Dec 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Smith using decade-old Trump tweets as "record" of "baseless" fraud claims

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a commit to caucus campaign event at the Whiskey River bar on December 02, 2023 in Ankeny, Iowa.

Former President Trump speaks at a commit to caucus campaign event at the Whiskey River bar on Dec. 2 in Ankeny, Iowa. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Special counsel Jack Smith plans to show evidence in the federal 2020 election case of former President Trump making false claims about electoral fraud since at least 2012, according to a Tuesday filing.

Why it matters: Smith argued that Trump's false claims of election fraud from the 2012 and 2016 elections show his "motive, intent, and plan to obstruct the certification of the 2020 election results and illegitimately retain power."

  • Smith wrote that Trump's previous baseless claims of election fraud "demonstrate the defendant's common plan of falsely blaming fraud for election results he does not like."

Driving the news: Smith also alleged in the nine-page filing that Trump on Jan. 6 "sent supporters, including groups like the Proud Boys, whom he knew were angry, and whom he now calls 'patriots,' to the Capitol to achieve the criminal objective of obstructing the congressional certification."

Zoom in: Smith plans to present posts from the social media platform formerly known as Twitter and public remarks as evidence of the "defendant's historical record" of making false fraud claims.

  • "The defendant's consistent refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power ... is admissible evidence 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," per the filing.

The big picture: Trump was indicted in August on four counts over alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

  • Trump was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
  • The federal 2020 election trial is currently set to begin on March 4, the day before Super Tuesday.

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