Trump says he is target of grand jury investigation in US 2020 election probe

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Former US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had received a letter from Special Counsel Jack Smith stating that he is a target of a grand jury investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result.

If so, it would represent the clearest sign to date that Trump may face federal criminal charges stemming from his efforts to remain in power after losing the election to his rival, President Joe Biden.

Officials have testified that during his final months in office, Trump pressured them with unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. His supporters attacked the US Capitol in a January 6, 2021, bid to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s win.

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Smith “sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social media site.

His attorneys could not be immediately reached for comment.

A spokesman for Smith’s office declined to comment.

Later on Tuesday, defense attorneys and federal prosecutors are due to make their first appearance in Florida before US District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over charges that he mishandled classified information and obstructed justice.

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to face Biden, a Democrat, in the 2024 election, was charged last month with unlawfully retaining national defense documents after he left office in 2021 and conspiring to obstruct government efforts to retrieve them.

Smith is leading the prosecution also in that case.

As part of the 2020 election investigation, a grand jury at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, has heard testimony from high-profile former Trump administration officials, ex-White House attorney Pat Cipollone and Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence.

In his post on Truth Social, Trump said Smith’s office has given him “a very short 4 days” to appear before the grand jury in the probe.

In federal investigations, targets who are not called to testify before a grand jury or who do not make such a request are typically provided an opportunity to do so before prosecutors seek an indictment.

Trump is the first former president to ever be indicted.

In addition to the charges in the classified documents case, Trump faces New York state criminal charges accusing him of falsifying business records concerning a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence before the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she has confirmed but he denies.

He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a bid by Trump to block a state investigation into whether he and his allies illegally attempted to meddle with Georgia’s 2020 election.

Among actions being investigated were Trump’s phone call urging a top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s statewide victory.

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