“…Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen…”
The indictment [pdf]:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DONALD J. TRUMP,
Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 371
(Conspiracy to Defraud the United States)
Count 2: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k)
(Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding)
Count 3: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)(2), 2
(Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding)
Count 4: 18 U.S.C. § 241
(Conspiracy Against Rights)
2. Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway—to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.
4. Shortly after election day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results. In so doing, the Defendant perpetrated three criminal conspiracies….
Each of these conspiracies—which built on the widespread mistrust the Defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud—targeted a bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election (“the federal government function”).
The as yet unnamed co-conspirators:
8. The Defendant enlisted co-conspirators to assist him in his criminal efforts to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and retain power. Among these were:
a. Co-Conspirator 1, an attorney who was willing to spread knowingly false claims and pursue strategies that the Defendant’s 2020 re-election campaign attorneys would not.
b. Co-Conspirator 2, an attorney who 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.
c. Co-Conspirator 3, an attorney whose unfounded claims of election fraud the Defendant privately acknowledged to others sounded “crazy.” Nonetheless, the Defendant embraced and publicly amplified Co-Conspirator 3’s disinformation.
d. Co-Conspirator 4, a Justice Department official who 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.
e. Co-Conspirator 5, an attorney who assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.
f. Co-Conspirator 6, a political consultant who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.
10. The Defendant’s conspiracy to impair, obstruct, and defeat the federal government function through dishonesty, fraud, and deceit included the following manner and means:
a. The Defendant and co-conspirators used knowingly false claims of election fraud to get state legislators and election officials to subvert the legitimate election results and change electoral votes for the Defendant’s opponent, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to electoral votes for the Defendant. That is, on the pretext of baseless fraud claims, the Defendant pushed officials in certain states to ignore the popular vote; disenfranchise millions of voters; dismiss legitimate electors; and ultimately, cause the ascertainment of and voting by illegitimate electors in favor of the Defendant.
b. The Defendant and co-conspirators organized fraudulent slates of electors in seven targeted states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), attempting to mimic the procedures that the legitimate electors were supposed to follow under the Constitution and other federal and state laws. This included causing the fraudulent electors to meet on the day appointed by federal law on which legitimate electors were to gather and cast their votes; cast fraudulent votes for the Defendant; and sign certificates falsely representing that they were legitimate electors. Some fraudulent electors were tricked into participating based on the understanding that their votes would be used only if the Defendant succeeded in outcome-determinative lawsuits within their state, which the Defendant never did. The Defendant and co-conspirators then caused these fraudulent electors to transmit their false certificates to the Vice President and other government officials to be counted at the certification proceeding on January 6.
c. The Defendant and co-conspirators attempted to use the power and authority of the Justice Department to conduct sham election crime investigations and to send a letter to the targeted states that falsely claimed that the Justice Department had identified significant concerns that may have impacted the election outcome; that sought to advance the Defendant’s fraudulent elector plan by using the Justice Department’s authority to falsely present the fraudulent electors as a valid alternative to the legitimate electors; and that urged, on behalf of the Justice Department, the targeted states’ legislatures to convene to create the opportunity to choose the fraudulent electors over the legitimate electors.
d. The Defendant and co-conspirators attempted to enlist the Vice President to use his ceremonial role at the January 6 certification proceeding to fraudulently alter the election results. First, using knowingly false claims of election fraud, the Defendant and co-conspirators attempted to convince the Vice President to use the Defendant’s fraudulent electors, reject legitimate electoral votes, or send legitimate electoral votes to state legislatures for review rather than counting them. When that failed, on the morning of January 6, the Defendant and co-conspirators repeated knowingly false claims of election fraud to gathered supporters, falsely told them that the Vice President had the authority to and might alter the election results, and directed them to the Capitol to obstruct the certification proceeding and exert pressure on the Vice President to take the fraudulent actions he had previously refused.
e. After it became public on the afternoon of January 6 that the Vice President would not fraudulently alter the election results, a large and angry crowd-including many individuals whom the Defendant had deceived into believing the Vice President could and might change the election results—violently attacked the Capitol and halted the proceeding. As violence ensued, the Defendant and co-conspirators exploited the disruption by redoubling efforts to levy false claims of election fraud and convince Members of Congress to further delay the certification based on those claims.
Someone is going to jail.
31. On January 2, four days before Congress’s certification proceeding, the Defendant and others called Georgia’s Secretary of State. During the call, the Defendant lied to the Georgia Secretary of State to induce him to alter Georgia’s popular vote count and call into question the validity of the Biden electors’ votes, which had been transmitted to Congress weeks before, including as follows:
a. The Defendant raised allegations regarding the State Farm Arena video and repeatedly disparaged one of the same election workers that Co-Conspirator 1 had maligned on December 10, using her name almost twenty times and falsely referring to her as “a professional vote scammer and hustler.” In response, the Georgia Secretary of State refuted this: “You’re talking about the State Farm video. And I think it’s extremely unfortunate that [Co-Conspirator 1] or his people, they sliced and diced that video and took it out of context.” When the Georgia Secretary of State then offered a link to a video that would disprove Co-Conspirator l’s claims, the Defendant responded, ” I don’t care about a link, I don’t need it. I have a much, [Georgia Secretary of State], I have a much better link.”
