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Trump pleads not guilty to 2020 federal...

Trump pleads not guilty to 2020 federal election charges

By: Frank Corder - August 4, 2023

FILE - Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he smiles while speaking at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Mississippi Congressman Thompson says the charges are consistent with the House January 6th Committee’s work, while Governor Reeves takes issue with the Biden Administration interfering in the election and weaponizing law enforcement.

On Thursday, former President Donald Trump appeared in a federal courtroom and plead not guilty to four felony charges related to allegations he sought to overturn the 2020 election results.

Judge Moxila Upadhyaya, a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., read the charges against the former President and reminded him of his rights. Trump was released and given instructions to not discuss the case with witnesses and that he must appear in court when required in the future.

The next hearing in the case was set for August 28th. U.S. District Judge Chutkan will take over the case and has agreed to waive Trump having to appear on that date.

Earlier in the week, a federal grand jury indicted Trump on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. The charges stem from the House-led investigation into the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol that was later referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat representing the 2nd District, chaired the House January 6th Committee appointed by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Thompson said this week that said the charges against Trump are consistent with the evidence his committee reviewed.

“The arraignment today is not something that we should look forward to as Americans, but it’s something we cannot go forward [without] because our democracy, in its current form, is very fragile,” Thompson said in an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition with Leila Fadel. “No one is above the law, not even a former president of the United States.”

Thompson said in the interview that he thinks Justice Department Special Prosecutor Jack Smith decided on the four charges based on how strong the evidence was.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican, took to social media to express his thoughts on the latest Trump legal challenge, laying the blame at the feet of Thompson and tying his presumptive general election opponent, Democrat Brandon Presley, to the Congressman.

“The Biden Administration’s attempts to interfere in the election by weaponizing law enforcement are corrupt and wrong. They have proven they will do anything to ‘get’ Donald Trump, and trample ethics, the rule of law, and our national unity to do it. And it all started with Brandon Presley’s top backer, Bennie Thompson,” Reeves said.

The Governor’s post drew comments across the political spectrum both from persons in and out of the state.

A Democratic Municipal Executive Committee member from Booneville wrote on Reeves’ Facebook page, “No one is above the law in this country – including you!”

A resident of Madison said the arraignment of Trump made her sick while a Bruce resident pointed out that most of the people criticizing the Governor’s remark were not from Mississippi, calling them “carpetbaggers.”

The former President called the day’s events “a very sad day for America.”

“When you look at what’s happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent,” Trump told reporters as he boarded a plane following the arraignment. “This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot. So, if you can’t beat him, you persecute him or you prosecute him. We can’t let this happen in America. Thank you very much.”

Trump is again seeking the presidency and the Republican nomination leading up to the 2024 election. He is leading in nearly every poll thus far taken to gauge interest in the race, outpolling the next leading candidate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, by double digits.

This week’s arraignment is Trump’s third time appearing in court this year. The other two cases currently ongoing involve alleged falsification of business records in New York and the alleged mishandling of classified documents as heard in Miami. Trump could face another indictment in Georgia in the days ahead as it is widely believed prosecutors there will charge him in their investigation into attempts to overturn the 2020 state election results.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: