A predictable thing happened recently when a woman in Texas made a violently threatening call to a federal judge: She was prosecuted for a crime because she admitted to it, and it’s illegal to violently threaten another person.
That timeworn and orderly American process — referred to in ancient times as “the rule of law” — is apparently no longer good enough for Tanya Chutkan, the Obama-appointed judge who was the target of that threat and who is overseeing one of the two billion political prosecutions of Donald Trump.
Chutkan on Monday ruled in favor of Biden administration prosecutors who requested a gag order limiting what Trump can publicly say about the trial (absurd on its own) and those involved.
The case relates to Trump’s time as president and the 2020 election, both of which are at the very core of his campaign for a second, non-consecutive term. Of course they are. They’re at the very core of Joe Biden’s campaign, too! Whenever Biden or one of his allies lisp their way through a corny talking point like, “Democrathy ith at th-take!” they’re talking about Trump and the 2020 election.
No matter how you cut it, Chutkan is voiding out the campaign of Biden’s leading opponent for the Republican nomination. And assuming the trial goes well into next year, and it will, she’s preemptively cutting off what Trump is allowed to say in the general election while Biden is turned loose on the same topic.
Chutkan and prosecutors defend the gag order by saying it’s necessary to prevent harassment or intimidation of court officials, jury members, and the prosecutors themselves. They point to past statements from Trump about his legal matters, including about specific members of the court, as potential “incitement.”
It’s nonsense. Trump has so far insinuated political bias or outright prejudice in the cases against him, charges that are fairly predictable given that, hmm… the cases all have to do with politics. Even the case in Florida about “classified documents” is political in that high-profile elected officials in both parties — from Trump to Mike Pence to Barack Obama and, ironically, Joe Biden — have all been hounded about retaining government documents that arguably didn’t belong to them. The difference is how they were adjudicated, and it’s an easy case to make that the one against Trump is nakedly political.
And when the backdrop of his ongoing quadruple prosecution bonanza is the Biden administration’s aggressive sentencing of Jan. 6 protestors, outlawing antiabortion prayer circles, stalking parents who show up at school board meetings, and now monitoring pretty much anyone who supports Trump at all, how is the former president not entitled to talk about any of it in a campaign? Even if it’s to single out and criticize specific individuals involved, how can he not?
Harassment and intimidation are illegal. So prosecute anyone who harasses and intimidates, just like that Texas broad. Why should a former president running for election also be silenced on the very essence of his campaign? It’s preposterous, and Chutkan just reinforced Trump’s point.