The fake electors conspiracy:
53. As the Defendant’s attempts to obstruct the electoral vote through deceit of state officials met with repeated failure, beginning in early December 2020, he and co-conspirators developed a new plan: to marshal individuals who would have served as the Defendant’s electors, had he won the popular vote, in seven targeted states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—and cause those individuals to make and send to the Vice President and Congress false certifications that they were legitimate electors. Under the plan, the submission of these fraudulent slates would create a fake controversy at the certification proceeding and position the Vice President—presiding on January 6 as President of the Senate to supplant legitimate electors with the Defendant’s fake electors and certify the Defendant as president.
55. The plan began in early December, and ultimately, the conspirators and the Defendant’s Campaign took the Wisconsin Memo and expanded it to any state that the Defendant claimed was “contested” — even New Mexico, which the Defendant had lost by more than ten percent of the popular vote. This expansion was forecast by emails the Defendant’s Chief of Staff sent on December 6, forwarding the Wisconsin Memo to Campaign staff and writing, “We just need to have someone coordinating the electors for states.”
On politically weaponizing the Department of Justice:
70. In late December 2020, the Defendant attempted to use the Justice Department to make knowingly false claims of election fraud to officials in the targeted states through a formal letter under the Acting Attorney General’s signature, thus giving the Defendant’s lies the backing of the federal government and attempting to improperly influence the targeted states to replace legitimate Biden electors with the Defendant’s.
71. On December 22, the Defendant met with Co-Conspirator 4 at the White House. Co-Conspirator 4 had not informed his leadership at the Justice Department of the meeting, which was a violation of the Justice Department’s written policy restricting contacts with the White House to guard against improper political influence.
72. On December 26, Co-Conspirator 4 spoke on the phone with the Acting Attorney General and lied about the circumstances of his meeting with the Defendant at the White House, falsely claiming that the meeting had been unplanned. The Acting Attorney General directed Co-Conspirator 4 not to have unauthorized contacts with the White House again, and Co-Conspirator 4 said he would not.
73. The next morning, on December 27, contrary to the Acting Attorney General’s direction, Co-Conspirator 4 spoke with the Defendant on the Defendant’s cell phone for nearly three minutes.
74. That afternoon, the Defendant called the Acting Attorney General and Acting Deputy Attorney General and said, among other things, “People tell me [Co-Conspirator 4] is great. I should put him in.” The Defendant also raised multiple false claims of election fraud, which the Acting Attorney General and Acting Deputy Attorney General refuted. When the Acting Attorney General told the Defendant that the Justice Department could not and would not change the outcome of the election, the Defendant responded, “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
Every right wingnut accusation is actually a confession.
We came this close:
84. The Defendant moved immediately from this national security briefing to the meeting that the Acting Attorney General had requested earlier that day, which included Co-Conspirator 4, the Acting Attorney General, the Acting Deputy Attorney General, the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, the White House Counsel, a Deputy White House Counsel, and a Senior Advisor. At the meeting, the Defendant expressed frustration with the Acting Attorney General for failing to do anything to overturn the election results, and the group discussed Co-Conspirator 4’s plans to investigate purported election fraud and to send his proposed letter to state officials—a copy of which was provided to the Defendant during the meeting. The Defendant relented in his plan to replace the Acting Attorney General with Co-Conspirator 4 only when he was told that it would result in mass resignations at the Justice Department and of his own White House Counsel.
What did the Supreme Court know, and when did they know it?:
95. On the morning of January 5, at the Defendant’s direction, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff and the Vice President’s Counsel met again with Co-Conspirator 2. CoConspirator 2 now advocated that the Vice President do what the Defendant had said he preferred the day before: unilaterally reject electors from the targeted states. During this meeting, CoConspirator 2 privately acknowledged to the Vice President’s Counsel that he hoped to prevent judicial review of his proposal because he understood that it would be unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court. The Vice President’s Counsel expressed to Co-Conspirator 2 that following through with the proposal would result in a “disastrous situation” where the election might “have to be decided in the streets.”
Mike Pence (r):
97. Also on January 5, the Defendant met alone with the Vice President. When the Vice President refused to agree to the Defendant’s request that he obstruct the certification, the Defendant grew frustrated and told the Vice President that the Defendant would have to publicly criticize him. Upon learning of this, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff was concerned for the Vice President’s safety and alerted the head of the Vice President’s Secret Service detail.
On January 6, 2021:
111. At 2:24 p.m., after advisors had left the Defendant alone in his dining room, the Defendant issued a Tweet intended to further delay and obstruct the certification: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
112. One minute later, at 2:25 p.m., the United States Secret Service was forced to evacuate the Vice President to a secure location.
113. At the Capitol, throughout the afternoon, members of the crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”; “Where is Pence? Bring him out!”; and “Traitor Pence!”
Go. Read the whole thing [pdf].
Just another slow news day, eh? (June 13, 2023)
But wait, there’s even more… (July 27, 2023)
Indicted, again (August 1, 2023)