Donald Trump is currently investigated for the January 6, 2021 assault on Congress, and may soon receive another indictment for that dramatic attack on the heart of American democracy as well.
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Trump investigated for the assault on Capitol Hill
He revealed this himself in a message on his Truth social media: ‘The deranged Jack Smith, prosecutor with Joe Biden’s Justice Department, sent me a letter (it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a target of the 6 January Grand Jury investigation, and giving me just 4 days to report back to the Grand Jury, which almost always means arrest and indictment‘.
The target letter sent to the former president is a kind of notice. In which, the prosecutor informs a person that he is the subject of a criminal investigation, but it is not yet a formal indictment. The purpose is to ensure that the suspect’s rights are respected and to give him the opportunity to defend himself.
The request to appear before the Grand Jury is not a subpoena or even an order to turn himself in. But simply a chance offered to defend himself and possibly exonerate himself. Trump does not seem willing to take advantage of it. Not least because he would risk making his situation worse if he lied under oath. It is therefore very likely that he will receive an indictment in the coming days.
The facts of Capitol Hill
The investigation led by Special Prosecutor Smith concerns the attempt to prevent the certification of Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election through a demonstration that resulted in the assault on Congress.
In which at least seven people lost their lives, including those who died during the attack and afterwards. It is separate from the investigation that Smith himself is leading on the secret documents stolen at Mar a Lago, for which Trump has already been indicted in Florida.
The details of the evidence gathered are not known. But speculation ranges from Trump’s direct involvement in organising the attack to accusations that he did not do what he had to do to stop it. Other defendants have already been tried and convicted for that assault, but for different offences.
The other recent indictments for the former President Trump
So far, the two indictments and civil convictions he has received, for the payment of porn star Stormy Daniels, the secret papers, and the sexual abuse against Jean Carroll, have helped Donald politically, propelling him up in the polls. He is currently the clear favourite to win the Republican Party nomination.
The American Constitution does not prohibit convicted and indicted persons from running for president. And if he wins next year he could pardon himself from any possible conviction. He also counts on using this investigation to present himself as a victim of judicial persecution for political purposes. And thus strengthen his position in the base, forcing the entire GOP to defend him.
In fact, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in theory his most formidable opponent, is already helping him. ‘Trump should have acted more forcefully to stop the rioters. But there is a difference between doing so and being impeached”.
Smith’s problem is precisely this. The charge of trying to subvert the democratic order is very serious. But it is difficult to prove.
Democrats, however, are banking on the fact that independent voters, the ones Donald absolutely needs in key states to overturn his 2020 defeat, will be driven to turn their backs on him by his judicial troubles.