A conservative think tank has come out against the latest indictment against former President Donald Trump, stating the criminal complaint contains no evidence of any actual crimes.
On Aug. 1, Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a four-count indictment against Trump, charging the former president with alleged crimes connected to the Trump team’s questioning of the 2020 election results.
The counts are as follows:
- Count 1: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
- Count 2: Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding
- Count 3: Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding
- Count 4: Conspiracy Against Rights
The Heritage Foundation is blasting the indictment for lack of substance, calling the prosecutorial effort led by Smith an attack against the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“Jack Smith’s J6 indictment of Donald Trump is A HOLLOW VESSEL. It lacks ANY actual hard evidence of crimes committed by Trump and fellow co-conspirators. So why proceed with such a shockingly weak case? It’s ELECTION INTERFERENCE on the part of a weaponized DOJ,” Heritage said in the first post of a seven-post thread on the social media platform X, formerly called Twitter.
🚨🧵1/7 Jack Smith’s J6 indictment of Donald Trump is A HOLLOW VESSEL.
It lacks ANY actual hard evidence of crimes committed by Trump and fellow co-conspirators.
So why proceed with such a shockingly weak case? It’s ELECTION INTERFERENCE on the part of a weaponized DOJ.
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) August 2, 2023
“The indictment offers examples of Trump and his advisers questioning and challenging election fraud, and asking people, including lawmakers, to investigate,” Heritage continued. “But that is NOT A CRIME. After all, many on the Left have regularly denied election results.”
Going back to at least the year 2000, when Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore in the presidential election, Democrats have called into question the results of numerous contests, including the 2016 election that handed Trump control of the White House.
Democrats asserting that Republicans failed to win elections legitimately has been such a frequent occurrence, the GOP was able to assemble a 12-minute supercut of Democrats publicly denying election results.
Over the past 20 years, there have also been at least three separate elections after which Democrats objected to the certification of electoral votes, alleging fraud had taken place. At no time was a Democrat subjected to criminal or civil charges being brought for their conduct.
“Agree or disagree with him, Donald Trump’s comments about the 2020 election are protected by the First Amendment,” Heritage says. “Trump had a free speech RIGHT to claim there was fraud in the election,” an assertion even supported by Smith’s charging document.
Page two of Smith’s legal filing against Trump states:
The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won. He was also entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means, such as by seeking recounts or audits of the popular vote in states or filing lawsuits challenging ballots and procedures.
Concerning the Trump team contacting lawmakers and election officials about investigating claims of fraud, Heritage says, “Trump’s efforts to press state legislators and other state officials on election fraud were protected by the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Again, NOT A CRIME.”
On the obstruction of government theory, Trump cannot be held criminally liable for attempts he took as President to direct and supervise the functions of senior Justice Department officials or his Vice President.
And finally, Jack Smith’s invocation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1870 to pursue a frivolous block-the-vote charge makes an utter mockery of our nation’s civil rights legacy.
BOTTOM LINE: It is not a federal crime to engage in bare-knuckled politics or protected speech.
This is the latest example of a government with its priorities out of whack. The American people deserve better.