Former President Trump set to be arraigned, after third criminal indictment

Preparations are underway at the federal courthouse in Washington D.C. where former President Donald Trump will make his first court appearance Thursday. On Tuesday, a 45-page indictment was unsealed charging Trump with four counts related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. 

Prosecutors will outline the four conspiracy and obstruction counts in court. "Unprecedented assault on the seat of America democracy," said Jack Smith, special prosecutor appointed by the Justice Department. "As described in the indictment it was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant, targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government." 

Before special counsel Jack Smith filed his charges, the House January 6th select committee spent a year gathering information, interviews, and suggesting charges. "I’m gratified the work the select committee did, was of value," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), a member of the committee. "It’s clear from reading the indictment, the evidence we uncovered was important to putting this case together." 

Trump’s defense team is preparing their defense while blasting the charges. "He’s being indicted for free speech," said John Lauro, attorney for the former president. "He’s being indicted for objecting to the way the 2020 election was carried out."

Trump posted to ‘Truth Social’ saying he’s never had so much support and said this has "awoken the world to the corruption, scandal and failure that has taken place in the United States for the past three years." 

"This is not politics, this is crime," said Lofgren. "I think that the process needs to roll out." 

The latest indictment comes as dates have been set for two other criminal cases which land in the middle of the 2024 election calendar. 

"He faces now 78 felony counts," said David McCuan, political science professor at Sonoma State University.  "He has five trials scheduled so far, over the coming kind of primary period and into the general election period of next year." 

This could mean the leading GOP candidate could be flying between campaign rallies and courthouses. "There is really only one goal: that one goal is to win the White House to eliminate any criminal proceedings, charges against him," said McCuan. 

While many Republicans rally behind Trump, his former vice president continuing to distance himself. "Sadly, the president was surrounded by a group of crackpot lawyers who kept telling him what his itching ears wanted to hear," said Pence. 


Read the full DOJ indictment against former President Donald Trump

Read the full U.S. Department of Justice indictment of former President Donald Trump over the 2020 presidential election that was handed down on Aug. 1.

This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.