Trump melts down on Truth Social after his tweets come back to haunt him in Fulton indictment

The indictment cited a dozen Trump tweets as “overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy”

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published August 15, 2023 10:47AM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump and a slew of alleged co-conspirators were indicted late Monday night on racketeering charges, marking a new chapter in Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis' election conspiracy investigation.

Trump, who is facing potential legal repercussions for firing off at a number of perceived political adversaries on his social media platform, took to Truth Social on Monday night and early Tuesday morning to bemoan his latest felony charges. 

The ex-president's campaign first released a lengthy statement condemning Willis by likening her to three other key legal figures who have pursued indictments against him, probes which Trump referred to as "corrupt Democrat attempts" that will "fail": Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, special counsel Jack Smith, and New York Attorney General Letitia James. The statement also accused Willis of intentionally delaying her investigation in order to "maximally interfere" with Trump's 2024 campaign efforts. 

"Like Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Deranged Jack Smith, and New York AG Letitia James, Fulton County GA's radical democrat District Attorney Fani Willis is a rabid partisan who is campaigning and fundraising on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments. Ripping a page from Crooked Joe's playbook, Willis has strategically stalled her investigation to try and maximally interfere with the 2024 presidential race and damage the dominant Trump campaign. All of these corrupt Democrat attempts will fail," the statement said.

"These activities by Democrat leaders constitute a great threat to American democracy and are direct attempts to deprive the American people of their rightful choice to cast their vote for president," the statement continued. "They are taking away President Trump's First Amendment right to free speech, and the right to challenge a rigged and stolen election that the Democrats do all the time. The ones who should be prosecuted are the ones who created the corruption."

Several hours later, after repeatedly doubling down on election falsehoods, Trump responded to the news of his latest indictment, calling it evidence of an ongoing "Witch Hunt."

"So, the Witch Hunt continues!," Trump wrote. "19 people Indicated [sic] tonight, including the former President of the United States, me, by an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, 'I will get Trump.' And what about those Indictment Documents put out today, long before the Grand Jury even voted, and then quickly withdrawn? Sounds Rigged to me! Why didn't they Indict 2.5 years ago? Because they wanted to do it right in the middle of my political campaign. Witch Hunt!"

Included in the 161 violations of Georgia's RICO Act — legislation used to target gangs, mafia, and organized groups more broadly — by Trump and his associates were 12 tweets from the former president's personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump. Though Trump may have not composed each post himself, Willis's indictment observes that all of the 12 tweets were "caused to be tweeted" by Trump, as Insider notes. 

We need your help to stay independent

Each tweet is from December 2020 or early January 2021, in the days leading up to and on the day of the deadly attacks on the Capitol. In the posts, Trump pitched baseless claims of "ballot stuffing by Dems," "corrupt" voting processes, and alleged that "People in Georgia got caught cold bringing in massive numbers of ballots and putting them in 'voting' machines."

Following the release of the Georgia indictment, some right-wingers falsely claimed that Trump was being charged for tweeting. Conservative host Charlie Kirk shared a section of the indictment citing a Trump tweet promoting a hearing discussing his baseless election fraud claims on the right-wing network OAN.

"This is not a criminal case," Kirk tweeted on Monday night. "It is a bid to nullify the United States Constitution."

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

On Tuesday morning, Politico legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney clarified potential confusion about what Trump is actually being charged for, addressing false allegations made by "Folks pretending 'overt acts' like tweets are standalone allegations of crime."

"Overt acts are not standalone allegations of crime and are often perfectly legal activities but can be part of an illegal conspiracy when combined with other evidence," Cheney wrote. 

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance echoed Cheney's explanation.

"RICO predicate acts are crimes off of a list specified by statute," Vance wrote. "Overt acts to further the goals of the conspiracy can be acts that would be perfectly legal-making a phone call-if they weren't in service of a criminal purpose."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

MORE FROM Gabriella Ferrigine

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Donald Trump Fani Willis Politics