Donald Trump was accused by the federal government on Tuesday of trying to overturn the 2020 election.
Jack Smith, the special counsel leading the prosecution, accused Trump of attacking the “bedrock” of American democracy.
Trump and his supporters said the indictment was an effort to derail his presidential campaign and prevent him from reclaiming the White House in 2024.
Here are the main takeaways from the 45-page indictment.
Trump is pictured on January 6, 2021, amid his efforts to void the election
FOUR CHARGES OF THREE PLOTS
The four charges detail three different ways in which Trump tried to undermine and ultimately nullify the 2020 vote.
First, he allegedly participated in a conspiracy to defraud the United States.
This charge focuses on what prosecutors describe as using “dishonesty, fraud and deceit” to obstruct the electoral process.
Second, the indictment lays out the conspiracy to disrupt and block official proceedings – specifically the certification of the January 6, 2021 results, which is normally formulaic and uneventful.
And finally, Trump is accused of conspiring to block citizens’ right to vote and have their vote count.
The three conspiracies result in four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct official process, obstruction of official process, and conspiracy against rights.
Special Counsel Jack Smith (right) led the federal investigation into former President Donald Trump and his attempts to stay in power after the 2020 election
Trump is the only defendant in the indictment, but six co-conspirators are named.
They are not named in the document, but their identities were quickly established thanks to the details of the charges.
The six include his three lawyers – Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and John Eastman.
They also include Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and independent attorney Kenneth Chesebro.
The identity of the sixth person remains unclear.
Rudy Giuliani is one of six people named as co-conspirators in the indictment
Giuliani has become infamous for his television gaffes, such as a press conference in 2020 where his hair dye was seen dripping down his face
Sidney Powell, a Texas-based attorney, is co-conspirator 3 in the indictment. She is pictured on November 19, 2020, speaking at a press conference at the RNC headquarters in Washington DC alongside Rudy Giuliani
FIVE SEPARATE AREAS OF ATTACK
The indictment sets out five different ways in which Trump sought to overturn the 2020 results.
First, he and his allies set about trying to persuade state lawmakers and election officials to overturn the election results, spreading allegations of fraud they knew were false.
Second, they attempted to get voters in seven key states to refuse to certify the results as they were tallied during certification on January 6, 2021. The seven states were Arizona, Georgia, Michigan , Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
He lost in Georgia by less than 12,000 votes, or less than a percentage point.
But he lost New Mexico by about 100,000 votes, or more than 10 percentage points.
Third, they attempted to co-opt the Justice Department into their White House-led plot, using the DOJ to conduct “phony election crime investigations” and send letters to battleground states claiming to have identified d major fraud issues.
Fourth, intense pressure was put on Mike Pence, the vice president, to use his ceremonial role on January 6 to block official certification of the results.
And finally, Trump and his allies are accused of exploiting the chaos of the January 6 riot to try to prevent the transfer of power to Joe Biden.
Trump told Pence he was being ‘too honest’ as he pushed the vice president to use his role as congressional speaker on January 6, 2021 to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to the new indictment
WARNINGS ON HIS CONDUCT
The indictment explains how Trump was repeatedly warned that his actions had the potential to cause immense upheaval in the country.
Mike Pence and senior government officials are among those named in the indictment as having told the then-president his demands were unlawful and improper.
Trump at one point told Pence, as a reprimand, that he was “too honest.”
Pence’s notes on the events appear to have been vitally important to the prosecution team.
On Jan. 4, an unnamed co-conspirator admitted to a senior Trump adviser that “no court would support his proposal” to reject electoral votes for Biden. The councilor replied, “You are going to cause riots in the streets.
PENCE’S FULL STATEMENT ON TRUMP’S THIRD INdictment
Today’s indictment is an important reminder that anyone who places himself above the Constitution should never be President of the United States.
I will have more to say about the government’s case after reviewing the indictment. The former president is entitled to the presumption of innocence but with this indictment, his candidacy means more Jan. 6 talk and more distractions.
As Americans, his candidacy means less attention paid to Joe Biden’s disastrous economic policies that are afflicting millions across the United States and the corruption scheme with Hunter.
Our country is more important than a man. Our constitution is more important than a man’s career.
On January 6, former President Trump demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. I chose the Constitution and I always will.
As President, I will not yield an inch in defense of America, our people, or our values, and I promise you that I will do so in a manner consistent with my oath to the Constitution and the character and to the decency of the American people. We will restore a threshold of integrity and civility in public life so that we can provide real solutions to the challenges that plague our nation.
FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
The indictment acknowledges Trump’s First Amendment right to lie about the election result and say the results were fraudulent.
He also had the right to formally challenge election results, including through recounts or audits of vote counts, or by filing lawsuits.
But he had no right to actively seek to alter the results.