Jack Smith says Jan 6 was ‘unprecedented assault’ on democracy as grand jury indicts Trump

Special Counsel Jack Smith said in a statement that the insurrection on January 6 was an “unprecedented assault” on democracy.

The prosecutor spoke following the indictment of former President Donald Trump in relation to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr Smith said the indictment “sets forth the crimes charged in detail. I encourage everyone to read it in full”.

“The attack on our nation’s capitol on January 6 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” he added. “As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the US government – the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.”

“The men and women of law enforcement who defended the US Capitol on January 6 are heroes. They are patriots and they’re the very best of us,” the special counsel said. “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.”

Mr Smith added: “They defended the very institutions and principles that define the United States.”

A grand jury in Washington, DC voted to indict Mr Trump on four counts on Tuesday, including 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.

The indictment states that Mr Trump took part in 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”.

It states that he conspired to “corruptly obstruct and impede the January 6 congressional proceeding at which the collected results of the presidential election are counted and certified” and orchestrated a “conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted”.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Smith said, “Since the attack on our capital, the Department of Justice has remained committed to ensuring accountability for those criminally responsible for what happened that day”.

“This case is brought consistent with that commitment and our investigation of other individuals continues,” he added. “In this case, my office will seek a speedy trial so that our evidence can be tested in court and judged by a jury of citizens. In the meantime, I must emphasize that the indictment is only an allegation and that the defendant must be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

Prosecutors claim that Mr Trump had six co-conspirators, five of which were attorneys.

Mr Trump and the “co-conspirators used knowingly false claims of election fraud to get state legislators and election officials to subvert the legitimate election results and change electoral votes for the Defendant’s opponent, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to electoral votes for the Defendant,” the indictment states.

They also argue that Mr Trump “pushed officials in certain states to ignore the popular vote; disenfranchise millions of voters; dismiss legitimate electors; and ultimately, cause the ascertainment of and voting by illegitimate electors”.

Mr Smith ended his statement by thanking “the members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who are working on this investigation with my office, as well as the many career prosecutors and law enforcement agents from around the country who have worked on previous January 6 investigations.

“These women and men are public servants of the very highest order and it is a privilege to work alongside them.”

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