IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Last updated

What happens next after Trump's indictment on felony charges

Special counsel Jack Smith's office indicted Trump on charges related to the effort to overturn the 2020 election. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

The latest on the indictment of Donald Trump

  • Former President Donald Trump was indicted Tuesday by the grand jury convened by special counsel Jack Smith to investigate Trump and his allies' attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
  • The former president has been charged with four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States "by using dishonesty, fraud and deceit to obstruct the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election"; conspiracy to impede the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding; a conspiracy against the right to vote and to have that vote counted; and obstruction of the certification of the electoral vote.
  • Trump also faces charges in a separate case brought by the special counsel. He has been accused of mishandling the nation's secrets since leaving the White House.
  • Trump was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg earlier this year in connection with hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. The former president also could still be indicted in Georgia, where a prosecutor is investigating the effort to overturn the election there.
  • Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the cases.

This event has ended. Get more live coverage of former President Donald Trump's arraignment here.

56d ago / 10:23 PM UTC

News organizations start lining up to cover Trump's arraignment

Around 5 p.m. ET, newspeople from several news organizations starting forming outside the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., where Trump is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow afternoon.

The line consists of about 50 people and continues to grow.

56d ago / 10:03 PM UTC
56d ago / 9:47 PM UTC

Co-conspirator 6 is not Michael Roman; identity remains unconfirmed

While details in Trump's latest indictment, along with transcripts and other records, appear to confirm the identities of five of his unnamed co-conspirators, the identity of co-conspirator 6 remains a mystery.

But an NBC News analysis shows that person is not Michael Roman, who directed Election Day operations for the Trump campaign, as some have privately speculated.

Paragraph 64 of the indictment says that, “on December 13, at a Campaign staffer’s request, Co-Conspirator 5 drafted and sent fraudulent elector certificates for the Defendant’s electors in New Mexico, which had not previously been among the targeted states.”

Among the publicly available documents produced to the Jan. 6 Committee, NBC News located a Dec. 13 email from Kenneth Chesebro, who appears to be co-conspirator 5, to Roman attaching those New Mexico documents and reflecting that Roman is the campaign staffer who requested them. That would indicate that Roman is the campaign staffer referred to, not co-conspirator 6.

This email was provided to the committee by Josh Findlay, the third person on the email and a Trump campaign lawyer.

56d ago / 9:34 PM UTC

Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell appear to be among alleged Trump co-conspirators

The remarkable third indictment of former President Donald Trump returned by a federal grand jury on Tuesday includes six, unnamed, unindicted co-conspirators. But it also contains clues to their identities.

Five of the six alleged co-conspirators, based on details provided in transcripts of testimony to the Jan. 6 Committee and other records, appear to be: former New York City mayor and longtime Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani; lawyer John Eastman, who spoke at the Jan. 6 rally and helped architect the “fake electors scheme“; attorney Sidney Powell, who helped lead Trump’s post-campaign legal efforts and promoted conspiracy theories; former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, whom Trump considered making his attorney general; and Kenneth Chesebro, another attorney pushing the “fake electors scheme.”

It is not clear who co-conspirator 6 is.

Prosecutors typically don’t name alleged co-conspirators who have not yet been charged with any crimes.

Read the full story here.

56d ago / 9:02 PM UTC
56d ago / 8:19 PM UTC

Pence denounces Trump's 'crackpot lawyers'

Pence, in remarks to reporters at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis on Wednesday, said Trump was surrounded by “crackpot lawyers” after the 2020 election who only told him what his “itching ears” wanted to hear.

"I was fully prepared to make sure that we heard all the arguments and concerns the members of Congress had brought, but because of the riot and because of, because of the assertion by the president and his crackpot lawyers that I could overturn the election, the violence that ensued eclipsed all of that," Pence said.

The former vice president also claimed he learned of Trump’s efforts to install fake electors in states from the indictment released Tuesday.

"I really do believe that anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States," Pence said. "And anyone who asks someone else to put themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again."

Still, Trump is “entitled to a presumption of innocence" unless he is convicted, he added.

Later on Wednesday, Trump attacked Pence on his Truth Social account, saying his 2024 rival was attracting "no crowds, enthusiasm, or loyalty."

"He didn’t fight against Election Fraud, which we will now be easily able to prove based on the most recent Fake Indictment," Trump claimed.

56d ago / 7:49 PM UTC

Secret Service says it's working with Capitol Police and local authorities to ensure Trump's safety during his arraignment

Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service’s chief of communications, said Wednesday that the agency, along with Capitol Police and local authorities, are working to ensure Trump's safety during his arraignment on Thursday.

In a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Guglielmi wrote that the Secret Service is “working closely with the Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Capitol Police and the Federal Protective Service to ensure the highest levels of safety and security for the former president, while minimizing disruptions to the normal court process.”

Guglielmi said that he has the "utmost confidence in the dedication and commitment to security shared by all our law enforcement and government partners."

“There may be short term traffic implications,” Guglielmi added.

