Special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump for attempting to reverse his loss in the 2020 election reveals some new details about how it all went down.
The charging document also sheds light on how far Smith’s investigation reached into Trump’s inner orbit — and who was keeping notes on the alleged criminal conspiracy as it took place.
Here are 10 new revelations from the indictment:
1. ‘That’s why there’s an Insurrection Act’
Three days before January 6, Trump DOJ flunkie Jeff Clark met with Pat Philbin, the deputy White House Counsel. Per the indictment, Philbin told Clark during the Jan. 3 meeting that if Clark succeeded with his plot — if Trump managed to stay in office — there would be riots in every major American city. “Well,” Clark purportedly replied, “that’s why there’s an Insurrection Act.”
2. Pence’s receipts
Trump tried multiple times before January 6 to bully Vice President Mike Pence into doing what he wanted: rejecting Biden ballots as Congress certified the count, thereby creating a dispute that, Trump allies hoped, could leave Trump the winner. What Trump — and the world — didn’t know is that Pence apparently took notes on this in real-time. Smith referenced “contemporaneous notes” which Pence took that purportedly documented a Dec. 29 conversation in which Trump told Pence that the DOJ was “finding major infractions.”
3. Jeff Clark turns up the volume
Jeff Clark also tried to circulate a letter which would have the DOJ advise state legislatures to debate whether to throw out Biden electors. Per Smith, in the days before January 6, when the DOJ had found no evidence to suggest fraud, Clark strengthened a draft of the letter: rather than saying that the DOJ has “concerns” about the election, it would say that it had “evidence of significant irregularities.”
4. Trump Held Onto Hope Until The Last Minute
On the day of January 6 itself, the violence had mostly subsided by 6:00 p.m. ET. Law enforcement was nearly done clearing the Capitol building but, per Smith’s indictment, Trump wasn’t yet finished. At around 6:00 p.m. that day, Trump tried to reach two senators as part of a continuing effort to persuade them to delay Biden’s certification.
5. Cipollone appeals to Trump
And one hour later on January 6, Smith wrote, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone himself intervened with Trump. Per the indictment, Rudy Giuliani was calling Senators at 7:01 p.m. on Trump’s behalf. It was then that Cipollone purportedly called Trump “to ask him to withdraw any objections and allow the certification. The Defendant refused.”
6. Leading The Fake Electors Astray
In order to get the fake electors conspiracy moving, key players in it had to lie, Smith said. In one instance, that included RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who allegedly falsely heard from John Eastman that the fake electors were only to be used if the Trump campaign won a lawsuit challenging a state’s results. In another instance, Giuliani allegedly told Pennsylvania fake electors on a conference call that the certificates they signed would only be used if the courts agreed to overturn state election results.
7. Even The Campaign Got cold feet about The fake electors scheme
At the same time, Smith alleged, Trump campaign officials refused to put out a statement supporting the electors. In one group text cited by Smith, a deputy campaign manager wrote about the scheme that “the way this has morphed it’s a crazy play so I don’t know who wants to put their name on it,” to which a senior advisor purportedly replied: “certifying illegal votes.” The group, which also included an unnamed campaign staffer, refused to issue a statement about the fake electors with their names attributed.
8. ‘Conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership’
One senior Trump campaign advisor allegedly complained in a Dec. 8 email that the former President’s claims about fraud in Georgia — particularly about two election workers at State Farm Arena — were completely false, but that he would fight for them anyway. “When our research and campaign legal team can’t back up any of the claims made by our Elite Strike Force Legal Team, you can see why we’re 0-32 on our cases. I’ll obviously hustle to help on all fronts, but it’s tough to own any of this when it’s all just conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership,” the email, cited by Smith, reads.
9. Trump’s lawyers got direct with him
Smith cited many instances in which attorneys for Trump told him directly that he had lost the election. But the most direct came from Pat Philbin, who allegedly told the President in December 2020 that “there is no world, there is no option in which you do not leave the White House [o]n January 20th.”
10. A look inside the White House mid-riot
Prosecutors cited numerous conversations in the White House on January 6. That included an alleged refusal from Trump to “approve a message directing rioters to leave the Capitol,” as urged by Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Deputy White House Counsel Pat Philbin, and others. Instead, Smith wrote, Trump tweeted twice that “the crowd at the Capitol was being peaceful.” After posting a video at 4:17 p.m. in which he asked rioters to leave, Trump allegedly said “See, this is what happens when they try to steal an election. These people are angry. These people are really angry about it. This is what happens.”