Former President Donald J. Trump has been informed that he could soon face federal indictment over his efforts to hold on to power after his 2020 election loss, potentially adding to the remarkable array of criminal charges and other legal problems facing him even as he campaigns for a comeback. to the White House.

Mr. Trump was informed by his lawyers on Sunday that he had received a so-called target letter from Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating his attempts to reverse his defeat at the polls, Mr. Trump and others familiar with the matter said. tuesday Prosecutors use letters of intent to tell potential defendants that investigators have evidence linking them to crimes and that they could be subject to indictment.

“Deranged Jack Smith” sent Mr. Trump a letter on Sunday night informing him that he was a “TARGET of the Jan. 6 Grand Jury” investigation, Mr. Trump said in a post on his social media platform.

Such a letter “almost always means Arrest and Impeachment,” wrote Mr. Trump, whose campaign is rooted in accusations of political persecution and a promise to purge the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation of personnel he views as hostile to him and his. agenda

Mr. Smith’s spokesman had no comment.

Mr. Trump’s indictment would be the second brought by Mr. Smith, who is also suing the former president for endangering national security secrets by taking classified documents from the White House and for obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve the material.

Mr. Trump is also indicted in Manhattan on charges related to hush money payments to a porn star before the 2016 election. And he faces the possibility of charges from the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., who has conducted an extensive investigation into Mr. Trump to reverse his 2020 electoral loss in that state.

It is not clear what specific charges Mr. Smith and his prosecutors might be considering, but they appear to have gathered evidence of a set of tactics that Mr. Trump and his allies used to try to prevent his election defeat.

Those efforts included compiling slates of so-called fake electors from swing states that Mr. Trump lost; pressuring state officials to block or delay the victories of Joseph R. Biden Jr.; seeking to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to prevent congressional certification of the Electoral College result; raising money based on false claims of election fraud; and gather supporters to come to Washington and march on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

It also remains unknown whether others could be charged alongside Mr Trump. Several of his closest allies during his efforts to stay in office, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as his personal lawyer, and John Eastman, who promoted the idea that Mr. Pence could prevent Congress from certifying the victory of S Mr. Biden said. through their lawyers that they have not received letters of intent.

Just hours after Mr. Trump disclosed his receipt of the targeting letter, the Michigan attorney general announced criminal state charges against 16 people for their involvement in an attempt to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in the state by convening a list of pro-Trump voters. .

The news of another possible indictment of Mr. Trump underscored the stakes of an intensifying legal and political battle whose ramifications are both incalculable and unpredictable.

Mr. Trump remains the reigning front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, despite — or to some extent because of — the growing list of allegations and potential charges against him.

His campaign strategy was to accept the investigations as evidence of a conspiracy by a Democratic administration to deny him and his supporters victory in 2024, a message that continues to resonate with his followers. He collected money from news of the target letter within hours of revealing he had received it.

But for Mr. Trump, the stakes are deeply personal, given the serious threat that he could face prison time if convicted in one or more of the cases. In that sense, a winning campaign — and the power to drop at least the federal cases by pardoning himself or directing his Justice Department to dismiss them — is also a fight for his freedom.

At a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, hosted by Fox News on Tuesday night, the host, Sean Hannity, asked Mr. Trump how he seemed unfazed by the investigations. But Mr. Trump pushed back.

“It bothers me,” Mr. Trump said. He accused the Biden administration of trying to intimidate him, but said, “They’re not intimidating us.”

Mr. Trump spent much of Tuesday promoting a scorched-earth policy strategy, consulting with allies in Washington including Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Representative Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican and onetime critic who has become one of his staunchest defenders. Mr. Trump urged Ms. Stefanik to go “on offense” during a long call from his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

His current main rival for the Republican nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, said Mr. Trump was a victim of the “politicization” of the Justice Department, continuing a pattern in which prominent figures in his party remain reluctant to criticize him. and drawing the ire of his supporters.

At least two grand juries in Washington have heard matters related to Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in office. A trial, if it comes to that, would likely take place in Federal District Court in Washington, where many of the January 6 rioters and leaders of two far-right groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, were prosecuted.

Based on the results of those trials, the jury pool in Washington would likely be less favorable to the former president than the one drawn from the largely pro-Trump region around Fort Pierce, Fla., where the classified documents trial is currently underway. scheduled to happen

Two of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Todd Blanche and Christopher M. Kise, briefly mentioned the new target letter at a pretrial hearing in Florida on Tuesday in the documents case. While Mr. Kise and Mr. Blanche did not elaborate on what the letter said, they used it to argue that Mr. Trump was essentially under siege by prosecutors and that the trial in the classified documents case should be delayed. until after the 2024 election.

In announcing that he had received the target letter, Mr. Trump said he had been given four days to testify before a grand jury if he wanted to. He is expected to decline. The timetable suggested by the letter suggests he will not be charged this week, according to people familiar with the situation.

Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., who has moved forward with her own investigation into Mr. Trump and his allies, could file charges as early as next month. If she had proceeded first, it might have made Mr. Smith’s case more difficult. Accounts of witnesses called to testify in both cases could vary slightly, casting doubt on their testimony, for example — which could explain why Mr. Smith is moving quickly, according to former federal prosecutors.

Federal investigators have been slow to begin looking into any efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, overwhelmed by prosecuting the hundreds of rioters who illegally entered the Capitol. The initial plan to investigate the planners of the attack, drafted by Trump’s US attorney in Washington and later adopted by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, did not include any explicit reference to the former president. The FBI took a similar action.

However, in the months leading up to Mr. Smith’s appointment as special counsel last fall, there were strong indications that federal prosecutors were pivoting to examine whether Mr. Trump and his allies may have committed crimes.

The FBI’s Washington office opened an investigation in April 2022 into electors who pledged allegiance to Mr. Trump in states he lost. Earlier, the authorities seized the cellphones of Mr. Eastman, a legal architect of Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss, and Jeffrey Clark, a lawyer Mr. Trump tried to install as the acting attorney general.

Among the crimes that prosecutors and agents intended to investigate were mail and wire fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding before Congress.

At the end of last year, the various investigations were submitted to Mr. Smith, who moved quickly with action, including subpoenas and witnesses.

Mr. Smith and his team don’t seem to be done. A spokesman for former governor Doug Ducey of Arizona said Mr. Smith’s team contacted him after The Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump tasked Mr. Pence with pressuring Mr. Ducey to overturn Mr. Biden’s narrow victory there.

The spokesman said Mr. Ducey would do “the right thing” and that he had done so since the election. It was unclear whether the contact was to request a voluntary interview of Mr. Ducey or a grand jury appearance.

Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, appeared before one of the grand juries in June, according to people familiar with his appearance. Mr. Giuliani had a recent interview with prosecutors.

Ben Protests, Jonathan Swan and Luke Broadwater contributed reporting.

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