“It was not immediately clear what the charges are or whether anyone else received a target letter.
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has been notified that he is the target of an investigation by a Washington-based grand jury examining the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and indictment,” Trump posted on his Truth Social account.
Trump said that this effectively means that he will be indicted for a third time. Trump added that he's "Joe Biden’s NUMBER ONE POLITICAL OPPONENT, who is largely dominating him in the race for the Presidency."
It was not immediately clear what the charges are or whether anyone else received a target letter. People who have been informed that they are targets of criminal probes are often, but not always, indicted.
Trump said his lawyers gave him the letter, which he called "HORRIFYING NEWS for our Country," on Sunday night while he was with his family after attending aTurning Point event in West Palm Beach, Fla.
"Nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before, or even close," Trump wrote in his lengthy statement.
A spokesperson for the Office of Special Counsel declined to comment.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to NBC News that Trump had received a target letter from Smith.
The Justice Department defines a “target” as "a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant." The purpose of notifying a target of their status is "to afford him or her an opportunity to testify before the grand jury," according to the DOJ.
Trump allies blasted the news, and maintained Smith's probe - and others - as politically motivated.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., blasted the news that Trump had received a target letter as an example of "weaponized government," while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called it "absolute bull----."
The White House declined comment on the letter.
Smith was appointed as special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November and tasked with determining “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election or the certification of the Electoral College vote held on or about January 6, 2021.” He was also assigned oversight of “the ongoing investigation involving classified documents and other presidential records” taken from Trump’s White House “as well as the possible obstruction of that investigation.”
He has led a sprawling investigation in the almost eight months since.
Smith secured an indictment before a Florida grand jury last month, charging Trump with 37 counts in connection with his handling of classified documents and alleged efforts to obstruct that investigation.
The charges in that case include making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice and willful retention of national defense information, related to the more than 100 classified documents that were recovered from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last year, according to the indictment. Trump pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Court records in that case show Trump was sent a target letter on May 19, about three weeks before he was indicted. His co-defendant, Walt Nauta, was sent a target letter on May 24.
Lawyers for Smith, Trump and Nauta, who has also pleaded not guilty, appeared at a hearing in the documents case in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Tuesday afternoon, where they tangled over a possible trial date. The judge is expected to rule at a later date.
Also Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that she has filed charges against 16 so-called "fake electors" — people who signed paperwork falsely claiming that Trump had won the 2020 election as part of a scheme to overturn the results.
The former president, meanwhile, was scheduled to participate in a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with Fox News’ Sean Hannity later Tuesday. The event is set to air at 9 p.m. ET.
A possible indictment charging Trump in the election probe comes after a House select committee, created by Democrats when they held the majority control of the chamber last year, investigated the former president's role in the riot.
Days after the attack, the House impeached Trump — for the second time — for "incitement of insurrection." The Senate later acquitted him because Democrats fell 10 votes short in securing enough Republican votes to join them.
In addition to the documents case, Trump was separately charged in early April by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his role in hush money payments toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign. He pleaded not guilty.
Trump also faces a criminal investigation related to the 2020 election in Georgia.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has indicated that she would most likely seek indictments stemming from that probe during the first half of August. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and maintains the investigation by Willis, a Democrat, is politically motivated.“