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Justice

Donald J. Trump, REALTORS®
Former President Donald J. Trump. Photo credit: Brian Copeland / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The motion is riddled with the kind of rhetoric and false claims that you usually hear at Trump’s campaign rallies or when the former president is up late to fire off rants on his social media platform.

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In an effort to fight a proposed gag order ahead of Donald Trump’s coup trial in Washington, DC, attorneys of the former president filed a motion that reads in part as though it were written by the defendant himself… if it contained more grammatical errors and routinely violated the capitalization rules of the English language.

The 25-page document is riddled with the kind of rhetoric and false claims that you usually hear at Trump’s campaign rallies or when the former president is up late to fire off rants on his social media platform.

For example, the motion insinuates that both the underlying indictment and the proposed gag order are part of President Joe Biden’s political campaign against Trump. However, there is no evidence that there is even a shred of truth to the accusation that Biden, unlike his predecessor, has sought to use his Department of Justice (DOJ) for political purposes.

Still, the motion often refers to “the Biden administration” instead of “the prosecution” as though these two were linked.

For example, it states that the proposed gag order “is nothing more than an obvious attempt by the Biden Administration to unlawfully silence its most prominent political opponent, who has now taken a commanding lead in the polls.”

Trump’s lawyers also took issue with the underlying indictment and statements by special counsel Jack Smith, which “wrongly insinuat[e] that President Trump was responsible for the events of January 6.”

It’s tough to argue that Trump was not responsible, seeing how he told his supporters to come to Washington, DC, on January 6 and then did nothing to stop them while they stormed the Capitol.

However, the former president’s attorneys don’t want to make this trial about what it is: Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Instead, they paint it as an attempt to criminalize “statements he made as president,” which is a gross distortion of the truth.

As for their legal reasoning for opposing the gag order, Trump’s attorneys portray their client as someone who would never try to intimidate witnesses or members of the jury, and whose rhetoric could not possibly incite others to make threats or turn to violence.

History, of course, tells a different story.

Trump has a habit of making incendiary statements and trying to influence witnesses. For example, last month, he posted a message on his social media channel saying that Jeff Duncan (R), the former lieutenant governor of Georgia, should not testify in that state’s case against the former president.

There are many other cases in which Trump has straddled, and potentially crossed, the line between merely making inflammatory statements and witness tampering. He usually is careful in how he chooses his words, but his followers seem to get the message.

In fact, a Trump supporter has already been charged with issuing a death threat to Tanya Chutkan, the presiding judge in the case, so it remains to be seen how she feels about the argument that the former president’s rhetoric could not possibly be construed as a call to harass witnesses or jurors

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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