Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has been informed by special counsel Jack Smith that he is a criminal target of a Washington, D.C. grand jury investigating his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump announced on Truth Social that he said he got a “target letter” Sunday night in which Smith’s office offered him the opportunity to appear before the grand jury this week. The development indicates another indictment could be on the way, although it does not say what charges Trump would face. He is under indictment in Manhattan in connection with alleged “hush money” payments to Stormy Daniels and in Florida, where Smith’s office accuses him of mishandling sensitive documents.
“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment,” Trump wrote on the social media platform.
Trump expects “arrest and indictment” in connection to January 6th investigation. pic.twitter.com/pkdBqc1ZTQ
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) July 18, 2023
Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November to investigate both Trump’s handling of sensitive documents and his alleged efforts to overturn the election. The Washington grand jury is believed to be looking into Trump’s conduct in the time between the 2020 election and Jan. 6, 2021.
The grand jury meeting in in Washington’s E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse is believed to have heard from Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, as well as Pence’s former chief of staff. Marc Short; former Director of the Office of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe; White House lawyers Patrick Philbin and Pat Cipollone and several others.
Smith is believed to be focused on Trump’s efforts to block certification of electoral votes and not the speech he gave at the Ellipse just before the riot broke out at the Capitol. Although Democrats on the House Jan. 6 Committee blamed the speech for causing the riot, Trump explicitly told the crowd to be “peaceful” and later tweeted to advise protesters to go home.
A hearing in the classified documents criminal case is scheduled for Tuesday before Florida District Judge Aileen Cannon. Trump’s lawyers have moved to delay the case until after the 2024 election, while Smith’s team is seeking to proceed.
In addition to the indictments, Trump is also under criminal investigation in Georgia for his alleged attempt to overturn Biden’s narrow Peach State victory in 2020.
Despite the mounting legal troubles, Trump leads a large Republican primary field vying for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. A Morning Consult poll published Tuesday has Trump at 55%, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 20%, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 8%, and Pence, at 7%.