On Friday, US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that Donald Trump should refrain from making “inflammatory” statements and creating a circus atmosphere ahead of his coup trial. And then, Trump promptly spent much of his weekend making inflammatory statements and creating a circus atmosphere.
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Republicans have been telling the country that there are two tiers of justice, and they couldn’t be more right. If Donald Trump were anybody other than a former president who heads a cult of millions of people, he’d be in jail now.
On Friday, US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is slated to preside over Trump’s coup trial in Washington, DC, held a hearing on the protective order that the former president is subject to in the case.
Essentially, that order governs what Trump can and cannot do ahead of the trial. While Chutkan ruled that the defendant may share “non-sensitive materials,” she also said that he should refrain from making “inflammatory” statements and creating a circus atmosphere.
And then, Trump promptly spent much of his weekend making inflammatory statements and creating a circus atmosphere.
For example, he “truthed” a post from conservative activist Mike Davis that included a large photo of the judge and called her “an Obama left-wing judge” who “openly admitted she’s running election interference against Trump.”
Obviously, she did no such thing, but posts like this will get the former president’s cult riled up. Sadly, in many cases, this results in Trump’s perceived enemies becoming the target of harassment or threats, which is something the people making these statements are well aware of. However, instead of dialing down their rhetoric, they keep fanning the flames. After all, intimidation has always been a tool of authoritarian movements.
To be fair, Trump’s ire wasn’t just directed at Chutkan and the DC case but also at his likely upcoming indictment in Georgia for trying to overturn that state’s election result in 2020.
Here is what he had to say about a prominent Peach State politician this morning.
“I am reading reports that failed former Lt. Governor of Georgia, Jeff Duncan, will be testifying before the Fulton County Grand Jury. He shouldn’t,” Trump wrote on his website. “I barely know him but he was, right from the beginning of this Witch Hunt, a nasty disaster for those looking into the Election Fraud that took place in Georgia.”
Witness intimidation doesn’t get much clearer than “he shouldn’t.”
All of this is intentional, of course. It’s not as though Trump isn’t familiar with protective orders. After all, he has been charged with dozens of crimes in three states so far this year. But he does seem to have trouble following them.
And if he were anybody else, testing the limits of these orders and the patience of judges would probably end him in really hot water.
For evidence of that, you need to look no further than a new development in another high-profile case.
Also on Friday, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was sent to jail. The judge in his case found that he had violated the conditions of his bail… by trying to influence witnesses.
So, yes, there are two tiers of justice in the US, and Trump is one of the main beneficiaries of that.