By: Shane Masterson August 30, 2023
An effort to overturn the 2020 Presidential election, culminating in 2021’s violent riot on the Capitol, has landed former President Donald Trump with a third indictment per the Justice Department, following dual indictments earlier in the year involving the collection of classified documents and allegations of shady monetary practices. The move comes after a lengthy investigation into Trump’s actions during the election, which include failed court proceedings, attempts to sway the conclusions of election officials, and misinformed rhetoric directed at supporters. Trump has maintained that the 2020 election was fraudulent and was “stolen” from him, a claim that has not been corroborated by significant evidence thus far.
The former President was indicted on four counts; conspiracy to defraud the United States, witness tampering, conspiracy against the rights of citizens, and obstruction of an official proceeding. The federal charges add to the mounting load of criminal investigations and indictments already levied against Trump, who has continued his candidacy for the 2024 Presidential election.
The investigation into Trump’s conduct during the election and leading up to the Capitol incident has been headed up by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by the Justice Department to handle the proceedings of the case. Smith has been a repeated target of attacks by Trump, who has called for him to be “put out to rest.” Smith categorized the attack on the Capitol “an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy.”
Although the legal shakeouts have been scandalous in nature thus far, Trump remains the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination. FiveThirtyEight, a polling aggregation website, currently has Trump at 53.3% support within the party, where his main opposition in Florida governor Ron DeSantis has stalled behind with 14.3% support. Trump’s lasting political capital has been a marked difference from past administrations involved in scandals; for example, Nixon’s Watergate controversy forced him into resignation over bipartisan pressure. But it seems Trump has no intention of letting up.
The indictments continue Trump’s streak of being the first former or current President ever charged with criminality, a record he’s held since the first case came to a head in April of 2023. Trump continues to claim that his criminal investigations and indictments have been politically motivated, and that he himself has been “politically persecuted.” The campaign itself has claimed the charges to be “fake.”