Already breathlessly awaiting the news, the vast InterWebs became awash this Tuesday afternoon with the announcement:
A grand jury has indicted former president Donald Trump for multiple alleged crimes stemming from his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The four-count, 45-page indictment accuses Trump of three distinct conspiracies, and charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S., conspired to obstruct an official proceeding and conspired against people’s rights. Trump, who is seeking to return to the White House in next year’s election, denied all wrongdoing. Special counsel Jack Smith, in a brief appearance, said his office would seek a speedy trial.
And the anticipated call:
Donald Trump has been indicted on four charges by grand jury investigating Jan. 6 https://t.co/ExBshzd0ns
— Rachel Weiner (@rachelweinerwp) August 1, 2023
Broad strokes of the charges via The Washington Post:
Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government: Conspiracy is a catchall crime covering any scheme between two or more people to break federal law or defraud the U.S. government. Conspiracies don’t need to be successful to be criminal, and perpetrators can be held responsible if they join the conspiracy at any stage.
In this case, prosecutors allege Trump conspired with six others to “overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election.” The co-conspirators are not named, but they are described as four attorneys, a consultant and a Justice Department official who worked with Trump.
The indictment says Trump attempted to overturn the election results in myriad ways: by pushing state officials in certain swing states that broke for Biden to ignore the results and take steps to make Trump the winner; by organizing slates of “fake electors” who falsely certified that Trump had won seven states; by pushing the Justice Department to endorse the false claims of election fraud; by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to change the election results; and by exploiting the violent riot on Jan. 6 to try to keep lawmakers from confirming of Biden’s victory.
Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding: For the same conduct used to charge him with conspiracy, Trump is charged specifically with conspiring to obstruct the congressional confirmation of Biden’s victory on Jan. 6.
Obstruction of an official proceeding: Trump is also charged with a substantive obstruction count for attempting to block Congress from confirming Biden’s victory on Jan. 6. The same charge is the most common felony charge used against rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has split on how to define this crime, but a majority of judges who have weighed in agree that at least some conduct at the Capitol counts as illegal obstruction.
Conspiracy against rights: This charge criminalizes any joint effort to “injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate” people to stop them from enjoying their constitutional or federal rights. It was passed after the Civil War, when White vigilante groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were terrorizing Black southerners who sought to vote or otherwise enjoy their rights under the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. Its use was limited for many decades by Supreme Court decisions, but prosecutors brought the charge in the 20th century in cases involving racist attacks on civil rights activists and ballot-box stuffing. It was also used against a Nixon aide who authorized the burglary of a psychiatrist’s office after the Pentagon Papers leak. Here, prosecutors argue Trump conspired to stop people from exercising “the right to vote, and to have one’s vote counted.” They must prove that was Trump’s intent.
Possibly — hopefully — T-Rump could get up to a max total of 55 years in prison if convicted of all counts, but we all know that’s way-unlikely — sentencing has a lot of factors from pleadings to age and health. T-Rump could get something, but it’s anybody’s guess at this point.
And about those ‘six others‘ not named (New York Times): ‘The indictment of former President Donald J. Trump mentions — but does not identify by name — six co-conspirators who prosecutors say worked with him in seeking to overturn the 2020 election. It is not clear why the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, decided to seek only Mr. Trump’s indictment for now, though it is possible that some of the co-conspirators could still face charges in the weeks ahead.‘
According to reports, this is the six: Rudy Giuliani, what can we say, we know Rudy; John Eastman, asshole attorney facing possible disbarment in California for mass lying, and according to the indictment, “devised and attempted to implement a strategy to leverage the Vice President’s ceremonial role overseeing the certification proceeding to obstruct the certification of the presidential election,” and more maybe later; Sidney Powell, whose election fraud accusations even T-Rump thought were “crazy” (he ‘embraced‘ them publicly, though); Jeffry Clark, a mid-level DOJ operative who loved him some T-Rump; Kenneth Chesebro, this one I’ve never heard of — appellate attorney. who came up with the idea of the ‘fake electors’ scheme; and the sixth is a yet-to-be-identified ‘political consultant,’ who also worked with the phony elector plan.
Of course, more on these assholes will follow in the days/weeks/months ahead.
A noted, super-aware and steady legal hand on the wheel — DOJ Special counsel Jack Smith:
Smith: The attack on our nation's capital on January 6th was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy. It's described in the indictment. It was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant, targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. Government pic.twitter.com/wj685DpKIy
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 1, 2023
Not to sugar-coat the shit, either (CBS):
“The attack on our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” Smith said in a brief remarks after the release of the 45-page indictment detailing the charges. “As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.”
Smith said law enforcement who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 are “heroes” and “patriots.”
“They did not just defend a building or the people sheltering in it. They put their lives on the line to defend who we are as a country and as a people,” he said. “They defended the very institutions and principles that define the United States.”
Smith said he would seek a “speedy trial” and that his investigation into other individuals connected to the efforts to overthrow the election continues.
Also, an item of interest concerning the above-mentioned slipper-slide Jeffry Clark (HuffPost):
The indictment reveals a stunning Jan. 3, 2021, exchange between Clark, who is referred to as Co-Conspirator 4, and deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin. Philbin had previously warned Clark in December that “there is no world, there is no option in which you do not leave the White House [o]n January 20th.” He made the point again on Jan. 3 in an effort to dissuade Clark from assuming the role of acting attorney general under a fraudulent Trump presidency.
Philbin warned Clark that if Trump tried to stay in office despite no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, there would be “riots in every major city in the United States.”
Clark replied, “Well, [Phibin], that’s why there’s an Insurrection Act.”
The Insurrection Act, originally enacted in 1792, empowers the president of the United States to deploy the military domestically in certain cases, like suppressing civil disorder or rebellion.
Tuesday’s indictment accuses Clark of having “worked on civil matters and who, with the Defendant, attempted to use the Justice Department to open sham election crime investigations and influence state legislatures with knowingly false claims of election fraud.”
There’s a shitload of stories like that folded-up within the whole scheme of insurrection.riot things — more most-likely to come.
Supposedly, the T-Rump hasn’t time to waste: ‘Trump is scheduled to appear at the Washington, DC, federal courthouse at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.‘
We close out with a connective coming anniversary of sorts:
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) August 1, 2023
A jail cell, or not, yet once again here we are…
Image out front is my favorite of the T-Rump mugs, though, ‘favorite‘ does not mean in any form or fashion, as in, ‘my favorite movie,’ or ‘my favorite song.’ It’s more of an anti-appreciation/like.
And aptly titled, ‘Basic Shapes,‘ by caricaturist/illustrator Chong Jit Leong (and found here), it’s an image that displays the elemental form of a purloined sociopath — a bloated profile of flatulent bile and arrogant ignorance.