Grand Jury Meets in DC Amid Special Counsel’s 2020 Election Probe

July 20, 2023

A grand jury was meeting at the Federal Courthouse in DC Thursday morning that could potentially hand up an indictment against former President Trump regarding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing related to the 2020 Election.

On Tuesday morning, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform, “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.”

That target letter reportedly includes at least three charges: deprivation of rights, conspiracy to commit an offense or defraud the United States, and witness tampering. Trump also reportedly faces being charged with obstructing an official proceeding—Congress’ certification of the 2020 election on January 6, 2021.

The target letter also reportedly suggests that Trump could face charges of violating the Civil Rights law that’s used in voting fraud cases. Section 241 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it a crime for anyone to “conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person” in the “free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

According to CNN, Trump’s attorneys were scrambling Wednesday to try to learn whether Smith had evidence about Trump’s conduct that they didn’t know about, suggesting that Smith might bring election-related charges against Trump far broader than his team may have expected.

While the target letter reportedly gives Trump the option of testifying on his own behalf in front of the grand jury in the case on Thursday, Trump was not likely to do so. He previously declined to testify before a grand jury in Florida before it handed up an indictment of 37 criminal counts, to which Trump pleaded not guilty, including charges of violating the Espionage Act, for his handling of classified documents post-Presidency.

Legal custom indicates that any possible indictment would come in the days or weeks after the grand jury’s offer to the targeted individual to testify. 

Meanwhile, Will Russell, a former special assistant to Trump in the White House who has continued to work for him, was expected to testify before the grand jury Thursday for at least a third time.

If Trump is eventually indicted by the DC grand jury, it would be his third indictment in as many locations. Along with the Florida grand jury’s indictment, Trump has pleaded not guilty in New York to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy over hush money payments he made to at least two women in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

On Wednesday a federal judge denied Trump’s bid to move that case from Manhattan to federal court. Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that Trump failed to show that any of the allegedly illegal conduct was related to his role as President of the United States.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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