Former President Donald Trump was arraigned Thursday in Washington, DC, in federal court for allegedly trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Trump, 77, surrendered to law enforcement and pleaded not guilty to a four-count Justice Department indictment for disrupting the peaceful transfer of power with his campaign demands. stolen” that culminated in the storming of the US Capitol building by hundreds of his supporters on January 6, 2021.
Special Counsel Jack Smith has charged the former president with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, conspiracy to obstruct an official process, obstruct and attempt to obstruct an official process, and conspiracy to rights.
The indictment says Trump made ‘knowingly false’ statements about the 2020 election and unlawfully pressured former Vice President Mike Pence and various state officials to reject the victory of President Biden.
Trump and Smith reportedly exchanged glances inside the courtroom on Thursday – and the former president looked back a few times at the roughly 100 spectators and reporters seated for the hearing.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of 55 years in federal prison, but the case is unlikely to be decided before Election Day 2024.
Trump attorney John Lauro said the former president’s legal team would launch its own counter-investigation into Smith’s indictment allegations, pushing back the trial date by several months.
On January 6, 2021, Trump urged protesters to demonstrate “peacefully and patriotically” but also to “fight like hell” against congressional efforts to certify the results of the presidential election.
The 45th president is the first current or former commander-in-chief to be indicted by the federal government. He remains the favorite in the Republican presidential primary by a margin of more than 30 percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics poll average.
Biden, 80, stayed away from the proceedings while on vacation, telling reporters as he pedaled his bike on Thursday that he was not going to watch the impeachment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadyaha presided over the impeachment hearing on Thursday, but will be replaced by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama and handed down lengthy sentences against several defendants of the Capitol Riot.
Trump’s critics, including the Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn, retired sergeant. Aquilino Gonell and Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, who responded to the events of January 6, 2021, were also seen entering the federal courthouse earlier.
Trump appeared grim as he exited his Boeing 757 at Reagan National Airport ahead of his arraignment, but gave a brief wave to the cameras as he descended the stairs from Trump Force One.
Dozens of protesters began gathering outside the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington ahead of the historic impeachment, with some cheering the prospect of Trump’s jail term and others expressing disappointment.
Domenic Santana, an anti-Trump protester who was arrested for nearly blocking the former president’s motorcade as he walked off his June arraignment in Florida, made a dramatic reappearance and called for condemnation dressed in a black and white prison outfit.
At noon on Thursday, Trump took to Truth Social to protest the indictment.
“I’M NOW GOING TO WASHINGTON, DC, TO BE ARRESTED FOR CHALLENGING A CORRUPTED, rigged, and stolen ELECTION,” he said. “IT’S A GREAT HONOR, BECAUSE I AM ARRESTED FOR YOU. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”
Trump also hit out at Ron DeSantis, his next closest contender in the 2024 GOP primary contest, by posting a video montage of the 44-year-old Florida governor praising him in the past.
Smith also indicted Trump in June on 37 counts of allegedly keeping cla*sified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate – and then lying to his lawyers and federal authorities about his actions.
The prosecutor later added three more charges alleging the Palm Beach, Fla. property manager deleted security camera footage of the incident and helped the man from Trump’s body move the boxes containing the documents.
Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has warned Smith’s dueling indictments resemble “a modified form of Russian roulette” – and could give his former boss a huge advantage in the Republican primary in 2024 if he avoids conviction.
In April, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged the ex-president with 34 counts of business fraud for allegedly withholding business documents to cover up ‘silent’ payments ahead of the 2016 election. to a p**n star.
And Trump could face a fourth racketeering indictment from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for his efforts to pressure officials to overturn the 2020 election result. in Georgia.