The latest news on the arraignment of Donald Trump:
- Former President Donald Trump made an appearance in a Washington, D.C., courtroom to answer charges that he used "unlawful means" in an attempt to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election. He pleaded not guilty.
- The indictment charges Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction; and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.
- Trump appeared before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse. The hearing began at 4:15 p.m. ET and lasted less than 30 minutes. The next court date is Aug. 28.
- Trump also faces charges in a separate case brought by special counsel Jack Smith, in which he has been accused of mishandling the nation's secrets since leaving the White House. In addition, the former president was charged by Manhattan's district attorney earlier this year in connection with hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the cases.
- Read our previous live coverage of Trump indictment news here.
What to know about the Trump ‘fake electors’ scheme in the 2020 election
At the heart of the latest federal indictment of Trump is a scheme to use “fake electors” to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The strategy attempted to find a way to undermine the Electoral College after state officials refused to change the election results.
Here's a look at what happened: Read the full story.
Trump arraignment stands out from previous two court appearances
Unlike his previous two arraignments, in New York and Florida, there were people in the courtroom and the courthouse today who were personally affected by the crimes allegedly committed by Trump.
Police officers who were attacked on Jan. 6 were in attendance, as were journalists who were in the Capitol during the 2021 attack and judges who have tried Jan. 6 cases.
McCarthy grows visibly angry by question about Trump's election claims
House Speaker McCarthy, R-Calif., grew visibly angry today when asked about Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
Speaking to local media in California, McCarthy said that Americans are entitled to raise questions about election results.
“So stop using government to go after people who politically disagree with you. That is wrong and that should stop now,” McCarthy said.
Asked about Trump's arraignment, McCarthy said, "I didn’t see what happened today. I’ve been in meetings all day."
"But the one thing I do know is it really begins to feel like it’s a two-justice system," McCarthy said.
Democratic lawmaker calls Garland 'weak and feckless' in post-arraignment tweet
Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., today thanked former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for establishing the Jan. 6 committee, but in doing so also took a shot at top Justice Department officials.
"If it were up to the weak and feckless Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco then today would have never happened," Boyle said in a tweet referring to the attorney general and deputy attorney general, respectively.
He also thanked the two GOP members of the Jan. 6 committee -- former Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Unusual admonition from the judge
Lawyers who practice frequently in Washington, D.C., including MSNBC contributor Glenn Kirschner, say that most of the conditions of release imposed on Trump by the magistrate judge were standard, including the requirement that he not commit a crime while free.
However, they say that Judge Moxila Upadhyaya did issue a warning to Trump that is not commonly given to defendants at arraignments: “Finally, sir, I want to remind you that it is a crime to try to influence a juror, or to threaten or attempt to bribe a witness or any other person who may have information about your case, or to retaliate against anyone for providing information about your case to the prosecution, or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice.”
Trump attorney blasts special counsel's call for a 'speedy trial'
Trump attorney John Lauro, who was in court today for the arraignment, said this evening that he opposes any effort by the Justice Department to move quickly on the case.
"This is a fast moving railroad without any concern for justice," Lauro said during a Fox News interview with host Laura Ingraham.
"Speedy trial rights, are a defendant's speedy trial rights, a citizen's speedy trial rights, not the government. The government has an obligation to ensure a fair trial," Lauro added.
The comments come after special counsel Jack Smith said earlier this week that his office would seek a “speedy trial,” against the former president. During Trump's arraignment, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Windom told the judge that “this case will benefit from normal order, including a speedy trial."
Lauro also said he opposed comments made by former Attorney General Bill Barr who told CNN on Wednesday that free speech rights don't afford rights to "engage in a fraudulent conspiracy."
"President Trump was out in the open petitioning the state legislatures petitioning the courts," Lauro said. "There was nothing fraudulent going on. This is absolutely protected First Amendment speech."
As Trump went to court, Biden went for a bike ride
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — Almost as soon as Trump was officially hit with a new federal indictment, Biden was ready to go nuclear.
Before he could catch a 6:30 p.m. showing of "Oppenheimer," a blockbuster summer movie about the development of the first atomic bomb, the president and the first lady settled in for a quick early dinner Tuesday night.
As special counsel Jack Smith was addressing the nation, accusing the former president of trying to steal the election from the current president, Biden was seated across from his wife in a booth at a local seafood restaurant waiting for their entrees.
Summer vacations have at times invited unwelcome split screens for Biden and his predecessors, as unforeseen events demand a president’s attention just as they had hoped to step out of the spotlight.
Trump arrives at Bedminster, N.J.
Trump is back at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club after today's arraignment in Washington, D.C.
During the flight back to New Jersey, Trump commented on his arraignment in a fundraising email to supporters, describing himself as "an innocent man." The fundraising email was one of several sent today by his campaign.
Unlike his previous two indictments, Trump is not expected to give remarks this evening.
‘Not a shock’: Trump world shrugs off charges of defrauding America
It was just another Tuesday for Trump.
He golfed at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, chatted with staff and club members there and was relatively nonchalant as he awaited something that is becoming a part of his new reality: being indicted.
