Former President Donald Trump is facing a tumultuous summer, far from a relaxing break. As the presidential primaries approach, the pressure on him intensifies due to his federal indictment. Recent developments since his arraignment have raised the stakes of his legal troubles.
Special counsel Jack Smith has been actively investigating Trump’s involvement in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and his reported attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. Two specific areas of focus are emerging: the scheme involving “fake electors” attempting to cast Electoral College votes for Trump and the fundraising efforts that capitalized on false claims of election fraud.
The Washington Post reported Sunday, The House Jan. 6 committee’s investigation reveals that the fake elector’s plot was concocted by some of Trump’s closest advisors. The plan involved submitting alternate Electoral College votes, leading Vice President Mike Pence to argue for the invalidation of “contested” states’ votes or their return to the respective states. This strategy hinged on the cooperation of Republican-controlled state legislatures. Several Republican “electors” have reportedly testified before a federal grand jury in recent weeks with limited immunity.
Smith is now examining whether Trump’s legal team, particularly Rudy Giuliani, who spearheaded the fake elector’s scheme, acted on specific instructions from Trump or others. Giuliani has been interviewed by federal investigators under a “proffer agreement,” which offers protection unless he is found to have been untruthful.
In contrast, the fundraising aspect of the investigation is more straightforward. It has been revealed that despite commissioning multiple reports disproving election rigging claims, the Trump campaign and affiliated groups raised millions of dollars by perpetuating these false narratives. Prosecutors are investigating whether these fundraising appeals violated federal wire fraud laws.
Another focus of interest is Trump’s interactions with state officials. Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State, who received pressure from Trump to “find 11,000 votes,” has already spoken with Smith’s prosecutors. The extent of communication with former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, whom Trump reportedly urged to examine false claims about winning the state, remains unclear.
While all of this unfolds, Trump also faces challenges related to the Mar-a-Lago case. Although a federal grand jury has already indicted him, further subpoenas have been issued, suggesting potential additional charges. Furthermore, Trump’s claim of issuing a “standing order” to instantaneously declassify documents as president has not been substantiated by officials from the Justice Department or the National Intelligence Director‘s Office.
By the end of the summer, Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to decide whether to pursue charges against Trump for his alleged attempts to influence the Georgia election. Additionally, he still faces an indictment in New York City.
These legal battles and uncertainties create an unpleasant atmosphere for Trump as he spends his summer at his Bedminster golf resort in New Jersey. While his residence there has not been searched like Mar-a-Lago, the remainder of an audio recording where he handled classified documents may make him increasingly frustrated. To find solace and maintain a sense of vacation, Trump will likely turn to his devoted supporters on the campaign trail.