In a heated response to the new criminal charges, the campaign team of former President Donald Trump has strongly refuted any wrongdoing, asserting that the accusations amount to election interference. The charges come in the wake of allegations surrounding Trump’s alleged involvement in a plot to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Last night on CNN, Trump’s lawyer John Lauro stated that the defense will present the free speech argument.
“Our focus is on the fact that this is an attack on free speech and political advocacy. And there’s nothing that’s more protected under the First Amendment than political speech. So, at the end, our defense is going to be focusing on the fact that what we have now is an administration that has criminalized the free speech and advocacy of a prior administration during the time that there is a political election going on,” said Lauro.
Trump now faces four new criminal counts, including an alleged attempt to obstruct Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on January 6, 2021.
The indictment also identifies six unnamed individuals who reportedly played significant roles in supporting Trump’s efforts to undermine the election. Among those named in the indictment are Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, constitutional lawyer John Eastman, Sidney Powell, along with an individual referred to as “Clark,” who allegedly pressed DOJ leaders to cast doubt on the election results. Additionally, Ken Chesebro, accused of being an architect of key elements of Trump’s alleged fake elector strategy, is among the named individuals. It is still unknown who the conspirator 6 is, as he is only identified as a political consultant in the indictment.
In response to the indictment, Speaker Kevin McCarthy dismissed it as a distraction tactic from recent developments surrounding Hunter Biden and characterized it as an attempt to “attack the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.”
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik expressed her belief that Trump will return as President in January 2025.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence, who is vying for the GOP nomination instead of Trump, issued a statement emphasizing the importance of upholding the Constitution, saying, “Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries jointly released a statement regarding the indictment of Trump, calling it “the most serious and most consequential thus far.” They assert that it uncovers shocking details about a months-long criminal plot led by the former President to defy democracy and overturn the will of the American people. They emphasize that this indictment will serve as a lasting reminder for future generations that no one, including a President, is above the law.
The third indictment of Mr. Trump illustrates in shocking detail that the violence of that day was the culmination of a months-long criminal plot led by the former president to defy democracy and overturn the will of the American people. This indictment is the most serious and most consequential thus far and will stand as a stark reminder to generations of Americans that no one, including a president of the United States, is above the law. The legal process must continue to move forward without any outside interference.
Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow to address the charges.
Read the full indictment below.