Special counsel Jack Smith on Tuesday unsealed an indictment against Trump alleging he tried to undermine democracy by overturning the 2020 election and disenfranchising lawful votes. It is the third indictment Trump is facing and comes after months of investigation that included grand jury testimony from a range of witnesses, including former Vice President Mike Pence.
The scope of this indictment is more sweeping than the others — and, for many of Trump’s critics, more disqualifying. Yet in the short term, it may not have much political impact. Trump remains the overwhelming GOP front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination. He and his inner circle remained calm as an expected announcement approached, in large part because they knew it was coming, according to five Trump advisers and allies NBC News interviewed.
Trump's plane passed the Washington Monument on its approach to Reagan National Airport
Democratic lawmakers react to Trump arraignment
Congressional Democrats largely condemned Trump as he was arraigned today, focusing on both Jan. 6 and previous charges leveled against the former president in court.
Here are some of the early reactions from congressional Democrats:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California: “The courageous Members of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack knew the evidence and they knew the law... The Committee’s patriotic work laid the foundation to this historic moment.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey: “The head of the republican party donald trump was just arrested for a third time and is facing charges of espionage, stealing nuclear secrets, and trying to overthrow democracy and is facing over 600 years in prison.”
Rep. Maxine Waters of California: “The truth about the lies, bullying, distortions, threats, and the involvement of Donald Trump in the January 6 insurrection that took place at our US Capitol are now revealed in the recent grand jury indictment. Next step: his trials must be made public.”
Officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 speak out
Three officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 — D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, former Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn — attended Trump's arraignment and watched from an overflow room.
Gonell told NBC News after the hearing that he hopes former Vice President Mike Pence has the “cajones to speak up” about what he knows. Dunn said the arraignment was a “mile marker” in the process of holding Trump accountable. The hearing “put a smile on my face,” said Hodges.
They agreed Trump’s strategy was “delay, delay, delay.”
Classified documents co-defendant Walt Nauta was with Trump today
The former president's valet Walt Nauta, who was charged as a co-defendant in the Florida classified documents case, was by Trump's side today in Washington, D.C.
Nauta was spotted holding an umbrella for his boss as the former president departed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport after his arraignment.
The moment Trump plead 'not guilty'
No cameras were allowed inside the courtroom, so this sketch captures the moment Trump plead not guilty.
Trump's plane takes off
Trump's plane was wheels up shortly before 5:30 p.m. ET.
Sergeant who defended Capitol on Jan. 6: 'Democracy is worth fighting for'
Former Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell reacted to Trump's arraignment in a statement, saying that democracy was worth fighting for.
"Not prosecuting is far riskier than having no consequences for the alleged power grab attempts," said Gonell, who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6. "Justice and the rule of law must win for our democracy to survive."
Gonell noted that he had given testimony about Jan. 6 in the same court that Trump was arraigned in today.
GOP lawmakers react to Trump arraignment
Republican lawmakers are largely rushing to Trump's defense on the day of his arraignment, arguing that the latest indictment and arraignment is evidence of the Justice Department going after Biden's chief political rival at his behest.
Here are some of the early reactions from congressional Republicans:
House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York: "The unconstitutional and unprecedented arrest of President Donald J. Trump is truly a chilling chapter in Joe Biden's weaponization of the Department of Justice against his leading political opponent."
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina: "Given the public’s declining confidence in the impartiality of the DOJ and concerns over the perception of a two-tiered justice system, Congress must conduct robust oversight of the investigation and the ultimate decision to prosecute President Trump."
Rep. Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee: "I call on Congress to launch a full investigation into the politicization of our government agencies, and for an immediate impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden, who is directly responsible for this despicable witch hunt."
People take photos of Trump Force One at DCA
People waiting at DCA for their own flights are taking photos of Trump's plane ahead of its departure.
In fundraising email, Eric Trump says his dad was arraigned 'in the belly of the beast'
Former President Trump's son, Eric Trump, sent a fundraising email just minutes after his father left Washington, D.C., where he was arraigned in his third indictment.
Eric Trump called the nations's capital "the belly of the beast," adding that his father's only crime was casting "out the globalists and communists in our government."
Trump reiterates claims of political persecution before getting on plane
Trump delivered brief remarks to reporters shortly before boarding his plane at DCA, calling today a "very sad day for America" and reiterating claims of political persecution.
"If you can't beat him, you persecute him or you prosecute him," Trump said.
He also criticized Washington, D.C., for "decay and all of the broken buildings and walls and the graffiti."
"This is not the place that I left," he said.
He held an umbrella as it rained during his remarks.
The three criminal cases against Trump explained
Trump arrives at Reagan National Airport after arraignment
Trump's motorcade arrived at Reagan National Airport shortly after 5 p.m., a little more than 10 minutes after leaving the courthouse.
He is expected to speak to reporters before boarding his plane.
Other federal judges sat in the courtroom for Trump's appearance
Multiple federal judges who serve on the District Court for the District of Columbia attended Trump's arrangement today, though they are not involved in the case. Among them were Chief Judge James Boasberg, Judge Amy Berman Jackson and Judge Randy Moss.
Their appearance was first reported by Politico.
Haley makes first remarks on new Trump indictment, urges country to 'move on'
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration, commented publicly for the first time today on Trump's third indictment.
