It’s serious this time, Donald.
The former president appeared in court Tuesday for his arraignment in his newly unfolding criminal case in Manhattan that deals with falsified business records covering up reimbursements that responded to hush money given to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. In court, Judge Juan Merchan threatened a court order restricting what Trump says publicly should the ex-president return to the rhetoric that just morally he probably shouldn’t be spreading anyway. Recently, he even spoke of so-called death and destruction accompanying criminal charges against him whenever such should drop, something a lawyer working with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg noted in a reply letter to Republican leaders in the House that rejected — again — some of their sweeping demands and underlying assertions of authority.
“Certainly, the Court would not impose a gag order at this time even if it were requested,” Merchan said. “I don’t share your view that certain language and certain rhetoric is just by frustration… I would encourage counsel on both sides, the People to please speak to your witnesses. Defense counsel, speak to your client and anybody else you need to, and remind them to please refrain, please refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence or civil unrest. Please refrain from making comments or engaging in conduct that has the potential to incite violence, create civil unrest, or jeopardize the safety or well-being of any individuals. Also, please do not engage in words or conduct which jeopardizes the rule of law, particularly as it applies to these proceedings in this courtroom. This is a request I’m making. I’m not making it an order. But now that I have made the request, if I were to be handed something like this again in the future, I have to take a closer look at it.”
Trump was present for the proceedings in court on Tuesday, so he probably heard this, although that didn’t seem to much affect his considerations.
Elsewhere, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other Republicans have pursued materials like communications involving two formerly top investigators on Bragg’s team who worked on the Trump investigation. It may even now be still continuing despite the criminal charges, since the underlying probe also covered issues like the allegedly deceptive statements of value that are driving the New York state attorney general’s civil lawsuit against Trump, which is set for trial in October and in which Letitia James, who occupies that top law enforcement spot, is seeking hundreds of millions in financial penalties while targeting Trump and adult children of his, among other interests.