Donald Trump says he is the target of a special counsel’s criminal investigation after the 2020 election

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CNN

Former President Donald Trump said in a social media post Special Counsel Jack Smith He is the target of a criminal investigation into efforts to subvert the 2020 election, and he may soon be indicted by the special counsel.

“Joe Biden’s DOJ attorney, Jack Smith, sent a letter saying he is the target of a January 6th grand jury investigation (again, that’s a Sunday night!) grand jury, which always means an arrest and indictment,” Trump posted on Truth Social.

Trump’s lawyers, including Todd Blanche, received a letter of intent from Smith’s team on Sunday saying their client could face charges in the investigation into efforts to rig the 2020 election, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

A targeted letter from federal prosecutors to Trump makes clear that prosecutors are focusing on the former president’s actions in the probe to rig the 2020 election — not just those around him who tried to prevent his election loss.

Trump’s legal team has not formally responded to a subpoena to testify before the grand jury, but Trump is widely expected to decline to provide the letter. The letter caught Trump’s team off guard, not expecting to file charges against Smith or Trump this month.

Trump’s advisers called lawyers and associates Tuesday morning to try to find out who — if anyone — received a letter targeting the special counsel’s investigation after the 2020 election, multiple sources familiar with the outreach told CNN. Trump’s advisers are hoping to gain better insight into what a potential criminal case could be against the former president, sources said.

So far, Trump’s team has not identified anyone else who received the targeting letter, the sources said.

Late Tuesday, Trump addressed the targeted letter on camera for the first time, at a Fox News town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, calling Smith’s investigation “election interference” and a “disgrace.” His campaign is already raising funds from the target letter.

Trump also received a targeted letter from Smith about three weeks before he was indicted in an investigation into the mishandling of classified documents.

Smith declined to comment Tuesday when asked by CNN about the targeted letter and whether his office was preparing to indict the former president. CNN spotted Smith leaving a Subway sandwich shop in Washington, DC.

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The White House declined to comment. CNN has also reached out to Biden’s re-election campaign for comment.

Trump has already been impeached twice this year. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg The former president charged 34 counts of falsifying business records in March and Smith Trump was charged with 37 impeachments Last month, the confidential documents were investigated. Trump pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Judicial regulations allow prosecutors to notify those under investigation that they have been targeted. Frequently declaring that a person is a target is a strong indication that an indictment may follow, but the recipient may not ultimately be charged.

Those notifications aren’t required, but prosecutors have the right to be told they’ve been targeted.

Although Trump did not specifically say why the grand jury must be notified, individuals who receive a target letter are generally given the opportunity to present evidence before a grand jury or testify if they choose.

In the classified documents case, Trump received a targeting letter from the Office of Special Counsel on May 19. His lawyers then met with judicial officials on June 5. Three days later, on June 8, a grand jury returned an indictment against Trump. His co-defendant and accomplice was Walt Nauta.

Trump himself is breaking this news. The former president spent Monday at his Bedminster golf club with some close advisers and will travel to Iowa on Tuesday with a small group of his campaign team for a town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Trump reached out to some of his key allies on Capitol Hill on Tuesday — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik — to plan how they’re going to rail against the special counsel’s investigation, sources familiar with the conversations said.

Trump and Stefanik discussed his role on the House subcommittee on arming the federal government and overall efforts to rally support from the House GOP caucus around the former president, according to a source familiar with the call.

Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill were quick to attack the special counsel in the wake of the targeted letter. “I think the American people are tired of this,” McCarthy said. “The idea that they want equal justice and that they’re using it to go after people who don’t agree with them politically is wrong.”

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Trump defended himself in his social media posts Tuesday morning.

“Under the United States Constitution, I have the right to protest an election that I fully believe was rigged and stolen, as the Democrats did against me in 2016, and as many others have done over the years,” Trump wrote.

Smith is investigating efforts to subvert the January 6, 2020, 2021 election, including an attack on the U.S. Capitol, fielding fraudulent voters in states Trump lost and trying to subvert a pressure campaign against his then-Vice President, Mike Pence. The January 6th election was when Congress certified Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

The special counsel examined Trump’s loss in the 2020 election and the pressure on the Justice Department for efforts to subvert the election and post-election fundraising efforts.

In addition, lawyers focused on a chaotic December 2020 Oval Office meeting in the final days of the Trump administration, in which Trump’s advisers discussed seizing voting machines, naming a special counsel to investigate voter fraud and using martial law as part of the effort. Cancel the election.

The grand jury continues to hear from witnesses, and a close Trump adviser is expected to appear Thursday at the special counsel’s hearing after the 2020 election, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Will Russell, who has testified to a grand jury at least twice before, served as a special assistant to the president and director of advance and travel at the Trump White House. Even after Trump left office, he continued to serve.

Russell’s attorney declined to comment.

Dozens of witnesses The 2020 election has spoken to prosecutors and testified before a grand jury, including a long list of key aides to Trump and Pence in the White House.

Timothy Parladore, Bernard Gerik’s attorney, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Tuesday night’s “The Source” that his client is in talks to sit down with Smith’s team.

Kerig — a former New York City police commissioner and longtime friend of Trump’s ex-lawyer Rudy Giuliani — worked with Giuliani in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election to uncover evidence of voter fraud fueling the race for Trump.

“He did nothing wrong. He was an investigator and everything he did was legal and appropriate,” former Trump lawyer Parladore told Collins, adding, “We expect him to sit down and explain to the special counsel.”

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However, no such session has been scheduled, Parladore said.

Several Trump lawyers also spoke with federal investigators. Last month, Giuliani met with investigators over two days for a voluntary interview that covered several topics, including Turbulent December 2020 The meeting he attended was before CNN reported.

Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, told CNN that Giuliani did not receive the target letter.

In recent months, federal prosecutors working for the special counsel have interviewed officials from seven battleground states targeted by Trump and his allies as they sought to change the results of the 2020 election, CNN has learned.

Smith’s team has met with at least one official from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office in recent months as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors have also interviewed two Wisconsin election officials in recent months: Wisconsin Election Commission Administrator Meagan Wolff and Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogue.

Smith’s team has contacted former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who Trump has pushed to cancel the 2020 election.

A spokesperson for Ducey confirmed Smith’s exit from the team, which was not previously announced. “Yes, he’s been contacted. He’s responsive, and he’s going to do the right thing, just like he’s done since the election,” Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinado told CNN in a statement.

There are other Arizona officials They also gave an interview and subpoenaed By Special Advisory Committee.

Trump lost Arizona to Biden in 2020 by less than 11,000 votes. Trump publicly attacked Ducey, a former ally, over the government’s certification of the results. As the Duce was certifying election results in November 2020, Trump appeared to be calling the governor — a “Hail to the Chief” ringtone on Duce’s phone. Ducey did not take that call, but later said he spoke with Trump, though he did not elaborate on the specifics of the conversation.

A grand jury investigating 2020 election interference convenes Tuesday in federal court in Washington.

This story has been updated with additional reporting and improvements.

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