In remarks on the "Good Morning New Hampshire" radio show, the 2024 GOP presidential candidate told host Jack Heath that she is tired of commenting on dramas surrounding Trump.
“Unlike the other candidates, I didn’t rush out with a statement yesterday on Trump’s indictment for one simple reason: Like most Americans, I’m tired of commenting on every Trump drama," Haley said. "I’ve lost track of whether this indictment is the third or fourth or the fifth."
"We should be focusing on how to stop China. We should be focusing on how to close the border. We need to be reversing Bidenomics," Haley continued. "Putting a 77-year-old former president in prison doesn’t do any of that. We’ve got to move on already.”
Haley said that while Trump "bears some responsibility for what happened" on Jan. 6, he "did not attack the Capitol."
"It’s not a crime to say you think an election was stolen. He should not be prosecuted for that," Haley said of Trump.
Trump to speak to reporters soon
The former president is expected to speak to reporters gathered at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport soon before boarding his plane.
Trump motorcade leaves courthouse en route to airport
Trump's motorcade left the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., shortly before 4:50 p.m.
The court hearing ended at 4:40 p.m.
Arraignment hearing is over, Trump leaves courtroom
The hearing ended at 4:40 p.m., after starting at 4:15 p.m.
Trump exited the courtroom with his lawyers moments later.
Trump attorney asks for more time
Trump lawyer John Lauro approached the bench, saying to the judge that there may be a “massive amount of discovery information." Lauro says that they need an understanding from the government of the amount of discovery they can expect in the case, asking about its "magnitude."
“There’s no question in our mind your honor that Mr. Trump is entitled to a fair and just trial," Lauro said, acknowledging the right to a speedy trial.
“The government is prepared, as soon as a protective order is entered into this case, to present a substantial amount of discovery," including things they are not required to turn over, Smith's team said.
“This case will benefit from normal order, including a speedy trial," argued Assistant U.S. Attorney John Windom.
Lauro countered that it was "somewhat absurd" for Trump to be “tried” during the time frame of the Speedy Trial Act because of the amount of evidence they have to go through. Lauro is asking the judge “for a little time” in order to fairly defend Trump.
The government has been ordered to file a submission in seven days estimating their schedule and when a trial should be set. The defense will be required to respond in their own submission within five days.
Who is Tanya Chutkan, the judge assigned to Trump’s election case?
Judge Moxila Upadhyaya referred Trump's case to U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan during his arraignment. She will preside over the former president's latest indictment, and is no stranger to federal cases related to Jan. 6.
Chutkan, an Obama appointee who has served on the bench for nearly a decade, quickly established a reputation for imposing some of the toughest penalties on rioters who participated in the 2021 attack on the Capitol.
She is also the only federal judge in Washington, D.C., who has handed down sentences to Jan. 6 defendants that are longer than the government had requested.
First hearing in Trump case scheduled for Aug. 28
The judge set the first hearing date in the case for Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.
The judge had presented three dates to prosecutors and the defense: Aug. 21, Aug. 22 and Aug. 28.
Prosecutors requested Aug. 21, while the defense requested Aug. 28.
Trump can waive his appearance at the next hearing.
Trump is told the conditions of his release
Trump is told he is being released on several conditions, including that he not commit a crime.
“Mr. Trump, I ask that you please listen carefully” to the conditions of release, Judge Upadhyaya said before listing the conditions, noting that failure to comply could result in a warrant for Trump's arrest.
“You have heard your conditions of release," the judge then said, adding that Trump, "may be held pending trial in this case” if he violates them.
Upadhyaya asked Trump if he understood the conditions and the penalties for violating them, and Trump nodded slightly and responded off mic that he did. He then signed paperwork at the defense table.
Judge warns Trump not to talk to witnesses without lawyers present
In discussing the conditions of Trump's release, Judge Upadhyaya warned him against discussing the cases with any witnesses.
"The defendant must not communicate about the facts of the case to individuals known to be a witness except through counsel or in the presence of counsel," she said.
Trump pleads not guilty
After the judge said she will now arraign Trump, the former president entered a plea of not guilty to all counts while standing at the defense table.
Judge tells Trump he has rights
Judge Upadhyaya tells Trump he has rights: You have the right to remain silent. That means you are not required to give any statement to law enforcement while charges are pending against you.
Trump says he understands that he has these rights.
Trump speaks in court
The judge asked Trump to state his full name for the record.
"Donald J. Trump, John," the former president responded.
He also said he is 77 years old and that he has not taken any medication in the past 24 hours that would make it difficult to participate in today's proceedings.
Judge reads the charges against Trump
Judge Upadhyaya is now reading aloud each count against Trump, saying she wants to give Trump a “general roadmap” of the case, including the charges against him.
Trump is leaning forward in his chair looking at the judge as she reads aloud each charge.
Awkward as Trump and Smith teams face each other down
Today's hearing is in a smaller, ceremonial courtroom where audio can be piped out to reporters and the public watching from various overflow rooms.
As a result, Trump and his defense lawyers are facing Smith's team directly. It's very stark seeing the former president sit directly across from the people charging him, rather than the judge. At one point, he appeared to be staring down one of the prosecutors.
