Former US President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty this week to criminal charges stemming from allegations that he repeatedly tried to overturn the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election.
“Not guilty,” Trump said Thursday after four criminal charges, two of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if the former president is found guilty, were read to him in a Washington court.
Special investigator Jack Smith brought these new charges against Trump on Tuesday.
“This is a very sad day for America,” Trump told reporters after his appearance. “This is the impeachment of the person who is leading very, very solidly in the Republican primary and is significantly ahead of (President Joe) Biden.
“So if you can’t beat him, you impeach him,” Trump said, hinting that the impeachment is a Biden strategy.
“We cannot allow this to happen in America,” the former president said.
Trump is now expected to appear in court again on August 28.
This is the third time since March of this year that criminal charges have been filed against Trump.
The Republican is charged in the latest case against him with conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, referring to the joint session of Congress in January 2021 during which Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 election. was declared.
The 45-page indictment also accuses Trump of attempting to deprive American voters of a fair election at the time with his false claims that he had won the November 2020 presidential election.
“Soon after election day – which was November 3, 2020 – the accused began his criminal plan,” the indictment states.
“The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false allegations of election fraud.”
According to the indictment, Trump planned to use then-Vice President Mike Pence’s role as presiding officer at the January 6, 2021 joint session to throw out several states’ votes.
However, Pence refused and issued a public statement saying he did not believe the constitution granted him those powers.
Scores of Trump supporters stormed the Congress building later that day as Trump tweeted that his vice president “didn’t have the guts to do what needed to be done.”