Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has been informed by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith that he is a “target” in the criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The so-called target letter is the firmest sign yet that Trump is likely to be indicted in connection to the investigation, an extraordinary prospect made all the more unique given that the former president is already facing criminal charges from the special counsel’s investigation into his retention and mishandling of sensitive national defense information after he left office.
Trump said in a post on his social media site Truth Social that his attorneys informed him of the letter on Sunday evening. A target letter can often – but not always – precede an indictment; Trump received such a letter before being indicted in the classified documents case, becoming the first ex-president to face criminal charges.
“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 said in the post Tuesday morning.
Trump’s statement comes just hours before a pretrial hearing is set to take place in the classified documents case, in which the presiding judge may indicate when she plans to schedule Trump’s trial. Trump’s attorneys have petitioned to hold the trial after the 2024 election, while the Justice Department has vigorously opposed their arguments, asking instead for jury selection to begin in December.
In his Truth Social post Tuesday, Trump also repeated the refrain that the special counsel investigations are politically motivated.
“THIS WITCH HUNT IS ALL ABOUT ELECTION INTERFERENCE AND A COMPLETE AND TOTAL POLITICAL WEAPONIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT,” Trump said.
He also dug in once again on claims that the 2020 election was “rigged,” repeating the same lies that catalyzed the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.
“I have the right to protest the Election that I am fully convinced was Rigged and Stolen,” he said.
Smith took over an investigation in November into Trump and his allies’ attempts to subvert the results of the 2020 election, including their actions leading up to the violence at the Capitol.
Justice Department investigators have reportedly called dozens of witnesses to testify in front of a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C.
They are said to have focused on a scheme to try to put forward fake electors in states where President Joe Biden beat Trump in an attempt to overturn Biden’s electoral college win. Investigators have also reportedly sought testimony about Trump’s mindset and actions leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Trump is already facing 37 criminal counts in the classified documents investigation over his retention of classified defense information at Mar-a-Lago after he left office and obstruction of justice linked to the government’s attempts to collect those documents from him.