Earlier, as Trump entered the courtroom, Smith stared straight ahead and did not look in Trump’s direction. He was probably the only person in the room not to have looked. Later, though, he did seem to look in Trump’s direction for a good bit.
After the hearing began, Trump swiveled his chair to face the judge.
Trump campaign posts photo saying 'they're after you'
The Trump campaign posted a photo of the former president on social media while he was inside the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., for his arraignment.
The caption reads: "In reality ... they're not after me ... they're after you."
"I'm just in the way," the caption concludes.
Judge enters courtroom
Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya has entered the courtroom to begin the hearing.
Mike Pence rakes in donations after Trump indictment
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s 2024 campaign said it received over 7,400 donations Wednesday, the day after former President Donald Trump was indicted on federal charges of trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Pence, who is closing in on the donor threshold to qualify for the first GOP debate, testified in the investigation under subpoena, and the indictment cited Pence’s “contemporaneous notes” about meetings and conversations he had with Trump leading up to Jan. 6. The Pence campaign has turned Trump's comment that he was "too honest" into merch for donors.
The Hill first reported Pence's surge of donations.
Texas man who the FBI says was armed during Capitol attack indicted
A Texas man who federal authorities say was armed when he took part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has been indicted.
Mario Mares of Ballinger, Texas, faces four charges, including one alleging he was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun when he was unlawfully at the U.S. Capitol.
We're still waiting for the judge to arrive, Trump appears impatient
We are still waiting for Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya to take the bench.
As Trump sits at the defense table, waiting for the proceeding to begin, a number of U.S. marshals are guarding the door inside the courtroom. Trump has been chatting mostly with Blanche.
Nearly 20 minutes after he arrived in the courtroom, Trump is tapping his hands on the table, appearing a little impatient.
Trump signing document in courtroom
Following the huddle between the two sides, Trump signed a piece of paper handed to him by defense attorney John Lauro.
Both sides have now returned to their respective tables where they appear to be waiting for the judge to enter.
Trump continues to talk to his lawyers with his hands clasped in front of him.
Special counsel Jack Smith, in the front row, appears to be leaning back to talk to someone behind him. Smith’s spokesman Peter Carr is seated in the row behind Smith.
Trump and Jack Smith teams are facing each other
Because of the layout of the tables, lawyers from the government and the defense team are sitting directly across the room facing each other. This includes Trump, who is sitting not 10 feet away from Smith and facing in his direction.
Trump lawyer John Lauro huddles with prosecutor Thomas Windom
Trump lawyer John Lauro is currently huddling with prosecutor Thomas Windom and they appear to be reviewing paperwork.
Trump remains at the defense table chatting with his other lawyer, Todd Blanche.
The judge has not yet entered the courtroom.
Four or five Secret Service agents are huddled near the door where Trump entered, which is to the left of the bench, about 10 feet away from Trump.
Trump attorney Alina Habba slams indictment outside courthouse
Outside the courthouse where Trump is being arraigned, Alina Habba, legal spokesperson for Save America PAC, condemned the indictment, alleging that it is "election interference" against a presidential candidate.
"President Trump is under siege in a way that we have never seen before," she told reporters. "President Trump and his legal team and everyone on his team will continue to fight."
Trump has entered the courtroom
Trump entered the courtroom at 3:51 p.m. ET.
He walked in slowly flanked by his lawyers Todd Blanche and John F. Lauro. Trump sat at the defense table, with Blanche on one side and Lauro on the other.
The former president is seated with his hands clasped and whispered back and forth with Blanche.
Three officers who served on Jan. 6 are watching Trump hearing in a courtroom overflow
Three officers who served Jan. 6 — MPD Officer Daniel Hodges, former Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonnell and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn — are watching Trump's arraignment from an overflow room at the courthouse.
They were escorted in by the marshals service.
Man who ran in front of Trump's Miami motorcade spotted outside courthouse
Domenic Santana, who ran in front of Trump's motorcade and was arrested when the former president was previously arraigned in Miami, is in Washington today to witness Trump's arraignment. Santana, of Miami, was spotted outside the courthouse today holding up a sign that read, “Lock Him Up."
Smith has arrived in the courtroom
The special counsel has entered the courtroom flanked by security guards.
Smith sat in the front row, behind the table where his prosecutors are sitting.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Windom and Molly Gaston have just sat down at the government table.
As of 3:48 p.m. ET, the defense’s table remains empty. Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran is in the courtroom, sitting behind the defense table in the front row. While Corcoran has represented Trump in various legal matters over the past year, it is currently unclear if he is representing Trump in this case. He has not entered a motion to appear.
Ex-Trump lawyer Ty Cobb says former president 'is toast'
Ty Cobb, who represented then-President Trump in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election, said in response to the former president's third indictment that he thinks Trump is “toast.”
“[O]n the state of mind issues above, there will be evidence from more than one or two witnesses that Trump acknowledged that he lost,” Cobb wrote in a Facebook post yesterday, referring to Trump’s third indictment.
