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Special counsel Jack Smith announces new Trump charges, calling Jan. 6 an "unprecedented assault"

Jack Smith speaks on Trump Jan. 6 indictment
Watch: Special counsel Jack Smith speaks on Trump Jan. 6 indictment 02:44

Washington — Special counsel Jack Smith announced new charges against former President Donald Trump stemming from his office's investigation into Trump's efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election, saying the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was "fueled by lies."

"The attack on our nation's Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy," Smith said in a brief remarks after the release of the 45-page indictment detailing the charges. "As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government: the nation's process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election."

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to members of the media at the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 1, 2023. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Trump is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed Smith is politically biased.

The indictment alleges Trump disseminated false allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 election "to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election," ultimately culminating in the Jan. 6 attack.

Smith said law enforcement who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 are "heroes" and "patriots." 

"They did not just defend a building or the people sheltering in it. They put their lives on the line to defend who we are as a country and as a people," he said. "They defended the very institutions and principles that define the United States." 

Smith said he would seek a "speedy trial" and that his investigation into other individuals connected to the efforts to overthrow the election continues. 

The indictment alleges that six unnamed co-conspirators were "enlisted" to assist Trump in "his criminal efforts to overturn" the election "and retain power." Trump and his co-conspirators allegedly "pushed officials to ignore the popular vote" and "organized fraudulent slates of electors" in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the indictment says. 

Trump has been summoned to appear Thursday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, the Trump campaign said the charges were "nothing more than the latest corrupt chapter in the continued pathetic attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their weaponized Department of Justice to interfere with the 2024 Presidential Election."

It's the second indictment against Trump stemming from Smith's investigations. He also faces charges including conspiracy, obstruction and willfully retaining national defense information for his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

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