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August 01, 2023

Statement: Rep. Schiff on Trump’s Third Indictment

Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) issued this statement following the news of former President Donald Trump’s third indictment:

“Today, former President Donald Trump was indicted on four felony counts arising from his efforts to overturn the last presidential election. Although the prior charges against him in Manhattan and regarding his illegal retention of classified information at Mar-a-Lago are serious in their own right, this afternoon’s indictment is the most consequential as it goes to the heart of a president’s attempt to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation’s history.

“These charges — based in large part on evidence we uncovered through our work on the January 6th Committee — and the trial that will follow, will put our democracy to a new test: can the rule of law be enforced against a former president and current candidate for president? For the sake of our democracy, we must hope that the answer is yes.

“In short, the Special Counsel’s indictment shows that Trump was repeatedly told and understood that he lost the election, and nevertheless spread lies about it. He pressured state officials to change the outcome, organized a fake elector plot, tried to use the Justice Department to further the scheme to defraud, pressured the Vice President to violate the law and constitution, and then tried to capitalize on the violence of January 6th to overturn the results. In doing so, he committed conspiracies to defraud, to obstruct, and to interfere with the right to vote among other offenses.

“During his trial, Donald Trump will have the same benefit of a presumption of innocence as any other American, and the government will carry the same heavy burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He should be subject to no lesser presumption by the jury and the government should be obligated to carry no heavier weight of proof by virtue of his former position or current status. A democracy requires no less, and anything other than that standard — to the degree of the difference — is not democracy. 

“These new charges will stress our justice system — all the more so because they will be mischaracterized by the former president’s allies in Congress who will seek to interfere in the prosecution, and have already demonstrated a willingness to put the pursuit of power over any other consideration, even their oaths of office. But the only thing more dangerous to our democracy than holding the powerful to account when they try to subvert our elections — would be the failure to do so.

“The interests of justice and our democracy must be served.”