Posts tagged with "Former President Donald Trump"

Trump parrots Hitler—calling foes ‘Vermin,’ saying critics will be ‘Crushed,’ envisioning ‘Detention Camps’

November 15, 2023

Former President Donald Trump said that his political opponents were the most pressing and pernicious threat facing America during a campaign event in New Hampshire on Saturday, November 12—and that he would root them out like vermin, reports The New York Times.

Trump’s campaign rejected criticism that he was echoing the language of fascist dictators Hitler and Mussolini—then doubled down: It said on Monday that the “sad, miserable existence” of those who made such comparisons would be “crushed” when Trump was back in the White House.

“Those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome,” a campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said, “and their sad, miserable existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House.”

At the Saturday campaign event, Trump vowed to “root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.” He then said his political opposition was the most pr

“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within,” Trump said. “Our threat is from within.”

What’s more, Trump said he is planning a widespread expansion of his first administration’s hardline immigration policies if he is elected to a second term in 2024, including rounding up undocumented immigrants already in the United States and placing them in detention camps to await deportation, a source familiar with the plans confirmed to CNN.

An earlier version of Cheung’s statement—in which he said the “entire existence” of those critics would be crushed—was reported by The Washington Post on Sunday. Cheung said on Monday that he edited his initial statement “seconds” after sending it, and the Post amended its article to include both versions.

Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, said in a statement that Trump at his Veterans Day speech had “parroted the autocratic language” of “dictators many U.S. veterans gave their lives fighting, in order to defeat exactly the kind of un-American ideas Trump now champions.”

Though violent language was a feature of Trump’s last two campaigns, his speeches have grown more extreme as he tries to win a second term.

At recent rallies and events, Trump has compared immigrants coming over the border to Hannibal Lecter, the fictional serial killer and cannibal from the horror movie “The Silence of the Lambs.”

He called on shoplifters to be shot in a speech in California and, over the weekend in New Hampshire, he again called for drug dealers to be subject to the death penalty. He has insinuated that a military general whom he appointed as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be executed for treason.

Last month, Trump told a right-wing website that migrants were “poisoning the blood of our country”—a phrase recalling white supremacist ideology and comments made by Hitler in his manifesto “Mein Kampf.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Ruling against Trump cuts to the heart of his identity

September 28, 2023

Nearly every aspect of former President Donald Trump’s life and career has been under scrutiny from the justice system over the past several years, leaving him under criminal indictment in four jurisdictions, reports The New York Times.

But a ruling on Tuesday by a New York State judge that Trump had committed fraud by inflating the value of his real estate holdings went to the heart of the identity that made him a national figure and launched his political career, the Times says.

By effectively branding him a cheat, the decision in the civil proceeding by Justice Arthur F. Engoron of the Supreme Court 1st Judicial District in New York undermined Trump’s relentlessly promoted narrative of himself as a master of the business world—the persona that he used to enmesh himself in the fabric of popular culture and that eventually gave him the stature and resources to reach the White House.

The ruling was the latest remarkable development to test the resilience of Trump’s appeal as he seeks to win election again despite the weight of evidence against him in cases spanning his years as a New York developer, his 2016 campaign, his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, and his handling of national security secrets after leaving office.

The federal case accusing him of plotting to retain power despite his defeat at the polls three years ago paints him as a threat to democracy, as does a similar prosecution in Georgia. The classified documents case portrays him as willing to obstruct justice to cover up a reckless disregard for the laws that govern the handling of such documents. A New York prosecution stemming from hush-money payments to a porn star in the closing stages of the 2016 election sets out evidence of the kind of political skullduggery he professes to want to eradicate from Washington, D.C.

So far none of those cases has discernibly hurt Mr. Trump’s campaign in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, which polls suggest he is leading by large margins. In fact, polls show the indictments have consolidated his support among Republicans. The prosecutions have helped his fund-raising.

Whether the effect of Justice Engoron’s ruling is any different remains to be seen. But his finding imperils both Trump’s public image and his business empire. The former president now faces not only the prospect of having to pay $250 million in damages, but he could also lose properties like Trump Tower that are inextricably linked to his brand.

anTrump’s lawyer in the case, Christopher Kise, called the ruling “outrageous” and said the decision would be appealed. He called it “completely disconnected from the facts and governing law.”

The decision seeks to nationalize one of the most successful corporate empires in the United States and seize control of private property—all while acknowledging there is zero evidence of any default, breach, late payment or any complaint of harm,” Kise said.

Trump, himself, in a lengthy post on his social media site, called the statements in the ruling about fraud “ridiculous and untrue,” and said the decision was a political attack against him in the midst of the presidential campaign.

In all of Trump’s recent legal travails, his typical tactics for self-preservation have largely failed him. When cornered, Mr. Trump has traditionally sought to bluster his way out of trouble—falling back on exaggerations or outright lies to escape.

