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Justice

Donald Trump, behind podium
President Donald Trump speaking in Washington, DC. Photo credit: The White House / Wikimedia

In a late-night rant, Donald Trump lied about what is at stake in Monday’s hearing on a limited gag order in his DC coup case.

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A mere hours before a federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on whether to impose a limited gag order on Donald Trump, the former president demonstrated impressively why one might be needed… and possibly also why it would be ineffective.

On the one hand, he will never stop hurling insults and riling up his supporters with lies. On the other hand, a gag order would fit perfectly in Trump’s made-up narrative that he, and by extension his followers, are being victimized by “elites” in Washington, DC.

A late-night Truth Social post perfectly illustrated what Judge Tanya Chutkan is up against on Monday and what she will have to consider when making a ruling on the motion to gag Trump (which is something that must sound nice to roughly half of America and most of the world).

Posted when most people on the East Coast were already asleep, the former president called today a “big day for democracy.” Of course, as evidenced by his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his twisted definition of democracy is “I win.” It should also be understood in that way in this particular context.

“A Leaking, Crooked and Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith, who has a terrible record of failure, is asking a highly partisan Obama appointed Judge, Tanya Chutkan, who should recuse herself based on the horrible things she has said, to silence me, through the use of a powerful GAG ORDER, making it impossible for me to criticize those who are doing the silencing, namely Crooked Joe Biden, and his corrupt and weaponized DOJ & FBI,” Trump wrote.

It should not come as a surprise that most of what the former president said is either false or dumb.

Whatever gag order Chutkan imposes, if she does so at all, will do nothing to “silence” Trump and prevent him from criticizing President Joe Biden or rant and rave about the Department of Justice or the FBI.

Instead, such an order would merely prevent him and his representatives from trying to threaten, harass, and intimidate court officials, witnesses, and potential jurors.

There is a good reason to expect that these things would otherwise happen. Namely, all of these tactics are mainstays in Trump’s playbook of trying to evade accountability for the things he has done.

He and his allies have a history of siccing his supporters on anybody involved in the many court cases that could land Trump in trouble.

In August, for example, a woman was arrested for threatening Chutkan herself.

“You are in our sights, we want to kill you,” she allegedly said. “Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, b****.”

On the very same day these charges were announced, authorities in Georgia said they were investigating threats to the grand jury in Fulton County that voted to indict the former president and 18 co-conspirators for trying to overturn the results of the Peach State’s 2020 election.

And in a civil fraud case in New York, a judge recently imposed a limited gag order on Trump after he attacked one of the judge’s clerks by sharing a social media post containing a lie about her.

That gag order, by the way, did not stop Trump from criticizing the judge in that case. It could therefore serve as a model in the DC coup case as well.

However, as with everything involving the former president, any effort to hold him to account is fraught with risk because of Trump’s ability, aided by an entire propaganda network, to weave a false reality for the legions of supporters who will believe only the things he says.

One need to look no further than his late-night rant to see this.

“They want to take away my First Amendment rights, and my ability to both campaign and defend myself,” he wrote, which is obviously false.

He then tried to make this case about something much bigger than the criminal trial of a poor loser who tried to stage a coup.  

“In other words, they want to cheat and interfere in the 2024 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote, adding, “Let’s see what happens on Monday in Judge Chutkan’s courtroom. Will America survive, or not?”

Will it, indeed?

Probably not unless Trump is held to account.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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