By: CBS News
Washington — Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from his efforts to remain in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election, adding to the former president’s ongoing legal troubles as he mounts a third bid for the White House.
According to the indictment handed up Tuesday by a federal grand jury, Trump faces four charges: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.
Special counsel Jack Smith, in announcing the charges Tuesday, called what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, an “unprecedented assault” on democracy. “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.”
The indictment says of Trump that despite having lost, he “was determined to remain in power.” So, for over two months after the election, Trump “spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won,” the indictment states, and adds, “These claims were false, and the defendant knew they were false,” but “repeated and widely disseminated them anyway.”
Six unnamed co-conspirators are alleged by the indictment to have been “enlisted” to assist Trump in “his criminal efforts to overturn” the election “and retain power.”
Trump and his co-conspirators allegedly “pushed officials to ignore the popular vote” and “organized fraudulent slates of electors” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to the indictment. The indictment accuses Trump and his co-conspirators of using “knowingly false claims of election fraud” in organizing the fraudulent slates of electors.
Prosecutors allege Trump and his co-conspirators also attempted to use the power of the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations,” and attempted to enlist then-Vice President Mike Pence to use his ceremonial role in affirming the electoral vote count on Jan. 6 to “fraudulently alter the election results.” The indictment also alleges Trump repeatedly pressured Pence to fraudulently reject or return Mr. Biden’s electoral votes.
Trump will be arraigned on Thursday at 4:00 in Federal District Court in Washington, D. C.