Donald Trump Indicted for an Astonishing Third Time, Now in DOJ Election Case

This comes on the heels of a separate indictment by the Justice Department and one in New York.
LAS VEGAS NEVADA  JULY 08 Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers remarks at a...
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 08: Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Nevada Republican volunteer recruiting event at Fervent: A Calvary Chapel on July 8, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump is the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination amid a growing field of candidates. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)Mario Tama/Getty Images

Donald Trump made history in April when he became the first US president to be charged with a crime after leaving office, when the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicted him on charges related to hush money payments he made prior to the 2016 election. In June, he was indicted again, by the Department of Justice, for willfully retaining national defense information and conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation. Today? He was indicted for an astonishing, record-breaking third time, by the DOJ, as a result of the federal investigation into his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump was charged on four 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 also makes reference to six unnamed coconspirators, though they have not been charged. The former president has been summoned to appear in court on August 3. 

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Shortly before the indictment was handed down, Trump wrote on Truth Social, “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.”

According to The New York Times, convictions on conspiracy to violate rights and conspiracy to defraud the government “would carry a sentence of up to five years in prison each,” while the obstruction charges could result in up to 20 years behind bars. 

Last month, The Washington Post reported the bombshell news that the DOJ delayed investigating Trump’s attempt to stay in power for more than a year, and “even then, the FBI stopped short of identifying the former president as a focus of that investigation.” According to the outlet, “a wariness about appearing partisan, institutional caution, and clashes over how much evidence was sufficient to investigate the actions of Trump and those around him all contributed to the slow pace.” Garland and his deputy instead were “chart[ing] a cautious course aimed at restoring public trust in the department,” even as “some prosecutors below them chafed, feeling top officials were shying away from looking at evidence of potential crimes by Trump and those close to him.” Before Garland was confirmed as attorney general, the Post reported, senior DOJ officials and the top deputy to the director of the FBI killed “a plan by prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office to directly investigate Trump associates for any links to the riot, deeming it premature,” instead insisting on “focusing first on rioters and going up the ladder.” That strategy the outlet noted, “was embraced” by Garland and FBI director Christopher Wray, who “remained committed to it even as evidence emerged of an organized, weeks-long effort by Trump and his advisers before Jan. 6 to pressure state leaders, Justice officials and Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Biden’s victory.” (Obviously, this undercuts Trump’s repeated claims that he is the victim of a witch hunt and a weaponized Department of Justice.)

In November 2022, days after Trump announced that he was running for president for a third time, Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith to oversee the investigation into the ex-president’s attempts to steal a second term. Smith, who was also tasked with investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents, began issuing subpoenas just four days after taking the job.

In July, Smith sent Trump a letter officially informing him that he was a target of the government’s criminal investigation.

While it did not have prosecutorial power, the January 6 committee, which spent more than a year investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the election and the attack on the Capitol that followed, recommended the Justice Department charge the ex-president with federal offenses. In its final report, it the panel called Trump the “central cause” of the insurrection, wrote that “none of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” and warned: “Our country has come too far to allow a defeated President to turn himself into a successful tyrant by upending our democratic institutions, fomenting violence, and…opening the door to those in our country whose hatred and bigotry threaten equality and justice for all Americans. We can never surrender to democracy’s enemies.”