These methods have served him well in the business and political arenas, where there is often little price to pay for bending the truth and where voters tend not to distinguish between gradations of prevarications. However, they have been much less effective so far in the courts, which operate according to strict standards of veracity and staid and sober rules.

In straightforward terms, Justice Engoron punctured Trump’s bubble of protective falsehoods about the way he conducted his business: “In defendants’ world,” Justice Engoron wrote, “rent-regulated apartments are the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air.

“That is a fantasy world,” the judge went on, “not the real world.”

Trump’s other weapon of choice—bullying his adversaries—has not fared much better in the courts. This month, federal prosecutors asked the judge overseeing his federal election interference case to impose a gag order on him, citing his “near daily” social media attacks on people involved in the proceeding and the threats they were generating.

Trump blew past an early warning from the judge in that case, Tanya S. Chutkan, to be mindful about what he said concerning the witnesses, prosecutors, and potential jurors in the case. But if he thought he could simply muscle through the judge’s admonition, prosecutors called his bluff.

Now, the Times reports, Trump has placed himself on what could be a collision course with the judge that could result in his public statements being curbed in the middle of his presidential campaign.

Trump is being constrained by the very system he often uses to try to stymie opposition: the courts. In the last two years, Trump has filed a blizzard of legal actions against news networks, political critics, and even the Pulitzer Prize committee. Several of those cases have been dismissed.

But Justice Engoron’s decision hinted at a trait that has long defined Trump’s personality and approach to doing business. He has always sought to create his own reality, often getting away with it— up to a point.

In a 2006 lawsuit that Trump filed against the journalist Timothy O’Brien, the author of the book “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” which estimated that Trump’s net worth was no greater than $250 million, the future president sat for a deposition and made a surprising statement about how he calculates the value of his holdings.

“My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings—even my own feelings, but I try,” Trump said.

A judge ultimately dismissed his suit.

Research contact: @nytimes

Trump tells gun store he’d like to buy a Glock, raising legal questions

September 27, 2023

Officials have increasingly voiced concerns about threats of violence related to the former President Donald Trump’s trials, as he faces charges that would make it illegal for a store to sell him a firearm, reports The New York Times.

A spokesperson for Trump posted a video on Monday, September 25—showing him at a gun shop in South Carolina and (falsely) declaring that he had just bought a Glock pistol.

The post on X, formerly known as Twitter, included video of Trump, who is facing four criminal indictments. He looked over the dullish gold firearm, a special Trump-edition Glock that depicts his likeness and says “Trump 45th,” as he visited the Palmetto State Armory outlet in Summerville, South Carolina. “I want to buy one,” he said twice in the video.

“President Trump buys a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!” his spokesperson, Steven Cheung, wrote in his post. The video showed Trump among a small crowd of people and posing with a man holding the gun. A voice can be heard saying, “That’s a big seller.”

The statement immediately set off an uproar and prompted questions about whether such a purchase would be legal. Trump is under indictment on dozens of felony counts in two different cases related to his efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and to his possession of reams of classified documents after he left office.

There were also questions about whether the store could sell a firearm to Trump, if people there knew that he was under indictment.

Federal prosecutors are asking a federal judge in the case that accuses Trump of breaking several laws in his efforts to stay in office to impose a limited gag order after he made repeated threats against prosecutors and witnesses in various cases against him. Trump’s lawyers were under a late-Monday-night deadline to respond to the government’s request for the order.

But within two hours of the initial post on social media, spokesperson Steven Cheung deleted his post, and issued a statement saying, “President Trump did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He simply indicated that he wanted one.”

A man who answered a phone registered to the shop’s owner hung up when a reporter called. A salesperson at the Summerville location, who declined to give her name or answer additional questions, said Trump had not bought a gun.

Trump has increasingly been faulted by prosecutors, security experts, and others for his language on his social media site, Truth Social, in relation to his trials.

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for instance, officials have increasingly voiced concerns about threats of violence, as Trump and his allies have targeted the agency.

Under the main federal gun law, 18 U.S.C. 922, it is illegal for merchants to sell firearms to people who are under indictment for crimes carrying sentences of more than a year. Indicted defendants also are barred from shipping or receiving any weapons that have crossed state lines. But the statute does not appear to prohibit people under indictment from simply buying or possessing weapons.

Research contact: @nytimes

Trump has been privately encouraging G.O.P. lawmakers to impeach Biden

September 13, 2023

On a sweeping patio overlooking the golf course at his private club in Bedminster, New Jersey, former President Donald Trump dined Sunday night with a close political ally, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), reports The New York Times.  

Over halibut and Diet Cokes, Greene brought up an issue of considerable interest to Mr. Trump—the push by House Republicans to impeach his likely opponent in next year’s election.

“I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment,” Greene said in a brief phone interview with the Times.

