Trump was charged in the U.S. special counsel probe for attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, former U.S. President Donald Trump faced criminal charges for the third time in four months. These charges were related to his efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 U.S. election, as he campaigns to regain the presidency in the next year.

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The indictment against Mr. Trump includes four counts and alleges that he conspired to defraud the U.S. by preventing Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory and deprived voters of their right to a fair election.

As a result of the charges, Mr. Trump was ordered to appear in federal court on Thursday, August 3. The charges emerged from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into allegations that Mr. Trump, who is also the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, attempted to reverse his election loss to Biden, his Democratic rival.

According to the indictment, Mr. Trump conspired with six other unnamed individuals to overturn the election results. Prosecutors claim that Mr. Trump knew his claims of election fraud were false but continued to repeat them, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and eroding public faith in the election process.

In response to the charges, the Trump campaign released a statement asserting that he has always followed the law and characterized the indictment as a politically motivated “persecution,” drawing parallels to Nazi Germany.

Officials testified that Mr. Trump pressured them with false claims of widespread voting fraud. Furthermore, his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to halt Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Trump and his co-conspirators organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven states, all of which he lost, and submitted their votes to be counted and certified as official by Congress on January 6.

Though the co-conspirators were not named in the indictment, some appeared to describe former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and attorney John Eastman. Both had their phones seized and searched in the investigation last year.

Prior to these charges, Mr. Trump already became the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. He had pleaded not guilty in June to a 37-count indictment related to unlawfully retaining classified government documents after leaving office in 2021 and obstructing justice.

Adding to his legal troubles, three more criminal counts were added last Thursday, bringing the total to 40. These counts accused him of ordering employees to delete security videos while he was under investigation for retaining the classified documents.

The first charges against Mr. Trump emerged in March when a grand jury convened by Manhattan’s district attorney indicted him on 34 felony counts, accusing him of falsifying business records related to a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Mr. Trump denied the encounter.

Despite his legal challenges, Mr. Trump remains a prominent figure in the political landscape and leads the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates as he seeks a rematch with Biden in the upcoming election.

While the indictments may help Mr. Trump solidify support within his base and secure the Republican nomination, their impact in the general election, where he needs to appeal to more skeptical moderate Republicans and independents, might be more limited.

In addition to the charges he currently faces, Mr. Trump is also under investigation by a county prosecutor in Georgia for allegedly seeking to undo his 2020 election loss in that state.

The charges related to mishandling classified documents accused Mr. Trump of conspiring with his aide Walt Nauta to move boxes containing documents inside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to prevent their discovery. A maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, Carlos De Oliveira, was also charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice for allegedly assisting Mr. Trump in hiding documents.

Mr. Trump’s supporters played a significant role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, using various weapons and tactics to attack police and infiltrate the building. Five people died during and shortly after the chaos, and around 140 police officers were injured. Before the attack, Trump delivered an incendiary speech near the White House, urging his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to “stop the steal” of the election.

Multiple election-related lawsuits challenging the election results based on false claims of fraud were lost by Mr. Trump and his allies. Despite warnings from White House advisers, former Attorney General William Barr, and other officials that there was no evidence of widespread fraud, Mr. Trump continued to push this narrative even as his presidency concluded.

A Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives committee’s 2022 investigative report found that Mr. Trump “corruptly pressured” former Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count state-by-state electoral votes that determined the election’s outcome during a joint session of Congress. The committee also alleged that Mr. Trump and his advisers oversaw a plot to have electors in pivotal states, where he lost, submit fraudulent documentation to Congress and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, falsely claiming he won those states.

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