Special counsel Jack Smith on Tuesday said he plans to show Donald Trump’s historical record of peddling election lies and his “consistent refusal” to commit to the peaceful transfer of power as he seeks to establish the former president’s motive to overturn the 2020 vote count, during the trial in his federal election interference case.
In a new court filing, prosecutors are requesting approval to introduce evidence that, while intrinsic to the case, “pre- or post-dates the charged criminal conspiracies.” That information, they say, will help establish Trump’s “motive, intent, preparation, knowledge, absence of mistake, and common plan” in his scheme to reverse his 2020 defeat.
Smith noted Trump has spread false claims about U.S. elections since November 2012 when he baselessly claimed voting machines had switched votes from then-GOP candidate Mitt Romney to then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who went on to win the race.
Prosecutors also highlighted Trump’s “consistent refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power, dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign” in the event that he lost the race.
This is illustrative of “his plan to undermine the integrity of the presidential transition process when faced with the possibility of an election result that he would not like, as well as his motive, intent, and plan to interfere with the implementation of an election result with which he was not satisfied,” the filing states.
During the trial scheduled for March 4, the government intends to present evidence of efforts by an unnamed, unindicted co-conspirator who worked for Trump’s campaign to obstruct the election result.
Smith alleges the staffer “encouraged rioting and other methods of obstruction” in text messages he sent to a lawyer working for the campaign at the TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan, upon learning that then-candidate Joe Biden was ahead in the vote count. Trump then went on to promote false claims about the election in that polling center when it was actually members of his campaign who tried to undermine the integrity of the election, the special counsel added.
The Justice Department is also focusing on the former president’s retaliation tactics towards officials who didn’t go along with his election lies. Specifically, they cite attacks coordinated by Trump and co-conspirator one on the formerchief counsel to the Republican National Committee after he admitted there were no merits to the claims around election irregularities.
Six unnamed co-conspirators were listed in Trump’s Jan. 6 indictment, and co-conspirator one is thought to be Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Smith also focused on Trump’s social media posts targeting “perceived adversaries,” including his Vice President Mike Pence, as well as two Georgia election workers, who testified before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection about the death threats Trump and Giuliani’s attacks inspired.
Trump’s vows to pardon Jan. 6 rioters if he returns to the White House were also referenced in Tuesday’s filing. Smith’s office said Trump’s pledge publicly signals “that the law does not apply to those who act at his urging regardless of the legality of their actions.”
Smith also singled out Trump’s comments during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press” in which he decried lengthy sentences against Jan. 6 defendants convicted of serious crimes, including Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who he said had been treated “horribly.”
“Perhaps most importantly, the defendant’s embrace of January 6 rioters is evidence of his intent during the charged conspiracies, because it shows that these individuals acted as he directed them to act,” the filings state.
The special counsel has indicted Trump on four federal criminal charges in this case, including conspiracy to defraud the United States.