Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday in a social media post he’s been informed by special counsel Jack Smith that he is a target of the criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a sign he may soon be charged by the special counsel.
“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment,” Trump posted on Truth Social.
Trump’s attorneys, including Todd Blanche, received the target letter from Smith’s team Sunday informing them that their client could face charges in the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, two sources familiar with what happened tell CNN.
A target letter from federal prosecutors to Trump makes clear that prosecutors are focused on the former president’s actions in the investigation into overturning the 2020 election —and not just on those around him who tried to stop his election loss.
Smith declined to comment Tuesday when asked by CNN about the target letter and whether his office is preparing to indict the former president.
Here's what else you should know:
- Caught off guard: Trump’s legal team has not formally responded to the invitation to testify before the grand jury, which the letter provides, but it is largely expected that Trump will decline to do so. The letter caught Trump’s team off guard as they had not been anticipating Smith to potentially bring charges this month, or against the former president.
- Outreach by Trump's lawyers: His advisers spent Tuesday morning calling lawyers and allies, trying to figure out who else — if anyone — received a target letter related to the special counsel’s investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election, multiple sources familiar with the outreach told CNN. Trump’s advisers are hoping to glean better insight into what a potential criminal case against the former president might entail, according to sources. So far, Trump’s team has not identified anyone else who got a target letter, the sources said.
- Trump’s allies attack the special counsel: “I think the American public is tired of this,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “They want to have equal justice, and the idea that they utilize this to go after those who politically disagree with them is wrong.” Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee chair, described the letter as another "ridiculous" move by the Justice Department.
- Witness returning to grand jury Thursday: The grand jury is continuing to hear from witnesses, and a close Trump adviser is expected to appear on Thursday, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
- Smith’s team has contacted all 7 battleground states: In recent months, federal prosecutors working for the special counsel have interviewed officials from all seven battleground states targeted by Trump and his allies as they sought to overturn the 2020 election results, CNN has learned.