By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s indictment accusing former U.S. President Donald Trump with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
TRUMP DIRECTED THE PLAN TO SUBMIT FAKE ELECTORS
The indictment accused Trump of organizing a push to get fraudulent slates of electors in seven states, all of which he lost, to submit their votes to be counted and certified as official by Congress on Jan. 6.
“The Defendant pushed officials in certain states to ignore the popular vote; disenfranchise millions of voters; dismiss legitimate electors,” prosecutors wrote.
TRUMP WAS AWARE CLAIMS OF VOTING FRAUD WERE FALSE
According to prosecutors, Trump was advised by several senior officials and advisors – including then Vice President Mike Pence, White House lawyers, and the Director of National Intelligence – that claims he had made about electoral irregularities were false.
TRUMP REPEATEDLY PRESSURED PENCE TO SUPPORT THE PLAN
In the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 vote, Trump falsely told Pence at least three times he had the authority to reject the electoral results, even though Pence pushed back every time. One of the conversations took place after Pence called Trump on Dec. 25 to wish him a merry Christmas, prosecutors said.
After Pence pushed back on the plan in a call a week later, Trump told him, “You’re too honest,” prosecutors said.
TRUMP TOOK ADVANTAGE OF JAN. 6 CHAOS TO PUSH PLAN
Prosecutors said Trump “exploited” his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, where lawmakers were meeting to certify the election results, refusing his advisors’ suggestion to send a message directing rioters to leave the Capitol.
PROSECUTORS HAVE CAMPAIGN STAFFERS’ TEXT MESSAGES
The indictment cites text messages Trump’s staffers sent each other describing his push to certify fake slates of electors as “crazy” and “illegal.” The messages could serve as powerful evidence of Trump’s directions to his staff at the time.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Daniel Wallis)