Trump’s dinner with Greene came just two nights before House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced his decision on Tuesday, September 12, to order the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, under intense pressure from his right flank.

Over the past several months, Trump has kept a close watch on House Republicans’ momentum towards impeaching Biden. Trump has talked regularly by phone with members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and other congressional Republicans who pushed for impeachment, according to a person close to the former president who was not authorized to publicly discuss the conversations. Trump has encouraged the effort both privately and publicly.

Greene, who has introduced articles of impeachment against Biden, said she told Trump that she wanted the impeachment inquiry to be “long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden.”

She would not say what Trump said in response, but she said her ultimate goal was to have a “long list of names”—people whom she claimed were co-conspirators involved in Biden family crimes. She said she was confident Trump would win back the White House in 2024 and that she wanted “to go after every single one of them and use the Department of Justice to prosecute them.”

A person familiar with Trump’s thinking said that, despite his eagerness to see an inquiry move forward, the former president has not been twisting McCarthy’s arm. Trump has been far more aggressive in pushing several members to wipe his own impeachment record clean, the person said—potentially by getting Congress to take the unprecedented step of expunging his two impeachments from the House record.

Trump has not been expressing concern about the possibility that the McCarthy impeachment effort might backfire and benefit Biden, according to two people with direct knowledge of his private statements over several months. Instead, he wondered to an ally why there had been no movement on impeaching Biden once he learned that the House was back in session.

When asked for comment, Trump’s communications director, Steven Cheung, pointed to the former president’s public statements about impeaching Biden. The former president’s public commentary on the possibility of a Biden impeachment has escalated from wistful musings about the Justice Department’s supposed inaction to explicit demands.

“They persecuted us and yet Joe Biden is a stone-cold criminal, caught dead to right, and nothing happens to him. Forget the family. Nothing happens to him,” the former president said at a rally in March.

Research contact: @nytimes

Giuliani loses defamation lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers

August 31, 2023

A federal judge has determined that Rudy Giuliani has forfeited the defamation lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers against him,—a decision that could lead to significant penalties for Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, reports CNN.

Giuliani lost the case because he struggled to maintain access to his electronic records—partly because of the cost—and couldn’t adequately respond to subpoenas from attorneys for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss as the case moved forward.

The mother and daughter are asking for unspecified damages after they say they suffered emotional and reputational harm, as well as personal endangerment, after Giuliani singled them out when he made false claims of ballot tampering in Georgia after the 2020 election.

A trial to determine the amount of damages for which Giuliani will be held liable will be set for later this year or early 2024, Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court said on Wednesday,  August 30.

The damages could amount to thousands if not millions of dollars.

Giuliani already has been sanctioned almost $90,000 for Freeman’s and Moss’s attorneys’ fees in the case, and Howell says the former New York mayor may be saddled with additional similar sanctions.

Giuliani has been struggling financially, buried under 2020 election legal proceedings, a new criminal case against him in Georgia related to efforts to overturn the election, and other matters. He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges in Georgia and has been released from jail on bond.

Late last month, Giuliani conceded that he made defamatory statements about Freeman and Moss and that he didn’t contest their accusations that he had smeared them after the 2020 election.

Giuliani’s statements about them, which Freeman and Moss say are false, included calling them ballot-stuffing criminal conspirators. Giuliani also drew attention to a video of them after the election, which was first posted by the Trump campaign and showed part of a security tape of ballot counting in Atlanta. On social media, his podcast, and other broadcasts, Giuliani said the video showed suitcases filled with ballots, when it did not capture anything but normal ballot processing, according to the defamation lawsuit and a state investigation.

Georgia election officials have debunked Giuliani’s accusations of fraud during the ballot counting.

The mother-daughter duo has been candid about how their lives were impacted by Trump and Giuliani’s claims that they were guilty of election fraud.

“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?” Freeman said last year in video testimony to the House select committee that investigated the events surrounding the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

Moss said her privacy was destroyed when she learned that Giuliani had accused her mother, Freeman, of passing some kind of USB drive to her like “vials of cocaine or heroin” as part of an elaborate vote-stealing scheme.

In reality, the object in question was a ginger mint.

In his controversial call when he asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find votes to help him overturn his 2020 loss, Trump attacked Moss 18 times, and the former president called Freeman a “professional vote scammer” and a “hustler.”

“I felt horrible. I felt like it was all my fault,” Moss said during her testimony last year. “I just felt like it was, it was my fault for putting my family in this situation.”

She added that she and her mother were afraid to go outside or to the supermarket after getting threats “wishing death upon me, telling me that, you know, I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like—‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.’”

During Giuliani’s disinformation campaign about the vote in Georgia, the FBI recommended Freeman leave her home for her own safety, according to the lawsuit.

