According to a leak from the New York Times, Special Counsel Jack Smith is focusing on charges related to Trump’s urging of elected officials to investigate allegations of voter irregularities during the 2020 election.
The leak, which came in the form of a letter sent by the DOJ, mentions three criminal statutes being considered to prosecute Trump, the prominent Republican candidate for president.
Unnamed sources suggest that Trump may face charges related to two statutes: “conspiracy to defraud the government” and “obstruction of an official proceeding.” These statutes were previously highlighted by the anti-Trump Jan. 6 committee.
The third law, Section 241 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, dates back to the Civil War and was utilized to charge individuals who were suspected of conspiring to “injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person” in the “free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
Originally passed by Congress after the Civil War, the law was aimed at prosecuting members of the Ku Klux Klan who tried to prevent former slaves from voting.
The Times also reported successful use of this law in prosecuting individuals who tampered with ballot boxes.
Jack Smith is engaged in election interference.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 19, 2023
Federal courts upheld the law in 1950 and 1974 through Supreme Court rulings. Prosecutors would have to demonstrate that Trump attempted to fabricate fake votes in his favor, particularly in Georgia, where he already faces a separate investigation.
Trump has staunchly defended his actions during the 2020 election, including his calls for a thorough verification process for all mail-in ballots.
Prominent Republican leaders in Congress expressed their discontent with the Biden DOJ’s decision to pursue charges against the leading presidential candidate for 2024. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused Special Counsel Weiss of engaging in “election interference” and stated on July 19, “His objective is to try to defeat Donald Trump, and he will use all the machinery of the DOJ to try to do so—with Merrick Garland’s enthusiastic support.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., echoed Cruz’s sentiments and said on July 18, “The DOJ is pursuing another indictment charge against former President Trump. More evidence of two tiers of justice at work. Americans won’t stand for this.”
The DOJ is pursuing another indictment charge against former President Trump.
More evidence of two tiers of justice at work. Americans won’t stand for this.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) July 18, 2023