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Trump indictment simple, solemn

By Paul Blythe

The felony indictment issued Tuesday, Aug. 1, by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Donald Trump is a beautiful thing in its simplicity and forthrightness.

It's all good, but its Introduction is exceptional: four paragraphs of language as plain, direct and solemn as the Gettysburg Address.

Paragraph 1: "The Defendant, DONALD J. TRUMP, was the forty-fifth President of the United States and a candidate for re-election in 2020. The Defendant lost the 2020 presidential election." That's it: who the defendant is: the 45th president of the U.S., who lost the 2020 presidential election.

Paragraph 2: "Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway 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." What the defendant did: Spread lies that he knew were lies to erode public faith in the election.

Paragraph 3: "The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won. He was also entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means, such as by seeking recounts or audits of the popular vote in states or filing lawsuits challenging ballots and procedures. Indeed, in many cases, the Defendant did pursue these methods of contesting the election results. His efforts to change the outcome in any state through recounts, audits, or legal challenges were uniformly unsuccessful." Did the defendant have any right to challenge the results? Yes, he had a right to contest the results through lawful means, which he did and lost in every case. Plus he had the right, like all Americans, to speak publicly about the results and even to claim, falsely, that he had won, which he also did.

Paragraph 4: "Shortly after election day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results. In so doing, the Defendant perpetrated three criminal conspiracies:

a. A conspiracy to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful federal government function by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and certified by the federal government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371;

b. A conspiracy to corruptly obstruct and impede the January 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified (the certification proceeding), in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512(k ); and

c. A conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 241.

Each of these conspiracies which built on the widespread mistrust the Defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud targeted a bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation's process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election (the federal government function)." What crimes, then, is the defendant accused of? Four crimes, including three conspiracies: attempting to use his lies to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election; enlisting others to use his lies to obstruct the lawful government function of collecting, counting and certifying the presidential election results during the period between Nov. 14, 2020 and Jan. 7, 2021; enlisting others to impede the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding where certifying the results was carried out; and enlisting others to obstruct the rights of voters in certain states to have their votes counted. (Which states is detailed in the rest of the 45-page indictment; they include at least Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.)

Now, you really should read it all to truly appreciate this historic moment, either by:


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