President Donald Trump said on Truth Social on Tuesday that Special Counsel Jack Smith sent him a target letter in the January 6 investigation.
Trump made a similar post on his social network after receiving a target letter in Smith’s investigation into Trump retaining classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. The letter, Trump said, includes an invitation to appear before the grand jury — an offer that he’s unlikely to accept. He suggested in his Truth Social announcement that the deadline for that appearance would be this week.
Target letters typically convey that federal prosecutors believe a recipient has committed a crime. It suggests that prosecutors may be on the verge of obtaining an indictment for Trump’s decision to orchestrate a coup attempt from the Oval Office.
It’s a measure of accountability that, while long-awaited, remains stunning in the breadth of criminality that it aims to address: the only President in U.S. history not only to refuse to accept the judgment of the people, but to try to use the powers of his office to subvert it.
It’s been more than two years since Trump incited the January 6 assault on the Capitol. But viewed in the context of the former President’s attempt to coerce damaging falsehoods about his opponent from the Ukrainian government in 2019, his efforts to portray measures aimed at stemming the COVID-19 pandemic as a conspiracy against him, his claims that the election itself was fraudulent, and efforts within and without the courts to rob Biden of his victory, January 6 looks more like a culminating event, a capstone to months of conspiracy.
The scope of any forthcoming indictment, where it might be issued, and whatever charges may have been described in the target letter remains unclear.
Trump said in a follow-up statement that a case brought in the nation’s capital would be unfair, because “a D.C. jury will do whatever they want.”
Trump is already the first President in U.S. history to face criminal charges, first at the state level in New York and then last month in the Mar-a-Lago records case.
But nothing matches the sheer criminality — and damage done to democracy — of his attempt to reverse his defeat.
Smith is understood to have focused in recent months on Trump and his attorneys’ efforts to convene slates of fake electors across seven states that he lost in 2020. Recent reports indicated that Smith has been interviewing members of Trump’s inner circle.
The fake electors scheme involved a coterie of attorneys for Trump purportedly directing GOP electors in seven states that Trump lost to cast their ballots anyway, as if he had won. The documents were then delivered to Congress by Mike Roman, the 2020 Trump campaign’s director of Election Day operations.
Roman reportedly agreed to cooperate with the investigation last month.
In recent weeks, Rudy Giuliani, who led Trump’s legal team throughout the effort to block Biden’s win, agreed to speak with prosecutors under a proffer agreement. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also reportedly spoke before the grand jury, as did longtime aide Hope Hicks.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.