“That is just the cherry on top of a mountain of evidence that would satisfy the ‘reckless disregard’ or ‘should have known’ standards that are alternatives to proving actual knowledge,” he added. “He knew. He is toast. DC jury: He is done. Until he wins the election and the fun begins all over.”
Cobb served in the Trump White House in 2017 and 2018, where he led the internal response to the Mueller probe. Mueller ended his investigation without charging Trump with obstruction of justice, saying that was because of Justice Department guidelines barring a sitting president from being indicted.
Although Trump expressed “full confidence” in Cobb a few weeks before his departure in 2018, Cobb has since distanced himself from the former president. Asked by NBC News last year about the prospect of another Trump presidential bid, months before the former president officially announced his campaign, Cobb said he “is a disaster for the Republican Party" and that "the Big Lie has been good only for Trump," referring to the former president's baseless claims of election fraud.
“It should be disqualifying for Trump and his political acolytes, and would have been at any other time in our history. To modify a well known Seinfeld quote—SANITY NOW!,” he said.
Marshals stand by as we await Trump arrival in the courtroom
Three people wearing U.S. Marshals windbreaker jackets are monitoring the entrance inside the courtroom.
Here are the Trump advisers who accompanied him to D.C.
The people who traveled with Trump to Washington, D.C., included Alina Habba, who is general counsel and a spokesperson for the Save America PAC, and top campaign advisers Susie Wiles, Chris LaCivita, Jason Miller and Steven Cheung.
Political and legal adviser Boris Epshteyn was also on the plane with Trump to Reagan National Airport.
Trump did not make any remarks at the airport.
An eery quiet inside the Prettyman courthouse
Inside the Prettyman federal courthouse, there's an intense security situation, and court staff is not allowing reporters to congregate in the foyer, where journalists have been staking out the Trump grand jury for months.
There are plenty of courtrooms open for the public to watch, where they can see the proceedings on closed circuit television, but the rooms are sparsely filled. Much of the public, it seemed, didn't realize that watching a live stream inside the courthouse was an option. Among those watching: Nicole Reffitt, the wife of Guy Reffitt, who was the first Jan. 6 defendant convicted at trial.
Case unsealed against yet another Jan. 6 defendant
A criminal case against yet another Jan. 6 defendant has been unsealed as Trump arrives at the courthouse. Anna Lichnowski of New Jersey was charged with four misdemeanor counts.
"I was with the group that f---ing stormed the capital," Lichnowski allegedly wrote, misspelling "Capitol." She added that she was "proud of it.”
About 1,100 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and online sleuths have identified hundreds of additional participants who have not yet been arrested.
Willis says special counsel indictment won't affect her charging decisions
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis says she has read the Smith indictment and it won’t affect any charges she could seek in Georgia.
She would not comment on the investigation in detail, but she reiterated the need for the investigation despite the other three indictments against Trump.
“I took an oath and that the oath requires that I follow the law, that if someone broke the law in Fulton County, Georgia, that I have a duty to prosecute, and that’s exactly what I plan to do,” Willis said.
She also described some of the threats and hateful messages she has received. “I’ve probably been called the N-word more times in the last 2½ years than 100 people combined,” she said.
The special grand jury report, most of which has been kept private, could be released this fall, Willis predicted. She said that decision was up to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney and did not answer when asked if she would oppose the report's release.
She argued this spring in court that the report should remain sealed until charging decisions are made. Willis is expected to announce those decisions in the next few weeks, but declined to answer when asked when she might present that case to a grand jury.
Todd Blanche will represent Trump during court appearance
Todd Blanche, an attorney for Trump, has notified the court that he will appear and represent the former president in this case.
Sources previously told NBC News that Blanche had met with prosecutors from the special counsel's office last week, days before Trump was indicted.
The charges against Trump and their maximum sentences
The former president faces 78 felony charges across three criminal cases. However, it is unlikely Trump will receive the maximum sentence for any charge and it is highly likely that he'd serve multiple sentences at the same time.
Here are the charges against the former president in each case and their maximum sentences:
- Two counts of obstructing an official proceeding, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
- 1 count of conspiracy against the right to vote, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
- 1 count of defrauding the U.S., carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.
- 32 counts of willful retention of national secrets, each carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
- 6 counts of obstruction of justice, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
- 2 counts of false statements, each carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
- 34 counts of falsifying business records, each carrying a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
Trump arrives at courthouse
Trump arrived at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse.
He is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya at around 4 p.m. ET.
Capitol Police started planning for possible Trump indictment weeks ago
Top officials at the U.S. Capitol Police began having meetings weeks ago about the possibility of a Trump indictment and what it would mean for security.
“It is part of the new way the USCP plans early for the possibility of anything significant near Capitol Hill,” a spokesperson said yesterday.
Special counsel's motorcade en route to courthouse
Special counsel Jack Smith's motorcade left his office in D.C. around 2:45 p.m. and is expected to arrive at the courthouse within minutes.
Trump spotted exiting plane
Trump exited the plane, appearing to mouth "thank you" to someone.
He entered a car and his motorcade departed just after 3 p.m. ET.
A first glimpse inside the courtroom where Trump will be arraigned
The courtroom where Trump will be arraigned features four rows of seating, with pews on either side of the doorway.
