Let’s talk about the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of former President Donald Trump. Once again, he’s trying to play by his own rules and defy the system. At a recent campaign event in New Hampshire, Trump openly pledged to his supporters that he would ignore any protective order in connection to the investigation into his alleged attempts to subvert the 2020 presidential election outcome. Sounds like business as usual for him.
For those who need a quick legal catch-up: a protective order, in this context, aims to prevent Trump and his legal squad from making certain evidence public – especially evidence that could threaten or intimidate witnesses, thus jeopardizing the integrity of the case. But Trump, in his classic style, is crying foul, arguing that such an order would stomp on his First Amendment rights.
And of course, in a move as predictable as your morning alarm, Trump hinted that President Joe Biden has his hands in this cookie jar, directing special counsel Jack Smith to seek the protective order. It’s the same old song: implying that there’s a vendetta against him, without a shred of evidence to back his claims.
He told the crowd, “Crooked Joe now wants the thug prosecutor, this deranged guy, to file a court order taking away my First Amendment rights so that I can’t speak…I will talk about it. I will.” Riling up his base with yet another conspiracy theory.
This comes hot on the heels of Trump’s not-so-veiled threat last week, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” The DOJ highlighted this statement to illustrate the urgency of preventing Trump from disclosing evidence that could derail the ongoing investigation.
Judge Tanya Chutkan, in charge of the case, has clearly laid out her stance. She recognizes the likelihood of Trump going public with any discovery material, and she’s having none of his team’s arguments that a protective order would infringe upon his speech rights. In her words, the discovery process is meant to “ensure a fair process before the Court, not to provide the defendant an opportunity to improperly press his case in the court of public opinion.” Well said, Judge Chutkan!
Mark MacDougall, a legal expert at Georgetown Law School, has backed her up, clarifying that the protective order isn’t a muzzle on Trump’s speech. He’s free to say whatever he likes, but he can’t use government-produced evidence to support those statements.
But knowing Trump’s history, this protective order could be the catalyst for endless appeals, further dragging out the case. Such legal gymnastics are likely strategic; by challenging every minor court order, he could delay his trial until after the 2024 elections.
Now, let’s talk stakes: if Trump clinches the GOP nomination and subsequently the presidency, he could appoint a new attorney general. This individual, loyal to Trump, could drop all charges against him. Sound far-fetched? Given Trump’s past, nothing seems too audacious anymore.
This isn’t just about Trump’s rights or a court order. It’s about accountability, transparency, and ensuring that everyone, regardless of their former office, adheres to the rule of law. The question remains: will justice prevail?