Former U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he received a letter saying that he is a target of the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump wrote on the website Truth Social that special counsel Jack Smith sent the letter on Sunday. He said the letter stated, “that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation.” The former president added the special counsel gave him “4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment.”
Trump said he received the letter while he was with his family late Sunday. In U.S. federal investigations, targets are usually given a chance to testify before a grand jury before government lawyers seek an indictment. The letter is often used to advise individuals that they have evidence linking them to a crime. Trump received such a letter before being charged last month in a separate investigation into the mishandling of classified documents.
The office of special counsel Jack Smith did not comment. Smith’s office is leading the investigation. The administration of President Joe Biden said any questions about the case should go to the Department of Justice.
A grand jury in Washington, D.C., has heard testimony from several former Trump administration officials as part of the 2020 election investigation. The officials include former Vice President Mike Pence, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
The investigation has centered on actions by Trump and his allies in the days leading up to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Trump’s supporters attacked and occupied the Capitol. The unrest temporarily stopped members of Congress from counting electoral votes that confirmed Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election held on November 3. More than 1,000 people accused of taking part in the riot have been charged.
The investigation also is examining attempts by Trump and his allies to dispute the election. This included the use of what some people have called “fake electors” in states won by Biden and disputed by Trump.
Trump has denied wrongdoing. He did so again in his Tuesday post, writing, “Under the United States Constitution, I have the right to protest an Election that I am fully convinced was Rigged and Stolen, just as the Democrats have done against me in 2016, and many others have done over the ages.”
Trump is currently the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Several Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee chair, have defended Trump.
But his opponents for the nomination were less supportive. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Trump "should’ve come out more forcefully," on January 6. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, "Donald Trump's actions on January 6 should disqualify him from ever being President again.” And former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned: “the rest of this primary election is going to be in reference to Trump, it’s gonna be about lawsuits, it’s gonna be about legal fees, it’s gonna be about judges, and it is just going to continue to be a further and further distraction.”
In his post, Trump wrote: “they have now effectively indicted me three times...with a probably fourth coming from Atlanta.”
The former president is currently facing 37 federal charges accusing him of illegally retaining hundreds of classified documents at his Florida home.
In the state of New York, Trump faces state criminal charges accusing him of falsifying business records. The charges came after an investigation into payments to an adult movie performer during his 2016 presidential campaign.
And government lawyers in Georgia are carrying out a separate investigation into efforts by Trump to dispute his election loss in that state. Officials in Fulton County have signaled that charging decisions could come next month.
I’m Jill Robbins.
Hai Do adapted this report for VOA Learning English from Associated Press and Reuters sources.
Words in This Story
indictment –n. a document officially brining charges against someone or some group in a court of law under the rule of law
testify –v. to give evidence to a court or before lawmakers
grand jury –n. a jury that looks at evidence to decide if charges should be brought against a person or persons
convinced –adj. to be sure that something is real or that something happened
rig –v. to control or affect in a dishonest way
gonna –cont. ‘going to’
distraction –n. something that makes it hard to think or pay attention