Trump explodes in late-night Truth Social rant after Judge Chutkan reimposes gag order

"This order, according to many legal scholars, is unthinkable!" Trump claimed

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published October 30, 2023 10:43AM (EDT)

Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's Annual Leadership Summit at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas on October 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition's Annual Leadership Summit at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas on October 28, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan on Sunday reimposed limits on former President Donald Trump ahead of his trial over his reported efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

Chutkan earlier this month imposed a limited gag order barring Trump from targeting court staff, the special counsel's staff and potential witnesses in the case but temporarily paused the order while the former president's legal team appealed. Chutkan reimposed the order on Sunday after special counsel Jack Smith's team raised concerns that Trump was using the pause to target witnesses like former chief of staff Mark Meadows in Truth Social posts.

“As the court has explained, the First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice—a principle reflected in Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Local Criminal Rules,” Chutkan wrote. “And contrary to Defendant’s argument, the right to a fair trial is not his alone, but belongs also to the government and the public.”

The ruling means that the gag order will remain in place while Trump's team appeals it. Trump this month was also hit with a gag order by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who has subsequently fined him for multiple violations. 

An irate Trump lashed out at Chutkan in the early morning hours on Monday.

"I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents," the former president wrote shortly after midnight on Truth Social. "This order, according to many legal scholars, is unthinkable! It illegally and unconstitutionally takes away my First Amendment Right of Free Speech, in the middle of my campaign for President, where I am leading against BOTH Parties in the Polls. Few can believe this is happening, but I will appeal. How can they tell the leading candidate that he, and only he, is seriously restricted from campaigning in a free and open manner? It will not stand!"

Several hours later, Trump added a follow-up post: "The Obama appointed Federal Judge in D.C, a TRUE TRUMP HATER, is incapable of giving me a fair trial. Her Hatred of President DONALD J. TRUMP is so great that she has been diagnosed with a major, and incurable, case of TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME!!!"

We need your help to stay independent

Per Chutkan's current order, the former president is prohibited from "publicly targeting" the judge's staff, special counsel Jack Smith and members of his team, and any other court personnel. The ex-president is also barred from making threatening statements about the families of those individuals, as well as potential witnesses in the case. 

“This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses,” the judge said while issuing the limited order at a hearing earlier this month. “This is about language that presents a danger to the administration of justice. His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs. Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant. He is facing four felony charges. He is under the supervision of the criminal justice system and he must follow his conditions of release."

Not long after Chutkan lifted the order, Trump took to Truth Social to attack the special prosecutor, calling him "Deranged Jack Smith." In her reversal on Sunday, the judge noted an instance of Trump targeting Meadows, which she said would have "almost certainly" violated that gag order had it been in place.

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

“The statement singles out a foreseeable witness for purposes of characterizing his potentially unfavorable testimony as a ‘lie’ ‘mad(e) up’ to secure immunity, and it attacks him as a ‘weakling and coward’ if he provides that unfavorable testimony—an attack that could readily be interpreted as an attempt to influence or prevent the witness’s participation in this case,” Chutkan wrote. 

Shortly after Chutkan reimposed the order, Trump hit out at former Attorney General Bill Barr, another potential witness, on Truth Social, calling him “Dumb, Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy, a RINO WHO COULDN’T DO THE JOB."

"So now this Moron says about me, to get even, ‘his verbal skills are limited,'" the ex-president added. "Well, that’s one I haven’t heard before. Tell that to the biggest political crowds in the history of politics, by far. Bill Barr is a LOSER!”” Barr is a potential witness in the Washington, D.C. case. 

And, less than half an hour after Trump blasted Barr, he asserted, “The Corrupt Biden administration just took away my First Amendment Right To Free Speech.”

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

MORE FROM Gabriella Ferrigine

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Arthur Engoron Bill Barr Donald Trump Jack Smith Mark Meadows Politics Tanya Chutkan