HomeTop StoriesDonald Trump’s January 6 indictment: six key takeaways

Donald Trump’s January 6 indictment: six key takeaways

Photograph: Sergio Flores/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump has been charged with several crimes in connection with his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, in a historic indictment that is deepening the former president’s legal peril.

Related: Donald Trump faces four charges over efforts to overturn 2020 election

The charges, filed by the special counsel Jack Smith in federal district court in Washington DC on Tuesday, accuse Trump of conspiracies that targeted a “bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election”.

Here are some key takeaways from the latest indictment:

Trump faces four charges

The former president is accused of conspiring to defraud the United States government, conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiring against rights, and obstruction and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding.

In the 45-page indictment, prosecutors laid out their case in stark detail, alleging Trump knowingly spread false allegations about fraud, convened false slates of electors and attempted to block the certification of the election on January 6.

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The former president was “determined to remain in power”

Federal prosecutors said Trump was “determined to remain in power”. Prosecutors said that for two months after his election loss, Trump spread lies to create an “intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger” and “erode public faith in the administration of the election”. They cited an example in Georgia, where Trump claimed more than 10,000 dead people voted in four days even after the state’s top elections official told him that was not true.

There are six un-indicted co-conspirators

The indictment included six un-indicted co-conspirators as part of Smith’s inquiry, including four unnamed attorneys who allegedly aided Trump in his effort to subvert the 2020 election results, as well as an unnamed justice department official and an unnamed political consultant.

While unnamed in the document, the details in the indictment indicate that those people include Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Jeff Clark, a former Department of Justice employee.

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The special counsel wants a speedy trial

It’s unclear yet when the case will go to trial, but Jack Smith said his office will seek speedy proceedings.

“I must emphasize that the indictment is only an allegation and that the defendant must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a court of law,” Smith said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Trump is looking at a complicated calendar for 2024. The former president’s trial in New York on criminal charges over hush money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels will begin in March 2024. His criminal trial in Florida for retaining national security documents at his Mar-a-Lago property and obstructing the justice department’s efforts to retrieve them will take place in May 2024. The Iowa caucuses, the opening salvo in the Republican race for the 2024 presidential nomination, are scheduled to take place in January.

Indictments won’t disqualify Trump from office

Trump’s indictments will not bar him from seeking the presidency again, nor will any conviction.

However, it would be highly unusual for a thrice-indicted candidate to win the Republican presidential nomination. The only other presidential nominee to run under indictment in recent history is former Texas governor Rick Perry, who sought the 2016 Republican nomination after he was indicted for abuse of power. Another candidate, socialist party candidate Eugene Debs ran while imprisoned.

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Trump has three indictments so far. Smith, who indicted him in the January 6 case, has also charged him with the illegal retention of classified documents. Trump was also criminally charged in New York over hush money payments and faces a civil trial over business practices. In Georgia, the attorney general has been investigating Trump and his allies’ alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 results – and is expected to announces charging decisions this month.

The indictment follows a path laid by the House January 6 committee

The congressional panel, which was created to investigate the insurrection, concluded last December recommending criminal charges. Over the course of the investigation, the committee conducted more than 1,000 interviews, collected more than a million documents and interviewed key witnesses. In public hearings, some held at prime time, investigators aired dramatic and damning footage, making the case that Trump “was directly responsible for summoning what became a violent mob” despite understanding that he’d lost the election.

The justice department received what the committee had uncovered, but conducted its own interviews and used its authority to gain key evidence that wasn’t easily accessible to Congress.

The final charges against Trump include ones that the committee had recommended, including conspiracy to defraud the United States.

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