56d ago / 6:23 PM UTC
56d ago / 5:33 PM UTC

Special counsel asks for conflict of interest hearing in classified documents case

, and

Special counsel Jack Smith has asked Judge Aileen Cannon to schedule a hearing to discuss potential conflicts of interest stemming from defense lawyer Stanley Woodward’s representation of Walt Nauta and various other witnesses in the classified documents case.

Nauta — Trump's personal aide who was indicted alongside the former president in the case involving more than 100 classified documents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago resort — pleaded not guilty in federal court in Florida in July.

Woodward, who entered the plea on behalf of Nauta, declined to comment on Smith's request for the conflict of interest hearing.

Smith’s probe into Trump and his allies’ attempts to overturn the 2020 election had been ramping up when Trump was indicted in June in a separate case in which he was accused of mishandling classified documents.

56d ago / 5:12 PM UTC

John Eastman's legal team says he would decline a plea deal

The legal team for lawyer John Eastman, accused of helping architect the "fake electors scheme," said the former Trump adviser would decline a plea deal if offered one by federal prosecutors.

Eastman's lawyers also claimed the indictment "relies on a misleading presentation of the record to contrive criminal charges against presidential candidate Trump and to cast ominous aspersions on his close advisors."

They pointed to a statement they attributed to former Vice President Mike Pence, claiming "the uninitiated reader of the indictment would have no idea that former Vice President Pence is on record stating that in the 2020 election there were 'significant allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law.'"

"This is but one example of the indictment’s false presentation of the record; countless more will be revealed in time," they wrote.

"With respect to questions as to whether Dr. Eastman is involved in plea bargaining, the answer is no," Eastman's lawyers added. "But if he were invited to plea bargain with either state or federal prosecutors, he would decline. The fact is, if Dr. Eastman is indicted, he will go to trial. If convicted, he will appeal."

56d ago / 4:48 PM UTC
56d ago / 4:27 PM UTC

Biden remains quiet on Trump indictment


President Joe Biden biked past reporters on Wednesday morning on his way back toward his beach home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he is on vacation.

The president waved at the group of reporters but did not respond to any shouted questions on the Trump indictment or the Fitch credit downgrade, choosing to remain quiet on the latest charges plaguing his 2024 rival.

Biden's campaign also declined to comment on the indictment on Tuesday.

56d ago / 4:06 PM UTC

DOJ was authorized to disclose indictment's existence to Trump's lawyers before it was unsealed

The government was authorized to disclose the grand jury's decision to return the indictment to Trump's attorneys, law enforcement and to witnesses and their attorneys before it was unsealed, according to a judge's order.

The order said that the decision and the initial court appearance by Trump on Thursday could be disclosed to those groups before the indictment was unsealed at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The government was allowed to disclose the information to Trump's attorneys to make arrangements for the court appearance, discuss court procedures and scheduling and to make arrangements for producing discovery, the order said.

Prosecutors were also authorized to make the disclosures to local and federal law enforcement to ensure public order and witness security, as well as to witnesses and their attorneys "to protect against harassment and intimidation" and to advance law enforcement and security purposes.

56d ago / 3:54 PM UTC

Analysis: What Trump’s latest indictment tells us about the GOP presidential field

Donald Trump had one job: “faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.” With those words — along with the conditional promise to protect the Constitution “to the best of my ability” — a president’s oath creates a pretty low bar for putting a good-faith effort into leading the country in accordance with its laws.

But once he became a lame duck — a defeated president serving out his remaining days before handing over the keys to the White House — Trump did the exact opposite, prosecutors wrote in a four-count indictment Tuesday.

Now, Trump’s Republican rivals are using the moment to divulge more than ever their views on the powers of the presidency and the courts. And they are demonstrating in vivid fashion that there is an inverse relationship between their willingness to consider the possibility that the prosecution is legitimate and their viability in the GOP primary.

To a Republican base that insists the last election was rigged — and increasingly that such is the case with any Democratic win at any level of politics — the leaders in the field are sending a pretty clear message: Trump’s actions were more just than those of the justice system.

The sentiment will only embolden the segment of the party that believes Republicans should fight until long after the last vote is counted.

Read the full story here.

56d ago / 3:38 PM UTC

White House blames GOP after Fitch downgrades U.S. credit rating

The White House and Biden campaign are pointing fingers at the GOP over Tuesday’s Fitch credit downgrade, the first time in over a decade that the U.S. has faced a downgrade.

Fitch Ratings Agency downgraded the U.S. debt rating from AAA to AA+ after a congressional standoff this year threatened a debt default. Fitch had also pointed to Jan. 6 as a reason for the downgrade, a White House official said.

In a statement, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House “strongly” disagreed with the decision, saying that it “defies reality to downgrade the United States at a moment when President Biden has delivered the strongest recovery of any major economy in the world.”

“And it’s clear that extremism by Republican officials — from cheerleading default, to undermining governance and democracy, to seeking to extend deficit-busting tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations — is a continued threat to our economy,” Jean-Pierre said.

