Special counsel charges Trump with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

230724 donald trump ew 101p 8373b9

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump was indicted Tuesday on charges he conspired to defraud the country he used to lead and attempted to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden. 

“The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the government function by which those results are collected, counted and certified,” the indictment from special counsel Jack Smith’s office says. 

The indictment marks a historic moment for a nation less than 250 years old — the first time a former president has faced criminal charges for trying to overturn the bedrock of democracy, a free and fair election. While Trump’s failure to reverse his defeat was a credit to the guardrails of that democracy, the ability to prosecute him may renew the stress test on the constitutional design.

The allegation that Trump used “dishonesty, fraud, and deceit” to subvert the 2020 election with “pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud” comes after a sprawling investigation that included testimony from dozens of White House aides and advisors ranging in seniority up to former Vice President Mike Pence.