But Trump is not being prosecuted for his repeated lies about a stolen election. He is being prosecuted for the efforts he made, the actions he took to operationalize that contention and prevent the clear will of the voters from being realized, or what the indictment calls “unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results.”

Just because words are involved in the commission of these alleged crimes does not mean that prosecuting Trump violates his First Amendment rights. The protections of the First Amendment are strong and capacious, but they are not unlimited.

Corporate executives accused of defrauding investors by making false statements engage in speech, but that does not immunize them. Same for those who engage in insider trading or a conspiracy to fix prices.

Or, to bring things closer to home, if Trump at a rally encouraged his supporters to beat up a protester, that would not prevent him from being sued or even criminally charged. If he were to falsely accuse a political opponent of being a child molester, the libel laws that he wants to weaken would not shield him from legal recourse. (Here, I am borrowing examples from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, ruling in a civil case that Trump could be sued for inciting the Capitol rioters.)

“The heart of our jurisprudence with respect to the First Amendment is the difference between regulating speech and regulating conduct,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), once a constitutional law professor, told me. “Everything charged in the indictment involves criminal conduct by Donald Trump and not the mere expression of political views. If Donald Trump wanted to say that the joint session organizing the peaceful transfer of power was a fraud and a charade, he had every right to say that. But he had no right to actually obstruct the proceeding.”

Thus, the indictment doesn’t accuse Trump of breaking the law by claiming the election was stolen. It asserts, instead, that Trump, “on the pretext of baseless fraud claims,” pushed state officials to ignore the popular vote; that he organized “fraudulent slates of electors,” including some who were “tricked into participating,” and that and his co-conspirators “used knowingly false claims of election fraud” to pressure the vice president to refuse to certify the election results.