The indictment of Donald Trump for the sweeping effort to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results cites the word "conspiracy" more than 200 times, indicating not just the depth of Trump's involvement but also the breadth of the conspiracy.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis named 18 other co-conspirators in the charging document, which sounds like a lot at first blush. But the full scope of the document potentially implicates dozens of other Republican lawmakers and party officials who aided Trump's scheme—cases that could be brought in the future.
Trump's "criminal enterprise," as it is named in the indictment, wasn't limited to Georgia. The indictment alleges Trump's efforts also extended into Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Michigan's attorney general, Dana Nessel, brought charges in July against 16 Republicans who falsely claimed to be the state's “duly elected and qualified electors” for president and vice president in 2020. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has similarly launched a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the state's election.
But in all likelihood, the country has only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of criminal charges stemming from Trump's relentless public and private campaign to illegally retain power after he lost the 2020 election.
As Democratic strategist and Hopium Chronicles substacker Simon Rosenberg wrote earlier this month of the federal election conspiracy case solely targeting Trump: "The central question now that Trump has been indicted is how many other Republicans were part of this illegal conspiracy to overturn the election, and how many of them will get prosecuted in the coming years."
Rosenberg posited that repeated use of the word "conspiracy" in that case, brought by special counsel Jack Smith, must have "sent shock waves through Republican circles" in Washington and across the country, as it meant that "dozens, perhaps hundreds, of leading Republicans" have potential legal exposure in Trump's scheme.
That includes top Republican officials such as Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who testified to the Jan. 6 committee that the RNC helped compile a list of alternate electors for some disputed states at Trump's request.
McDaniel later defended the Republican Party's efforts in an interview with CNN anchor Chris Wallace.
“It was not to be fake electors or replace the electors. It was contingent based on a legal challenge changing the outcome of a state,” McDaniel said, adding, “I think that’s very reasonable.”
Or what about someone like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after Trump lost the election to ask if he had the authority to invalidate every mail ballot from some counties?
Graham was not named in Willis' indictment, which was surely a relief. But his post-election interaction with Raffensperger on Trump's behalf is an example of the type of entanglements that might ensnare other Republicans in inquiries down the road.
In essence, the Georgia indictment has transformed Trump's personal criminal exposure into an all-hands-on-deck moment for the GOP and Republicans across the country, which is exactly why people like Graham started warning last year that a Trump prosecution could result in "riots in the street."
Speaking to Fox News Monday about the Georgia indictment, Graham said, "This should be decided at the ballot box and not in a bunch of liberal jurisdictions trying to put the man in jail."
Apparently, Graham views the United States of America as a "liberal jurisdiction" since Trump is facing two federal indictments, one of which relates to a wide-ranging attempt to overturn the 2020 election results.
Graham accused Democrats of "weaponizing the law in this country"—standard fare these days for Republicans, the supposed party of law of order.
"They're trying to take Donald Trump down," Graham charged, adding, "We're in for a very hard time if this becomes the norm."
By "this," Graham clearly meant that prosecuting lawbreakers who happen to be Republicans could send the country into a death spiral. Alternatively, not prosecuting lawbreakers would surely destroy the republic. Of course, one way to bring an end to such prosecutions is to quit breaking the law.
In the meantime, however, Republican pushback on charges against Trump's "criminal enterprise" should be viewed for exactly what they represent: a frantic exercise in self-preservation. And the extent to which Republicans grow more vociferous and vehement over the coming months should be taken as proof positive that prosecutors are indeed smoking out insurrectionists who sought to illegally disenfranchise voters and steal a U.S. election.