For a third time, former President Donald Trump has been indicted.
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged Trump with conspiring to seize a second term after losing the 2020 election, alleging a sweeping campaign of deceit and abuses that threatened the foundations of American democracy.
In a 45-page indictment unveiled Tuesday, special counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with four felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
“Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power,” the indictment said. “So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false.”
The indictment identified six individuals as co-conspirators in Trump’s effort to overturn the election, but none of those people were charged Tuesday. Though the alleged co-conspirators were not named, the descriptions correspond to a cabal of Trump lawyers who embraced increasingly fringe strategies as Trump’s bid to remain in power faltered. They include Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro.
Pennsylvania was prominently featured in the section of the indictment entitled, “The Criminal Agreement and Acts to Effect the Object of the Conspiracy,” on page 9.
“Shortly after election day – which fell on November 3, 2020 – the Defendant launched his criminal scheme. On November 13, the Defendant’s Campaign attorneys conceded in court that he had lost the vote count in the state of Arizona – meaning, based on the assessment the Defendant’s Campaign advisors had given him just a week earlier, the Defendant had lost the election. So the next day, the Defendant turned to Co-Conspirator 1, whom he announced would spearhead his efforts going forward to challenge the election results. From that point on, the Defendant and his co-conspirators executed a strategy to use knowing deceit in the targeted states to impair, obstruct, and defeat the federal government function, including as described below.”
The Philadelphia City Commissioner named is Al Schmidt, the current Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Co-Conspirator 1 is assumed to be Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
“I know crooks really well,” he told the state Senate Majority Policy Committee that day at the Wyndham Gettysburg hotel. “You give them an inch and they take a mile. And you give them a mile and they take your whole country.”
The four Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature included Speaker of the PA House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre), Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre).
“It would … set a precedent that a simple majority of the General Assembly can override the will of the people as evidenced by the popular vote,” the GOP leaders said.
Afterwards, Trump retweeted a post from Bernard Kerik labeling the legislators cowards.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) December 4, 2020
The Acting Attorney General was Jeffrey A. Rosen, while the Acting Deputy Attorney General was Richard Donoghue.
And on January 6, 2021, Trump declared in his speech, falsely, that,
- there were “205,000 more ballots than you had voters” in Pennsylvania.
- that “thousands” of dead people voted in Pennsylvania.
- that “[o]ver 14,000 ballots were cast by out-of-state voters.”
- that “the number of absentee ballots that had been sent out … was suddenly and drastically increased by 400,000 people.”
The indictment concluded by stating that Trump “did knowingly, combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators, known and unknown the the Grand Jury, to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate one or more persons in the free exercise and enjoyment of a right and privilege secured to them by the Constitution and laws of the United States – that is, the right to vote, and to have one’s vote counted.”
Former vice president Mike Pence said in a statement, “Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.”
Congressman Dwight Evans (D-03) tweeted, “As I’ve said, no one should be above the law in America. That’s especially true when it comes to a violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election. Accountability is key to preserving our democracy!”