Donald Trump has been indicted in special counsel’s 2020 election interference probe

(CNN) — Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury on four criminal counts in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election leading up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

“Shortly after election day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results,” the indictment states.

The newest case against Trump strikes at what’s seen as the former president’s most serious betrayal of his constitutional duties, when his efforts to remain in the White House after losing the 2020 election sought to undermine US democracy and the long-held American tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power.

The plot to overturn the 2020 election shattered presidential norms and culminated in an unthinkable physical assault on the Capitol on January 6, as Congress met to validate President Joe Biden’s victory. Even before that, Trump engaged in an unprecedented pressure campaign toward state election workers and lawmakers, Justice Department officials and even his own vice president to persuade them to throw out the 2020 results.

The four counts are: 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.

Smith’s move to bring charges will test whether criminal justice system can be used to hold Trump to account for his post-election conduct after he was acquitted in his impeachment trial related to his actions that day.

The indictment is the second time in two months that Smith has brought charges against Trump. In June, Trump was charged with retention of classified documents and conspiracy with a top aide to hide them from the government and his own attorneys. And separately in March, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted Trump on state charges of falsifying business records.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases – and is likely to do so again when he’s arraigned on the latest charges.

The new special counsel indictment comes as Trump remains the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The first two indictments have done little to impact his standing in the race.

Trump’s March indictment marked the first time in US history that a former president had faced criminal charges. Now there are three separate, concurrent cases where the president is facing felony allegations, which are all going to play out as Trump seeks to return to the White House in 2024 following his loss to Biden in 2020.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire

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