Trump says he’s a target of special counsel’s criminal probe into 2020 election aftermath

Date:

It’s round three of indictments coming down the pike for Donald Trump. This time out of Washington DC for the January 6th Capitol attack or possibly the fake elector’s scam or both. I happen to believe it’s mostly going to be about fake electors as that is where the latest news from that scene has been for a while. But one can hope it includes the attack on the capitol as well.

It also comes on the heels of a motion to delay the documents case in Florida under Judge Aileen Cannon who is set to hear the case this afternoon.

Key takeaways for this new indictment will be which Judge gets the case, a Trump appointee or a friendly to Trump Judge, or possibly a more seasoned and stern Judge who puts Trump under bail conditions and travel restrictions and reporting in weekly to pre-trial and various other things like: a perp walk, handcuffs, mugshots and other normal criminal defendant issues that everyone accused of a crime has to go through.

In Florida, his home state, he was treated with kid gloves and air cover media support and wall to wall coverage of his plane landing and limo ride to the courthouse. The hope in this case is that he suffers none of that wall-to-wall coverage and this time is made to feel like a criminal defendant.

Story below:

Former President Donald Trump said in a social media post he’s been informed by special counsel Jack Smith that he is a target of the criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a sign he may soon be charged by the special counsel.

“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment,” Trump posted on Truth Social.

Trump’s attorneys, including Todd Blanche, received the target letter from Smith’s team Sunday informing them that their client could face charges in the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, two sources familiar with what happened tell CNN.

A target letter from federal prosecutors to Trump makes clear that prosecutors are focused on the former president’s actions in the investigation into overturning the 2020 election – and not just of those around him who tried to stop his election loss.

Trump’s legal team has not formally responded to the invitation to testify before the grand jury, which the letter provides, but it is largely expected that Trump will decline to do so. The letter caught Trump’s team off guard, who had not been anticipating Smith to potentially bring charges this month, or against Trump.

Trump’s advisers spent Tuesday morning calling lawyers and allies, trying to figure out who else – if anyone – received a target letter related to the special counsel’s investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election, multiple sources familiar with the outreach told CNN. Trump’s advisers are hoping to glean better insight into what a potential criminal case against the former president might entail, according to sources.

So far, Trump’s team has not identified anyone else who got a target letter, the sources said.

Trump also received a target letter from Smith in May roughly three weeks before he was indicted in the investigation into the mishandling of classified documents.

Smith declined to comment Tuesday when asked by CNN about the target letter and whether his office is preparing to indict the former president. CNN spotted Smith leaving a Subway sandwich shop in Washington, DC.

The White House declined to comment. CNN has also reached out to Biden’s reelection campaign for comment.

Trump has already been indicted twice this year. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged the former president on 34 counts of falsifying business records in March, and Smith charged Trump on 37 counts in the classified documents investigation last month. Trump pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Justice Department regulations allow for prosecutors to notify subjects of an investigation that they have become a target. Often a notification that a person is a target is a strong sign an indictment could follow, but it is possible the recipient is not ultimately charged.

Those notifications aren’t required, but prosecutors have the discretion to notify subjects that they have become a target.

While Trump didn’t say specifically why he was told to report to the grand jury, individuals who receive a target letter typically are given the chance to appear before a grand jury to present evidence or testify if they choose.

In the classified documents case, Trump received a target letter from the special counsel’s office on May 19. His lawyers then met with Justice Department officials on June 5. Three days after that, on June 8, the grand jury returned an indictment against Trump and his co-defendant and aide Walt Nauta.

Trump claims ‘right to protest’ election

Trump himself has been compartmentalizing the news. The former president spent Monday at his Bedminster golf club with a few close advisers and is traveling to Iowa later Tuesday with a small group of his campaign team for a town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Trump defended himself in his social media posts Tuesday morning.

“Under the United States Constitution, I have the right to protest an Election that I am fully convinced was Rigged and Stolen, just as Democrats have done against me in 2016, and many others have done over the ages,” Trump wrote.

Smith has been investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election leading up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, including putting forward fake electors in states Trump lost and a pressure campaign against his then-Vice President Mike Pence to try to overturn the election when Congress certified Joe Biden’s Electoral College win on January 6.

The special counsel has also probed Trump’s knowledge that he lost the 2020 election, pressure within the Justice Department to help with efforts to overturn the election and fundraising efforts after the election.

Dozens of witnesses have spoken to prosecutors and testified before the grand jury in the 2020 election investigation, including a lengthy list of top aides to Trump in the White House as well as Pence.

In addition, prosecutors have focused on a chaotic December 2020 Oval Office meeting in the final days of the Trump administration, in which Trump’s advisers discussed seizing voting machines, naming a special counsel to investigate voter fraud and invoking martial law as part of the efforts to overturn the election.

A number of Trump lawyers also have spoken to federal investigators. Last month, Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani met with investigators for a voluntary interview over two days that covered a range of topics, including the tumultuous December 2020 meeting that he attended, CNN previously reported.

Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, told CNN that Giuliani has not received a target letter.

In recent months, prosecutors have also interviewed election officials in the seven battleground states where Trump’s team falsely claimed fraud and put forward fake electors after the 2020 election.

The grand jury investigating 2020 election interference is meeting Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/18/politics/trump-special-counsel-probe/

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