Trump Says He Received Target Letter in Federal January 6 Investigation

A new indictment for Donald Trump could be imminent after the former US president announced on Tuesday morning he had received a letter from special prosecutor Jack Smith identifying him as a “target” in the justice department’s investigation into the January 6 insurrection.

Trump, who is already facing criminal charges in Florida for illegally hoarding classified documents from his presidency, and prosecution in New York for a hush-money payment to an adult movie star, said his attorneys handed him the letter as he was having dinner on Sunday night.

“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter … stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and an Indictment,” Trump posted to his Truth Social website.

Smith, who is also the prosecutor in the classified documents case, has been looking into Trump’s efforts to remain in office following his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden, including the deadly 6 January 2021 riot in which his supporters overran the Capitol building in Washington DC.

It is unclear what the specific charges could be, but the letter gives Trump until Thursday to exercise his option to appear before a grand jury in Washington.

People who receive target letters from federal authorities are often – but not always – indicted. They are also usually advised by their attorneys to not take up invitations to meet with the grand jury because any statements provided in that setting could be used to help build a case against them in the event that they’re charged.

The letter was, Trump insisted, “horrifying news” for the country, which he also claimed was an attempt by Biden to arrest “his number one political opponent”.

Trump currently leads in polling for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination by a wide margin.

Meanwhile, also Tuesday, the lawyer who advised Trump on overturning the 2020 election – John Eastman – reportedly indicated he had not received a target letter from the special counsel.

The statement came from Eastman’s attorney, Charles Burham, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reported.

Eastman was in the vanguard of lawyers plotting schemes involving “fake electors” and other ploys to help Trump thwart Biden’s presidential victory in 2020. The former California law professor is one of several lawyers whose legal stratagems have been heavily examined by Smith’s investigation into Trump and his allies’ efforts to block Biden from taking office.

Burham’s statement read: “Our client has received no target letter, and we don’t expect one raising concerns about illegality in the conduct of an election is not now and has never been sanctionable.”

The situation adds to Trump’s already perilous legal position as he pursues another run at the White House. As well as the Florida indictment, he has been charged in New York over an alleged hush-money payment to the adult movie star Stormy Daniels to remain quiet about their affair.

Trump is also under investigation in Fulton county, Georgia, for efforts to overturn his defeat to Biden there. A decision is expected shortly from the prosecutor, Fani Willis, whether to charge him over a phone call in which he attempted to persuade Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” him enough votes to win.

Georgia’s supreme court on Monday unanimously rejected a request by Trump to block Willis from prosecuting the case. His lawyers had argued that a special grand jury report that is part of the inquiry should be thrown out.

In his post on Tuesday, Trump repeated unfounded claims that all the legal moves against him were politically motivated.

“They have now effectively indicted me three times, with a probable fourth coming from Atlanta, where the DOJ are in strict, and possibly illegal, coordination with the District Attorney, whose record on murder and other violent crime is abysmal,” he wrote.

“This witch hunt is all about election interference and complete and total political weaponization of law enforcement,” he added in all capital letters.

“It is a very sad and dark period for our nation.”

But Tuesday night, Trump joked about his legal challenges while campaigning in eastern Iowa.

Headlining a Republican county meeting, he attacked investigators while trying to make light of what could be his third criminal indictment since March.

“I didn’t know practically what a subpoena was and grand juries. Now I’m becoming an expert,” he told the audience at an Elks Lodge in Cedar Rapids.

News of the letter from Smith comes the same day a Trump-appointed judge in Fort Pierce, Florida, holds a hearing to determine a schedule for his classified documents trial.

Trump’s lawyers want to push the date beyond the 2024 election, while Smith’s team is pressing for a start date before the end of this year.

This article first appeared on The Guardian

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