 years ago? Why did they wait so long? Because they wanted to put it right in the middle of my campaign. Prosecutorial Misconduct!"

His campaign in a statement called the indictment "nothing more than the latest corrupt chapter in the continued pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere" in the election, even likening his prosecution to "Nazi Germany in the 1930s."

The indictment follows Trump attorneys John Lauro and Todd Blanche's meeting with Smith's team seeking to avert the charges and days after the Justice Department expanded its charges against him in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, also headed by the special counsel's office. 

Several associates of Trump reportedly met with the special counsel's office or testified before the grand jury in the case in recent months after being subpoenaed in the probe, including top Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn, former Vice President Mike Pence, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Trump's son-in-law and former White House senior advisor, Jared Kushner. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the top election official in the state who received Trump's infamous January 2021 phone call, was also expected to meet with prosecutors. 

Smith first issued dozens of subpoenas to officials from multiple states who were targeted in Trump's and his allies' failed attempts to overturn the 2020 election in November of last year, signaling that his ensuing investigation would be sprawling. According to a copy of the subpoena obtained by ABC News, the Justice Department sought any and all records regarding communications from June 1, 2020 to Jan. 20, 2021 between officials from six states with Trump or his allies and advisors, including Kenneth Chesebro, Justin Clark, Joe DiGenova, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Epshteyn, Bernard Kerik, Bruce Marks, Cleta Mitchell, Matthew Morgan, Kurt Olsen, William Olsen, Stefan Passantino, Sidney Powell, Bill Stepien, Victoria Toensing, James Troupis and Lin Wood.

The subpoenas covered 18 separate categories of information, The Washington Post reported, indicating that the Justice Department was interested in three main areas related to the origins, fundraising and underpinnings of the alleged attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to President Joe Biden in early 2021: the effort to replace earned, Biden electors with false pro-Trump electors before the congressional tally of the 2020 election outcome on Jan. 6, 2021; the rally that preceded the deadly attack on the Capitol, which Trump had tweeted on Dec. 19, 2020 would "be wild"; and the fundraising and spending of the Save America political action committee, which raised more than $100 million in the aftermath of the 2020 election due, in large part, to the Trump circle's "Stop the Steal" campaign.

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Those areas of the Justice Department's interest, however, did not cover the other important aspects of its investigation into the insurrection, in which more than 870 people had been arrested for alleged violence, trespassing and — in the case of two far-right extremist groups prosecutors said played key roles in the riot — seditious conspiracy.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in May for seditious conspiracy in connection to his role in the deadly attack — a prison term that prosecutors have appealed in a signal that they were dissatisfied with the term — alongside several other members of the group who received lesser sentences for their participation in the riot. Four members of the alt-right Proud Boys, including leader Enrique Tarrio, were convicted on charges of seditious conspiracy that same month.

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This federal probe runs parallel to a similar inquiry being undertaken by Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating Trump and his associates' efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state. Willis is expected to deliver a charging decision in the coming weeks. 

The former president maintains he committed no wrongdoing in any of his cases. He pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him in June in the special counsel's other investigation into his handling of classified documents after leaving office. 

Read the full indictment below:

Trump indictment by Igor Derysh on Scribd

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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