Former President Donald Trump Indicted for Efforts To Overturn 2020 Election

FILE - Former President Donald J. Trump watches the NCAA Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Tulsa, Okla. Trump’s calls for protests ahead of his anticipated indictment in New York have generated mostly muted reactions from supporters, with even some of his most ardent loyalists dismissing the idea as a waste of time or a law enforcement trap. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Aug. 1, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted former President Donald Trump on four counts relating to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The indictment includes six unnamed co-conspirators. 

“[F]or more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant [Donald Trump] 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 reads.

According to the unsealed indictment, Trump is charged with:

  1. Conspiracy to defraud the United States;
  2. Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding;
  3. Obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and
  4. Conspiracy against the right to vote and have one’s vote counted.

With regard to the first three conspiracies, the indictment notes that: “Each of these conspiracies — which built on the widespread mistrust the Defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud — 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.”

“Shortly after election day, [Trump] also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results,” the indictment continues. The 45-page unsealed indictment also points to Trump’s conduct — including false statements — that interfered with “others’ right to vote and have their votes counted” in the 2020 presidential election. 

These charges result from an independent special counsel investigation led by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Smith. Appointed as special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in November 2022, Smith was tasked with running an independent investigation into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Earlier this month, Trump announced that he received a letter from the DOJ indicating that he is a target of its investigation into the events leading up to Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump and his allies filed over 60 post-election lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 election in states across the country, including in key battleground states like Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin They lost all but one of the lawsuits, including a case at the U.S. Supreme Court that sought to invalidate election results in multiple states.

In addition to investigating the events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Smith led a separate probe into Trump’s withholding and concealing of classified documents. In connection with this investigation, Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on June 8 for his mishandling of over 100 classified documents following his departure from office. Trump faces 37 felony counts including conspiracy to obstruct justice and willful retention of national defense information. 

This week’s indictment marks the third time this year that Trump has been indicted on criminal charges. In March, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced an indictment of Trump charging the former president “with 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree” related to his hush money payments to Stormy Daniels in the leadup to the 2016 presidential election. 

The case concerning Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election has been assigned to Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014. Trump is expected to plead not guilty. 

Read the indictment here.

Follow the case here.