On Monday, a federal judge prohibited former President Donald Trump from discussing his prosecutors in the case alleging he unlawfully interfered with the 2020 elections when he challenged the results.
The order was issued as the former president, who is running for president again in 2024, arrived in Iowa to deliver a speech.
“They’ve weaponized the Justice Department,” he said. “This is like a banana republic. But it’s going to be OK. The good news is—I’m the only one that’s ever been indicted where the [poll] numbers went through the roof—because the people understand it.”
The audience erupted in applause when Trump declared he had challenged the 2020 election because he thought it was “crooked.”
“A terrible thing happened today—gag order!” he wrote on Truth Social. “Will appeal the gag order ruling. Witch hunt!”
In his statement at DonaldJTrump.com, a Trump spokesman wrote:
“Today’s decision is an absolute abomination and another partisan knife stuck in the heart of our Democracy by Crooked Joe Biden, who was granted the right to muzzle his political opponent, the leading candidate for the Presidency in 2024, and the most popular political leader in America, President Donald J. Trump. President Trump will continue to fight for our Constitution, the American people’s right to support him, and to keep our country free of the chains of weaponized and targeted law enforcement.”
In a post to TruthSocial, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote:
“Today, a Democrat judge issued an order gagging President Trump, destroying the First Amendment. The judge made her courtroom the Ministry of Truth. She said the case isn’t about the court of public opinion, yet she allows the media to sit in her courtroom, the very people who craft public opinion through their headlines and stories. Public opinion matters, and President Trump isn’t even able to defend himself. This entire operation is run by Joe Biden, his political opponent, and nothing more than election interference. This is the weaponization of government! If this can happen to a former President, the only question is, who’s next?”
Jack Smith, who has been investigating Capitol breach-related cases since November regarding the date of January 6, 2021, is litigating the case against President Trump. He filed a motion asking the court to restrict what President Trump can say about the prosecutors, potential witnesses, and the case itself, arguing that President Trump’s online influence could sway the jury in his favor.
The judge presiding over the case, Tanya Chutkan, partially granted the narrow ‘gag order’ on Monday.
The order prohibits President Trump from posting statements that disparage Smith, his staff, court personnel, or any of their families. It also restricts what he can say about potential witnesses; the judge ordered that he may post about them, but not in relation to the case’s underlying events. The judge will file the complete order’s language later today.
During the court trial, Judge Chutkan reportedly laughed several times. She also berated Donald Trump over his disparagement of the Biden administration, such as Trump’s reference to the Biden “Department of Injustice.”