Facing the judge, federal prosecutors will be seated at the table to the right, and the defense will be seated on the left side.
Journalists, including NBC's Garrett Haake, are currently seated in the back two rows, closest to the door. He is among only 11 reporters with access to the courtroom, which was determined by lottery.
Unidentifiable men and women in suits are seated in the front row.
A man wearing a U.S. Marshals Service jacket is standing in the courtroom.
Trump's plane lands at DCA
Trump's plane landed at Reagan National Airport (DCA) moments ago.
His flight took less than an hour.
5 key things in the special counsel’s indictment
The four-count indictment criminally charging Trump with trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election and subvert lawful votes is the result of months of investigating Trump, including 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.
Pa. Trump elector slams indictment, highlights caveat language in his state
On the day Trump is to report to federal court, one of the people who served as an elector for him in Pennsylvania said he never would have signed certification purporting he was an elector without caveat language that his slate would only go into effect if the state’s election results were overturned.
The so-called fake electors in five other states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin — did sign certification without such caveat language. Federal authorities charged that Trump was the head of a scheme that attempted to overturn the 2020 election and the Trump elector plan was a central part of the indictment.
“I would not have signed any documents if it weren’t for that language,” Pennsylvania Trump elector Charlie Gerow told NBC News today. “In my judgment, that would have been over the line. I would not have to hold myself forth in such a way.”
Central to the plan, authorities say, were slates of pro-Trump electors in seven states that Joe Biden won. In most of the states, these Republicans signed certification purporting to be the rightful electors and that their votes should count, even though Trump had lost in their states. Many of these electors have been subpoenaed and at least four have been called to the special grand jury, NBC News has previously reported.
But electors in both Pennsylvania and New Mexico inserted special language before signing their certificates, noting their votes were to be counted only if the election results in their states were overturned. According to the indictment, “A Campaign official cautioned not to offer the conditional language to other states because ‘[t]he other States are signing what he prepared — if it gets out we changed the language for PA it could snowball.’”
Despite highlighting the importance of that caveat language, Gerow still has significant issues with the latest indictment against Trump.
“It’s another imaginative writing of an indictment,” he said. “It’s an affront on the First Amendment. It should frighten every American regardless of their political persuasion. I see these continued specious criminal charges as an affront to democracy.”
Trump's plane takes off
Trump's plane took off moments ago from Newark, New Jersey.
He's en route to Reagan National Airport in Washington.
Graham says 'any conviction in D.C. against Donald Trump is not legitimate'
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top Trump ally, said that “any conviction in D.C. against Donald Trump is not legitimate” during an interview on Fox News last night in response to the former president’s third indictment.
“They’re trying to criminalize the attorney-client relationship. They’re trying to criminalize exercising of the First Amendment,” Graham told host Sean Hannity.
Graham went on to claim that “the judge in this case hates Trump,” even leveling that “you could convict Trump of kidnapping Lindbergh’s baby in D.C.,” referring to the kidnapping of the infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1932.
Graham, who criticized the Justice Department for what he labeled a “double standard,” called for a change of venue in the case and a new judge. Graham also stressed that “we need to win in 2024 to stop this crazy crap” and predicted that Trump will win the Republican nomination and become the next president in 2024.
“So if you’re sitting at home and you’re mad, you have a right to be mad,” he said. “When it comes to Donald Trump, there are no rules — destroy him, destroy his family. When it comes to Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, they get away with almost everything. If you want to change that, we better win in 2024.”
Graham’s remarks echo Trump and his lawyer’s arguments that the former president’s third indictment attacks his First Amendment right, as well as their calls to move the venue of the trial out of D.C.
Trump departs Bedminster golf club for Washington
Shortly after 1 p.m., Trump left his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to travel to his arraignment in D.C.
His motorcade is heading toward Newark Liberty International Airport, where the former president will board a plane to Washington.
Officers who defended Capitol on Jan. 6 will try to attend Trump arraignment
A few of the officers who responded to the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, hope to attend the first hearing in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against Trump on Thursday, they told NBC News.
This afternoon, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges and former USCP Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who resigned after the riot, will head to the D.C. courthouse, where Trump will be arraigned on four felony charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
All three officers suffered physical injuries during the attack on the Capitol, as well as emotional and mental trauma following the riot. Over the span of a year and a half, the officers attended each congressional hearing by the former House committee investigating Jan. 6. They have also testified against some of those charged by the Justice Department for participating in the riot.
“When I first testified before the Jan 6th committee, I was seeking justice and accountability for everyone responsible for that day,” Dunn wrote in a text. “Just as I’ve attended every hearing and court case possible, this one isn’t any different.”
A line that formed overnight outside the D.C. courthouse continued to grow into the morning, with just five seats available to the public on a lottery-based system. Dunn said the officers have been in touch with the Court Marshal and Justice Department officials to gain entry, but are hoping to attend as public citizens. It’s not clear whether they'll be able to get inside due to significant public interest and limited space, but there are some overflow seats outside of the main courtroom.
“There hasn’t really been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about it. Partially because I pay attention to the news, and how it’s continuing to impact current events,” Hodges, who was injured after being crushed by a rioter between a stolen police shield and Capitol door frame on Jan 6., told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday.
