former President Donald Trump has entered a plea of not guilty to a series of charges related to the events of January 6, 2020, and the 2020 election. The plea was entered during an arraignment held at a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. The charges, which include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights, were brought forward following a grand jury decision earlier this week.
Trump’s legal representative, Alina Habba, addressed the media outside the courthouse, alleging that the Department of Justice was using the case against Trump as a smokescreen to divert attention from unfavorable news about President Joe Biden and his family. Habba claimed that the case represented an unprecedented level of election interference against Trump, who she described as the leading presidential candidate from either party.
In a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump accused Biden and his family of corruption and expressed his outrage at being targeted for arrest for protesting what he termed a “crooked election”. He also criticized the venue and the judge presiding over his case.
This indictment is the third against Trump in a span of four months and comes at a time when he is actively campaigning for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential race. The indictment is also the second one issued by Smith. The first indictment, which is set for trial in Florida, accuses Trump of mishandling classified documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence after his departure from the White House in 2021.
The indictment has been met with strong criticism from Republicans, who view it as a politically motivated move by a partisan Department of Justice. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has described the indictment as an attempt by the DOJ to distract the public and target Trump, who he sees as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. McCarthy has also threatened impeachment proceedings against President Biden over allegations of selling influence to foreign countries through his son, Hunter.
In addition to the charges related to the 2020 election, Trump is also facing a series of trials related to other allegations. These include a trial in New York over alleged hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, a business fraud trial in New York, and a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump is also under investigation in Fulton County, Georgia, over allegations of election tampering. The District Attorney, Fani Willis, is expected to conclude her investigation and seek an indictment against Trump in the coming weeks.