In addition to subjecting former President Donald Trump to multiple criminal trials as he attempts to campaign for another term, prosecutors and judges are attempting to effectively prevent him from making his case to voters.
Trump has been fined a total of $15,000 in recent days for violating a gag order put in place by the judge overseeing a New York civil fraud case. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan also implemented such an order in his federal case related to Trump’s actions following the 2020 election, but she offered him a temporary reprieve while the court considers his legal team’s appeal for a stay.
Chutkan’s move was not received well by special counsel Jack Smith, however, and his office is now pressuring the judge to reinstate the gag order, ostensibly to guarantee the trial will be “untainted by harassment, intimidation and threats.”
Of course, critics say Smith and others are only seeking to silence Trump in order to harm his chances of winning next year’s presidential election.
Even the editors of National Review, which has been vehemently critical of Trump since his 2016 White House bid, recognized that Chutkan’s gag order went too far.
In comparing the current situation to the impeachment investigation against another former president, an editorial earlier this month posited: “Just imagine how different history would have been if Bill Clinton and his White House had been ordered by a conservative judge not to criticize Kenneth Starr.”
Despite backlash against the order itself, Smith’s office nevertheless sent the judge a 32-page request to keep the speech restrictions in place.
“The defendant knows the effect of his targeting and seeks to use it to his strategic advantage while simultaneously disclaiming any responsibility for the very acts he causes,” prosecutors argued.
In addition to the supposed “repeated violations of a similar order in New York,” the court filing also mentions a social media post Trump published after Chutkan suspended the gag order as evidence that it should be reinstated.
NEW: Special Counsel asks for reinstatement of gag order against Trump in the federal 2020 election case — saying Trump’s post last night about Mark Meadows testifying under immunity order was inappropriate commentary the gag was supposed to prohibit. https://t.co/djIohtdlB1 pic.twitter.com/7A7moMntms
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) October 26, 2023
Referencing his former White House chief of staff, who has been called on to testify in the federal case, Trump wrote earlier this week: “Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future [of] our Failing Nation. I don’t think that Mark Meadows is one of them, but who really knows?”