Former President Donald Trump issued a stark warning, expressing concerns about potential legal repercussions and the fervor of his supporters, as news emerged that he might face indictment in connection with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his conduct surrounding the 2020 election and the January 6 Capitol attack.
Already indicted on state financial crimes in New York and federal classified document charges in Florida, Trump has been vocal about potential charges stemming from the insurrection.
He has raised the specter of violence, reminiscent of the events that unfolded on January 6 when his supporters stormed the Capitol building.
“I think it’s a very dangerous thing to even talk about because we do have a tremendously passionate group of voters, much more passion than they had in 2020 and much more passion than they had in 2016,” Trump said in an interview late last week on Iowa’s The Simon Conway Show.
“I think it would be very dangerous,” he asserted.
The twice-impeached former president’s legal team reportedly received a target letter on July 18 from the special counsel.
A grand jury is reportedly hearing the case against Trump.
The target letter mentioned three statutes that could form the basis for prosecution, conspiracy to defraud the government, obstruction of an official proceeding, and a civil-rights violation often used in voting-fraud cases.
Several news outlets reported that those charges suggest that prosecutors may believe they have evidence of Trump collaborating with others to undermine President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
Legal experts speculate that Trump could face charges under statutes passed following the Civil War, originally designed to prosecute conspiracies aimed at depriving newly freed Black people of their voting rights.
Federal prosecutors have already successfully utilized one of these statutes in a case against a Trump supporter involved in voter suppression during the 2016 presidential election.
According to several legal analysts, Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, including pressuring state officials and promoting false electorate slates, could fall under these statutes.
Trump also could face charges of defrauding the government, which prohibits obstructing a lawful function of the government through deceitful means.
A federal judge previously suggested that Trump’s post-election conduct might have violated this law.
According to the Wall Street Journal, another charge prosecutors might bring is obstruction of an official proceeding, a provision in the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act designed to address evidence tampering.
The Justice Department has employed that charge against many rioters involved in the January 6 incident.
In the event of any charges related to the 2020 election, the trial would likely occur in Washington, D.C., close to the U.S. Capitol that Trump’s supporters besieged.
Trump and his legal team have previously voiced concerns about potential bias from a Democratic-leaning jury pool in the nation’s capital.
Should a criminal trial proceed, the Wall Street Journal said it would encompass a broader range of evidence, with less classified information involved.