Former President Donald Trump is bracing yet another indictment, this time over his failed attempts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election and his loyalists’ violent attack on Congress.
Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors on Sunday alerted Trump’s lawyers that the former president is the target of the second phase of his criminal investigation, Trump announced.
In a Tuesday morning post on his Truth Social network, Trump revealed what he called “HORRIFYING NEWS for our Country.” He said the DOJ’s special prosecutor had “effectively issued a third indictment and arrest,” calling Smith “deranged.”
“I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation,” he declared, noting that the Justice Department has given him “a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury.”
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the DOJ team handling this extremely sensitive investigation, declined to comment.
For more than two years, there have been calls for law enforcement to hold the former president accountable for attempting to end the U.S. tradition of a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. As the bipartisan House Jan. 6 Committee discovered during a long-running investigation, Trump refused to concede his loss to his rival in 2020 and proceeded to employ a three-prong attack to remain in the White House.
Trump used an army of lawyers to file nonsense lawsuits across the country in an attempt to block votes for now-President Joe Biden. He placed a menacing phone call to Georgia’s top elections official to try pressuring him into flipping voting results there. And, citing made-up legal theories, he coordinated with MAGA loyalists in Congress to pause certification of electoral ballots in a bid to send envelopes back to states, where Republicans could attempt to replace real votes with fake ones for Trump. The threat was heightened by the presence of armed and violent protofascist gangs—like the Oathkeepers, Three Percenters, and Proud Boys—who broke into the Capitol Building with Trump fans.
While there have been more than 1,069 people charged with crimes for that assault, law enforcement has yet to pursue cases against the few at the top who orchestrated it all.
However, the Justice Department has been quietly investigating the matter. Smith was assigned as the DOJ’s special counsel investigating Trump last year, giving him enough autonomy to ensure such a politically-sensitive probe would steer clear of the Biden administration. According to three sources briefed on various aspects of the probe, Smith’s investigation has proceeded on two tracks: one about Trump’s hoarding of classified documents without permission at Mar-a-Lago mansion, and the other about Trump’s role in the attempted coup.
If Smith has indeed made the real estate tycoon the target of the second investigation, that decision indicates an indictment could be around the corner. However, unlike the Mar-a-Lago case which is now moving forward in a Florida court under the purview of a Trump-appointed and conservative judge, federal prosecutors are likely to pursue the Jan. 6 case in Washington.
The Jan. 6 case is complex. Prosecutors would have to prove that Trump knew he lost the election and had criminal intent when he lied to the American people while attempting to stay in power. But of all the criminal investigations Trump faces, it’s also the most grave, given that his actions represent an injury to the very nation he once led.
In his post on Tuesday, Trump also mentioned the other investigations he is facing. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. is prosecuting him for trying to cover up a hush payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, which spared his first successful presidential campaign from potentially catastrophic embarrassment. And yet another indictment could come down in the next few weeks—over his threatening phone call in Georgia. That investigation is being handled by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta.
Trump, who is currently campaigning for president yet again, apparently with hopes that a return to the White House in 2025 would shield him from criminal investigations, is currently fighting four separate criminal investigations that seek to imprison him.