Speaking out of the side of his mouth like a gangster in a cheap movie from the 1940s, Donald Trump credibly threatened Mark Meadows in code, Special Counsel Jack Smith said. Smith accused Donald Trump of trying to “send an unmistakable and threatening message to a foreseeable witness” in the federal election interference case against him, after it was reported that Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows had been granted immunity.
The claim from Smith was delivered in a special court filing late on Wednesday seeking a limited gag order against Trump. The judge in the case, Tanya Chutkan, issued an identical order last week, but bafflingly decided to suspend it when lawyers for Trump appealed the decision.
Trump, as usual, denies all accusations of any wrongdoing. Instead he continues to insist (through a spokesperson) that, “Wrongful, unethical leaks throughout these Biden witch-hunts only underscore how detrimental these empty cases are to our democracy and system of justice and how vital it is for President Trump’s first amendment rights to not be infringed upon by un-constitutional gag orders.”
Of course, there is far more wrong with that Trump statement than a split infinitive. In fact, the entire statement is composed of nothing but lies.
First, the prosecution has the right to reveal to the press certain facts about the ongoing case. There is nothing “unethical” about it.
Second, President Joe Biden has nothing to do with this or any other criminal case currently being brought against Trump. In all four ongoing criminal prosecutions, grand juries composed of randomly selected men and women from each trial’s jurisdiction handed down recommendations that Trump be indicted on the strength of the evidence presented to them.
Third, these gag orders are not unconstitutional. Unless Trump is arguing that he has the Constitutional right to threaten and intimidate witnesses he should shut up, sit down and keep his stupid mouth shut. Gag orders are used all the time in cases such as this, cases where the defendant uses language specifically calculated to threaten or intimidate witnesses. Trump is lucky he hasn’t been thrown in jail instead. In fact, jail should be the next logical step.
Trump used his third rate social media platform “Truth” Social to deliver the offending threat. In it he said, “I don’t think Mark Meadows would lie about the Rigged and Stollen [sic] 2020 Presidential Election merely for getting IMMUNITY against Prosecution (PERSECUTION!) by Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith,” Trump wrote, in typically quasi-literate, idiosyncratic style.
“BUT,” Trump went on to say, “when you really think about it, after being hounded like a dog for three years, told you’ll be going to jail for the rest of your life, your money and your family will be forever gone, and we’re not at all interested in exposing those that did the RIGGING – If you say BAD THINGS about that terrible ‘MONSTER’, DONALD J TRUMP, we won’t put you in prison, you can keep your family and your wealth, and, perhaps, if you can make up some really horrible ‘STUFF’ a[b]out him, we may very well erect a statue of you in the middle of our decaying and now very violent Capital, Washington DC.”
Of course, none of this nonsense is remotely true. Meadows is not being told to make anything up about Trump. He is being offered immunity for a specific case. Whether or not this is limited immunity, that is, immunity for that case only, or blanket immunity, that is, immunity for all cases, is not yet clear. But the fact remains, Meadows has agreed to testify to the truth. That truth will be corroborated by documented evidence and the testimony of other witnesses. That is all.
The fact that Trump is afraid of that truth is strong evidence suggesting that Trump knows he has done something very wrong. In fact, his entire catalogue of complaints and objections concerning the four criminal trials wouldn’t be necessary if he knew the charges weren’t true.
If Trump were truly innocent then he would be confident that he will be exonerated. After all, people testifying under oath are far likelier to tell the truth than people spreading propaganda through the media. A trial ought to be the very thing Trump would need to clear his name.
In short, Trump ought to have nothing to fear. The fact that he is fearful proves he knows he’s guilty of many grave crimes. It proves he knows he deserves to spend the remainder of his life in prison. And so he will. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.