"And partially because of just how burned in my memory it is. So the trial is definitely going to bring some of that up for people. But it's necessary," he added.
Trump's trial has a witness and evidence list like no other
The trial for the United States v. Donald J. Trump initially appears to have a witness and evidence list unlike any other in U.S. history, an analysis of the indictment shows.
The indictment indicates that the special counsel’s office has gathered the contemporaneous notes of former Vice President Mike Pence, e-mails from senior Justice Department employees, and fake elector ballots.
The indictment also appears to rely on the testimony of Pence, former Attorney General William Barr, former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, and former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, as well as on statements from numerous state elected officials describing efforts by then-President Trump or his lawyers to help turn the election in his favor. Any of those individuals could be called at trial as fact witnesses to give firsthand accounts what the president said or did or what the co-conspirators said or did, legal experts say.
The indictment also refers to a memo that then-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark allegedly wanted to send to specific states telling them that there was election fraud and that the states needed to examine their results. It mentions fake elector ballots signed by individuals selected to vote for Trump and what is alleged to have been an effort to replace the valid state electors voting for Biden with Trump votes in the Han. 6 certification of the election.
The indictment also refers to the contemporaneous notes of Pence and his meetings about his role on Jan. 6, the now well-known recorded phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, and numerous public statements by Trump, his attorneys and state officials — all of which, again, could be submitted as evidence at trial, legal experts say.
The courthouse lies in the shadow of the Capitol
The courthouse where Trump will be arraigned today is truly in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. It's just three-tenths of a mile from the courthouse to the Peace Monument at the front of the building that Trump's supporters mobbed on Jan. 6.
Trump says he is going to D.C. to be arrested and needs 'one more indictment to ensure my election'
Trump took to Truth Social to post in all caps that he needs "one more indictment to ensure" his election.
Minutes later he posted again saying that he was now going to D.C. to be arrested.
"It is a great honor, because I am being arrested for you," he wrote in all caps.
The posts come as Trump lawyer John Lauro provided notice that he will appear on the former president's behalf in the case.
Pence selling swag quoting the indictment
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s presidential campaign is now selling shirts and hats that play up Pence’s decision to not go along with a plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election, quoting a piece of the indictment against former President Donald Trump.
The new merchandise, which hit the campaign’s online store Thursday, plays up a section of the indictment in which Pence allegedly called Trump on New Year’s Day 2021.
The indictment claims Trump responded to Pence, "You’re too honest," when he said he didn't believe he had the right to reject the Electoral College count.
Now the Pence campaign is selling hats and T-shirts that say: "Too Honest."
Who is Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya, the judge presiding over Trump’s arraignment today?
Trump will appear before Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya in court today.
Upadhyaya, born in India and later raised in Missouri, was appointed to the D.C. District court in 2022, according to her court biography, and she has heard cases concerning disability benefits and Social Security, among others. Before joining the bench, Upadhyaya practiced commercial and administrative law at Venable LLP, a large corporate law firm, where she became a partner.
In her practice, she primarily focused on “complex commercial disputes,” according to the firm’s website, and her clients included private universities and hospital systems. Upadhyaya’s work with another Venable attorney to try to free prisoners who claim their innocence helped earn the firm the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project’s Defender of Innocence Award in 2009.
Upadhyaya previously clerked for the D.C. Court of Appeals and later for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she now presides, and studied law at American University, according to her official bio.
Will Hurd: 'All of this could have been avoided'
Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd, a frequent critic of Trump, said in an interview with NBC News today that the American people "should all be saddened" that Trump will be arraigned again today, adding that "all of this could have been avoided."
"When you lose an election, and everybody tells you you lost, then you do the thing that all American presidents have done and welcome a peaceful transfer of power. You don’t try to lie about that and influence states and influence your own departments in order to change the election," Hurd said.
Hurd, a former congressman from Texas and former CIA agent, also blasted Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents — the subject of a separate indictment from the special counsel — saying that "when you're told you have classified documents, give them back."
Hurd added, "If he didn’t do any of these things, we wouldn’t be in this position, right?"
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy appears outside courthouse, demands 'the truth'
Vivek Ramaswamy, a candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, posted a video of himself this morning outside the federal courthouse where Trump's arraignment will be held.
He demanded to know "the truth" about what's driving prosecutions of Trump. Ramaswamy said that he sued the Department of Justice this week to find out if Biden spoke to Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Trump case and what Garland told special counsel Jack Smith.
There's no evidence that Biden spoke to Garland about the case. The president has said he maintains independence from the Justice Department.
Chris Christie says he was questioned in Trump investigation
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, revealed that he was interviewed in one of the Trump investigations about six-to-eight weeks ago.
"They were trying to get a handle on what I knew about his knowledge of the reality of the election results," he said on an episode of “On With Kara Swisher,” released Thursday.
Biden stays mum on Trump indictment
The president, on a bike ride during his vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Thursday morning, ignored shouted questions from reporters on Trump's indictment and upcoming arraignment in Washington.
Biden's campaign has also declined to comment on the recent indictment.
