by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Not a week goes by without Democrats weaponizing the federal government to silence their political opponents — and Monday’s court-mandated gag order on former President Donald Trump is no different.
At the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan — an Obama appointee — partially granted the department’s motion to institute a gag order on Trump ahead of the 2024 election. According to The Daily Caller, the order prohibits Trump — the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination — from issuing statements about Special Counsel Jack Smith, “[Smith’s] staff, witnesses and court personnel,” while permitting the former president “to make statements about the Biden administration and DOJ.”
As The Federalist’s Jordan Boyd previously reported, Smith — who indicted Trump in August over the latter’s Jan. 6, 2021, statements contesting the 2020 election — filed the motion in question last month. In his motion, Smith baselessly claimed Trump’s right to speak freely about the government’s crusade to throw him in prison “threatens to undermine the integrity of these proceedings” and defended the request as “modest” and “permissible.”
While it’s not surprising Chutkan greenlit Smith’s motion given her history of left-wing judicial activism, Monday’s developments shine a light on the much bigger issue of judges deciding what political speech is permissible for candidates to use on the campaign trail.
Should Trump become the 2024 GOP presidential nominee, his ability to call out the DOJ’s blatant corruption during the election would be severely curtailed. Chutkan’s order allowing Trump to criticize the DOJ while barring him from lamenting Smith and his team is a joke because Smith’s investigation is a part of the Biden administration’s greater attempt to throw their top political opponent in prison during the middle of an election.
How is Trump supposed to criticize Biden and the DOJ’s corruption and not Smith when, in actuality, they’re all tied to the same goal?