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Donald Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Mike Pence into refusing to certify the result of the 2020 election wasn’t just an unseemly pressure campaign that put his vice president’s life at risk, it was the lynchpin of a scheme to defraud America, according to prosecutors.
A grand jury in Washington returned an indictment yesterday in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation charging Trump with conspiracy to reverse his election loss through deceit and false claims of voter fraud. The indictment relies heavily on Trump’s treatment of Pence, who was forced to flee the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as a mob of Trump supporters attempted to prevent Pence’s certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Pence, derided by Trump as “too honest” in a phone call cited in the indictment, resisted pressure and carried out his ceremonial role, thwarting the former president’s alleged plot to stay in office.
The indictment also drew Pence’s strongest rebuke of Trump yet. The Constitution “is more important than any one man’s career,” Pence said in a statement. “Anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.”
After testifying before the grand jury that handed down the indictment, the former vice president is now poised to be a star witness in his former boss’s criminal trial, even as both men seek the Republican nomination for the 2024 election. Pence also has “contemporaneous notes” of conversations with Trump, according to the indictment, which are likely to be key evidence in a trial. Erik Larson, Sabrina Willmer, and David Voreacos have the full story.
The indictment also refers to six unindicted “co-conspirators” that prosecutors allege assisted Trump in his “criminal efforts to overturn” the election.
The individuals aren’t named. But the indictment gives enough detail about their actions — often quoting them directly — to identify five of the six based on publicly available information, particularly the final report of the congressional committee that investigated the 2020 election. Gregory Korte and Zoe Tillman detail the co-conspirators’ identities.
- Biden has no public events scheduled.
More Politics & Probes
Trump’s place at the top of the polls makes him a central figure in the policy debates among the other GOP contenders who have shifted their views toward a tough trade-policy stance on China while embracing Trump’s tax cuts.
A lawyer and past GOP state Michigan Attorney General candidate who pushed Trump’s election conspiracies in the swing state was criminally charged yesterday for meddling with voting equipment.
Marc Rowan of Apollo and Stan Druckenmiller of Duquesne Family Office are among the donors hosting a fundraiser for presidential candidate Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in the Hamptons next week.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is bragging about lowering taxes, raising teachers’ salaries, and saving women’s sports from “political radicals” as he seeks another term in office.
In and Around Congress
A drug discount plan desperately needs a legislative fix to protect patients and enhance the government’s program oversight, 340B program advocates told senators recently.
With only a few legislative weeks before government funding runs dry on Sept. 30, lawmakers will likely need to pass a stopgap spending bill punting a final package—and potential tax vehicle for tax provisions—toward year’s end. But Democrats want action on the child tax credit.
A coalition of 17 left-leaning groups sent a letter urging Senate Democrats to oppose the GOP’s FTC nominee Melissa Holyoak over her history of supporting big tech companies and other corporations
The White House will ask Congress to fund arms for Taiwan this month as part of a supplemental budget request for Ukraine, Financial Times reports.
Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he’s worried that miscalculations between China and the US risk escalating to war.
For all of the Republican Party’s furious opposition to ESG, its efforts to accomplish something on the legislative front have fallen short. At least that’s the view of Cowen analyst John Miller, who closely tracks regulatory affairs for the firm’s Washington Research Group.
State of the US Economy
Fitch Ratings’ downgrade of US government debt sparked criticism from Washington and Wall Street even amid unease that swollen fiscal deficits risk eventual turbulence in markets, the economy and next year’s presidential election.
- Biden administration officials objected strenuously to the decision and sought to control the political and economic fallout. Read more.
The Biden administration is again delaying a replenishment of the nation’s emergency oil reserve because of market conditions. The decision comes as oil prices have rallied above $80 a barrel.
Consumer-focused companies are outperforming this earnings season, defying Wall Street expectations and showcasing the resilience of American spending even as inflation bites into budgets.
What Else We’re Reading
Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, could slash US greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 but not come close to eliminating them, according to a new analysis from BlooombergNEF.
- Environmental justice groups have seen big policy wins and billions of dollars in funding since Biden took office, providing hope for marginalized communities largely ignored for decades. Read more.
AI has no desire to buy property or sue anyone anytime soon, but North Dakota is not taking any chances. The state’s AI-related measures were among more than a dozen that have passed legislatures across the US in 2023.
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