As Trump Faces Arraignment, Analyst Says Prosecutor Will Have to Prove He Knows Trump’s Thoughts

Former President Donald Trump appears in a Washington, D.C. courthouse today to face criminal charges, accused of trying to overturn the 2020 election. His attorneys argue the case is an unprecedented attack on free speech.

On the campaign trail, Trump’s former vice president is accusing him of putting himself above the Constitution. Despite all this, Trump remains the front-runner in the GOP race for the 2024 nomination.

Security barricades have been set-up near the D.C. federal courthouse ahead of Trump’s arraignment.
“He’s going to be advised of the charges against him,” said former federal prosecutor Sarah Krissoff.

Trump’s lawyers are already floating their client’s defense.

“What we have now is an administration that has criminalized the free speech and advocacy of a prior administration during a time that there’s a political election going on,” John Lauro, a Trump attorney told CNN.

Mark Caleb Smith of Cedarville University tells CBN’s Faith Nation the free speech argument is misplaced.

“When we think of the First Amendment we are generally not thinking of things like coercing a government official, calling a Georgia Secretary of State or threatening the Arizona Speaker of the House of Representatives. That’s not really what we think of when we think of protected political speech,” Smith said.

The special counsel has pledged to pursue a speedy trial.

Smith says proving that the former president is guilty of the charges will be a tough sell.

“This case is complicated because the government is going to need to prove, to some extent, that President Trump knew what he was saying was false,” Smith told Faith Nation. “They’re going to be able to show that many people told him these things were false but that’s a little different than proving internally he knew it and acted based upon those beliefs.”

On the campaign trail, former Vice President Mike Pence is speaking out against his former boss after Trump leveled new accusations that Pence didn’t fight against election fraud.

“I really do believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States,” Pence said during a campaign stop in Indianapolis. “Anyone who asks someone else to put themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”

Despite these new charges, Trump is still the far-and-away front-runner for the GOP nomination.

“I talked to many campaigns who are kind of throwing up their hands about the fact that, and it is a fact, that the Republican front-runner, the person best poised to win the nomination, faces the possibility of actually going to prison on multiple fronts,” Rick Klein, ABC News’ political director, told CBN News.

Meanwhile, Trump could face even more charges in coming weeks.

Georgia officials say they’re wrapping their investigation into Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn the results of that state’s 2020 presidential election.