The Biden 2024 campaign took aim directly at former President Donald Trump, twice referring to the downgrade in a statement as a “Trump downgrade."

Read the full story here.

56d ago / 3:02 PM UTC

Trump expected to appear at arraignment in person on Thursday

The special counsel's office is operating under the assumption that Trump will appear in person at his arraignment in Washington on Thursday, an official familiar with the matter told NBC News.

That's despite some chatter about a possible arraignment taking place virtually, as some had occurred via Zoom during the pandemic.

It was announced in the Department of Justice's press release that Trump is expected to appear in person.

56d ago / 2:05 PM UTC

Trump says he has 'never had so much support'

Trump took to Truth Social to thank his followers this morning, saying that he has "never had so much support on anything before."

In his all-caps post, Trump reiterated claims of corruption in the U.S. over the past three years.

"America is a nation in decline, but we will make it great again, greater than ever before," he wrote in all caps. "I love you all!!!"

56d ago / 1:12 PM UTC

Trump lawyer argues for trial to happen after the election

During his "TODAY" interview, John Lauro said he took issue with a trial potentially happening during the 2024 presidential election cycle.

After the indictment was made public yesterday, special counsel Jack Smith said, “My office will seek a speedy trial so that our evidence can be tested in court and judged by a jury of citizens.”

When co-anchor Savannah Guthrie asked about whether the trial should happen before the election, Lauro referred to Smith, saying: “He had three and a half years. Why don’t we make it equal? The bottom line is that they have 60 federal agents working on this, 60 lawyers, all kinds of government personnel, and we get this indictment and they want to go to trial and 90 days. Does that sound like justice to you?”

“Is it justice to force a former president of the United States to trial in 90 days when you’ve had three years?” he asked.

"Well, as you well know, no one can force that, as you pointed out, it is the defendant's right to a speedy trial," Guthrie responded.

Pressed by Guthrie on his allegation that the special counsel was pressing for a speedy trial as a means of disrupting Trump's campaign, Lauro argued: “The election’s going on right now, they want to go to trial so that instead of debating the issues against Joe Biden, that President Trump is sitting in a courtroom — how is that justice? The American people want to talk about the issues. What they don’t want do do is relitigate the 2020 election.”

56d ago / 12:29 PM UTC

Trump lawyer claims indictment is 'criminalizing speech' in combative 'TODAY' interview

John Lauro, Trump's criminal defense attorney, claimed during a combative interview on the “TODAY” show that the former president’s third indictment is the “first time that the First Amendment has been criminalized."

“It’s the first time that a sitting president is attacking a political opponent on First Amendment grounds and basically making it criminal to state your position and to engage in political activity,” Lauro said, prompting pushback from co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.

Guthrie countered that the indictment specifically says Trump has a First Amendment right to speech, pointing out that it said it is “criminalizing conduct, not speech.”

But Lauro doubled down on his argument.

“No, it’s criminalizing speech for this reason: What the president saw in the 2020 election was all these irregularities going on ... He had every right to comment on that and act politically," Lauro said. "In a criminal case, what they would have to show is all of that speech was not entitled to First Amendment protection. They’ll never be able to do it.”

Guthrie emphasized that the indictment says Trump is being charged for his “conduct, using unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results.”

Amid further back-and-forth, Lauro stuck to his argument, saying Trump had taken “action in the political sphere.”

The indictment acknowledges Trump’s right under the First Amendment to “speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won.” The former president was also “entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means, such as by seeking recounts or audits of the popular vote in states or filing lawsuits challenging ballots and procedures.”

56d ago / 11:31 AM UTC

Special counsel charges Trump with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Trump was indicted Tuesday on charges that he conspired to defraud the country that he led and attempted to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden. 

“The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the government function by which those results are collected, counted and certified,” the indictment from Smith’s office says. 

The indictment marks a historic moment for a nation less than 250 years old — the first time a former president has faced criminal charges for trying to overturn the bedrock of democracy: a free and fair election. While Trump’s failure to reverse his defeat was a credit to the guardrails of that democracy, the ability to prosecute him may renew the stress test on the constitutional design.

The allegation that Trump used “dishonesty, fraud, and deceit” to subvert the 2020 election with “pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud” comes after a sprawling investigation that included testimony from dozens of White House aides and advisers ranging in seniority up to former Vice President Mike Pence.

Read the full story here.

56d ago / 11:31 AM UTC

5 things to know about the special counsel’s indictment of Trump

A grand jury in Washington returned a four-count indictment criminally charging Trump with trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election and subvert lawful votes. 

The indictment from Smith is the result of months of investigating Trump. The grand jury heard testimony from allies, aides and officials all the way up to former Vice President Mike Pence.

Although the third indictment of Trump, the new charges are likely to land with a more complicated political thud, marking the first time the U.S. criminal justice system has sought to punish a leader for actions regarding the transfer of power.

Read the full story here.