Trump says he is target of criminal probe into 2020 US election


Donald Trump said he was the target of a criminal probe into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, raising the possibility he could face fresh federal charges in the coming days.

In a development he described as “horrifying”, Trump said he had received a letter from the US Department of Justice informing him he was a target of an investigation into the run-up to the January 6 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Trump said the letter from special counsel Jack Smith, who is handling the probe, had given him “a very short 4 days to report to the grand jury which almost always means an arrest and indictment”. The DoJ declined to comment.

Fresh criminal charges would further deepen the legal risks facing Trump as he campaigns for another term as US president. Last month, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging him with 37 criminal counts relating to his handling of classified government documents. That indictment was also brought by Smith.

Trump has vowed to press on with his campaign despite his mounting legal challenges.

In a lengthy post on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump described the January 6 probe as a “witch hunt” and said it was “all about election interference and a complete and total political weaponisation of law enforcement”.

He accused Joe Biden, US president, of unfairly targeting him because he is the president’s “number one political opponent, who is largely dominating him in the race for the presidency”.

Trump remains the undisputed frontrunner in an increasingly crowded field of Republicans vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

According to the FiveThirtyEight average of national polls, roughly half of Republican voters say they are supporting Trump in the primaries, with Florida governor Ron DeSantis in a distant second place, with the support of just over 20 per cent of Republican voters. Other challengers, including Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, trail in the single digits.

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