D.C. prepares for Trump’s court appearance
Former AG Bill Barr says Trump 'knew well he lost the election'
Former Attorney General Bill Barr said he believes Trump “knew well he lost the election” in an interview with CNN last night, a day before the former president’s arraignment.
“At first I wasn’t sure, but I have come to believe he knew well he had lost the election,” Barr said.
Barr also dismissed an argument put forth by Trump lawyer John Lauro, who said on NBC's "TODAY" show that the former president’s third indictment is the “first time that the First Amendment has been criminalized.”
“As the indictment says, they are not attacking his First Amendment right," Barr said. "He can say whatever he wants, he can even lie. He can even tell people that the election was stolen when he knew better. But that does not protect you from entering into a conspiracy.”
Barr broke with Trump after the 2020 election when he made public remarks saying the Justice Department had not found evidence to support the then-president’s claims of widespread election fraud. Barr resigned as Trump’s attorney general soon after and has emerged as a vocal critic of Trump.
Trump urges that his trial be moved out of D.C.
On the eve of his arraignment, Trump said he hopes that his trial on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election results will be moved to an "impartial" venue and suggested West Virginia.
“The latest Fake ‘case’ brought by Crooked Joe Biden & Deranged Jack Smith will hopefully be moved to an impartial Venue, such as the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia!” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post last night. “IMPOSSIBLE to get a fair trial in Washington, D.C., which is over 95% anti-Trump, & for which I have called for a Federal TAKEOVER in order to bring our Capital back to Greatness. It is now a high crime embarrassment to our Nation and, indeed, the World. This Indictment is all about Election Interference!!!”
Trump’s post came hours after his lawyer John Lauro suggested he was seeking a change of venue for the trial in an interview with CBS yesterday.
“Absolutely. There are other options. West Virginia is close by,” Lauro said when asked whether he would seek a venue change.
Lauro added that he thinks West Virginia is “more diverse” than Washington, “which I think is 95% for Mr. Biden.”
“The bottom line is the president, like everyone sitting in this room, is entitled to a fair trial, and we’re going to get that,” he said.
Trump clings to false election fraud narrative while knocking former VP Pence
Trump isn’t backing down from his baseless claims of election fraud as he launched more jabs at his former VP Mike Pence, a Republican presidential candidate, in the hours leading up to his arraignment.
“I feel badly for Mike Pence, who is attracting no crowds, enthusiasm, or loyalty from people who, as a member of the Trump Administration, should be loving him,” Trump said in a Truth Social post yesterday. “He didn’t fight against Election Fraud, which we will now be easily able to prove based on the most recent Fake Indictment & information which will have to be made available to us, finally — a really BIG deal. The V.P. had power that Mike didn’t understand, but after the Election, the RINOS & Dems changed the law, taking that power away!”
Pence broke with Trump after he refused to go along with his demands to block the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. Some Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol that day were overheard chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.”
Pence has since publicly excoriated Trump over his baseless claims of election fraud. In remarks to reporters at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis on Wednesday, he 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.”
Trump will not have a mugshot taken today
The former president will undergo digital fingerprinting as part of the booking process at the courthouse today, but no mugshot will be taken; the court will use an existing photo of Trump in its place, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson said.
However, should Trump be charged in a separate election probe in Fulton County, Georgia, the sheriff there, Patrick Labat said the former president will receive the same treatment as any other person accused of a crime, including a mugshot.
"Unless somebody tells me differently, we are following our normal practices, and so it doesn’t matter your status, we’ll have a mugshot ready for you," he said.
Courthouse security is intense ahead of Trump's arraignment
Security at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse is incredibly tight on a normal day, with security officers regularly reminding folks as they come in that it’s just like a Transportation Security Administration line at an airport: jackets off, belts off, electronics removed.
But today, security measures both seen and unseen around the courthouse have reached a level longtime court observers have not seen. Bike racks surround the front of the courthouse, the main hallway of the courthouse is swarming with heavily armed U.S. Marshals with long guns, and officers manning the security screening are, as ever, asking for jackets off, belts off and electronics removed.
As the world’s media awaits Trump’s arraignment from outside, court security and various agencies are preparing inside.
D.C. police anticipate street closures and urge public to 'remain vigilant'
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said yesterday that there would be rolling street closures that would disrupt traffic during Trump's arraignment and that it was working with federal law enforcement agencies to ensure the public's safety.
The department "is working closely with the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police, the Federal Protective Service, and other agencies to ensure safety and security surrounding Thursday’s court appearance by the former president," a department spokesperson said in a statement.
"There are parking restrictions in the immediate blocks surrounding the federal courthouse," the statement noted. "Please be aware of posted Emergency No Parking signs in the area and monitor @DCPoliceTraffic for the latest on road closures and traffic delays."
"MPD encourages the public to remain vigilant, if you see something, say something," the statement said. "Please report immediate suspicious activity by calling 911."
Trump to appear in federal court to face 2020 election charges
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Thursday afternoon to answer charges that he used “unlawful means" in an attempt to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election and hold on to power.
Trump will be arraigned on an indictment charging him with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction; and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.
Many historic firsts have already been notched. This will be the third time Trump will be arraigned on criminal charges — and the third time a former president will face charges.