Research contact: @CNN

Trump’s historic mug shot released in Georgia election case

August 28, 2023

Inmate No. P01135809—that’s how former President Donald Trump of Palm Beach, Florida, is listed in the jail records of Fulton County, Georgia, following Thursday night’s 20-minute booking, reports Axios.

Trump has now made history as not only the first U.S. president—sitting or former —to face criminal charges, but the first to have his mug shot taken.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office released the first-ever mug shot of former Trump following his surrender to authorities in the Georgia election interference case.

Although it’s Trump’s fourth indictment, he managed to dodge taking mug shots in the other cases. But Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat warned ahead of the Georgia indictment that authorities there intended to follow regular procedures when it came time to book the former president.

Trump described himself as 6 foot, 3 inches and 215 pounds—24 pounds less than the White House doctor reported in 2018. He’s listed as having blue eyes, and blond or strawberry hair.

Moments after his mug shot was taken on Thursday, August 24, Trump posted the image to his Truth Social platform, along with a fund-raising link.

Later, the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner shared the mug shot and a link to his website on X, formerly known as Twitter, in his first post to the platform in more than two years.

Trump told Newsmax in an interview aboard his private plane on the way back from his booking that it been a “terrible experience,” but added that he was “treated very nicely.”

He told Fox News Digital late Thursday that Georgia officials had “insisted on a mug shot and I agreed to do that,” which he said was “not a comfortable feeling—especially when you’ve done nothing wrong.”

The notorious Fulton County Jail, where Trump’s mug shot was taken, also has now made history as the first institution to ever take a U.S. president’s mug shot.

The detention center, known among locals as “Rice Street,” has been criticized for its dangerous conditions and detainee deaths.

Trump faces a total of 13 counts related to alleged efforts to subvert Georgia’s 2020 election results, including violating Georgia’s racketeering law, or RICO.

Trump’s bail was set at $200,000 earlier in the week, adding to his already considerable legal fees.

Trump’s Georgia trial is also the first one in which he is defendant that could be televised.

Research contact: @axios

Mark Meadows says Trump left top secret Iran war plans on couch at Bedminster golf resort

August 22, 2023

Ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wrote in a draft of his memoir that his old boss, former President Donald Trump, left a top-secret Iran war plan on a couch at his New Jersey golf resort during an interview with a ghost writer, reports the New York Daily News.

Indeed, Meadows told prosecutors from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team that he heard about the shocking incident by the writer and a publicist; but soft-pedaled it in the final published version of his book because it could be “problematic” for Trump, ABC News reported.

“On th couch in front of [Trump’s)] desk, there’s a four-page report typed up by (Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley) himself,” the draft read, according to ABC. “It shows the general’s own plan to attack Iran, something he urged President Trump to do more than once during his presidency.”

Trump has been charged with improperly showing the document to the underlings as part of a superseding indictment to the classified documents case.

He was already charged with mishandling dozens of documents that he took with him when he left the White House and defying official efforts to get them back.

Trump allegedly brought the Iran war plan to New Jersey and whipped it out to show the underlings during an interview in summer 2021 as Meadows collected material for his book, “The Chief’s Chief.”

Considering it important ammunition in his odd feud with Milley, Trump was already accused of boasting to the aides that the document proved his point that Milley was a warmonger.

In so doing, Trump admitted that the document remained classified and that he shouldn’t be showing it—effectively contradicting his own oft-repeated claims he had declassified all the documents.

“It is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information,” Trump said, according to an audiotape of the meeting. “Look, look at this. This was done by the military and given to me. As president I could have declassified, but now I can’t.”

The new bombshell suggests Trump was even more reckless than previously known with the secret plan, which would be of immeasurable value to geopolitical enemies or the United States; as well as Iran-hating allies like Israel and particularly Saudi Arabia.

Meadows told prosecutors that Trump never told him he had declassified large numbers of secret documents—contradicting his former boss’ claims about the documents. He also shot down the outlandish claim that Trump had a so-called “standing order” to declassify any documents he took away from the White House.

The report did not clear up uncertainty about Meadows’s role in the various prosecutions of Trump.

Research contact: @NYDailyNews

Trump criticizes judge after he’s warned against ‘inflammatory statements’

August 15, 2023

Former President Donald Trump has criticized the judge presiding over his 2020 election case, just days after she warned him against making any “inflammatory statements” that could intimidate witnesses or prejudice the jury pool, reports The Hill.

In a statement posted early morning on Monday, August 14, on Truth Social, Trump called U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan “highly partisan” and “very biased & unfair.”

He added, “She obviously wants me behind bars.”

In a separate post, he pointed to a statement Chutkan reportedly made in sentencing a January 6, 2021, rioter, which, according to Trump, showed Chutkan’s bias against him.

“I see the videotapes. I see the footage of the flags and the signs that people were carrying and the hats that they were wearing, and the garb. And the people who mobbed that Capitol were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man, not to the Constitution, of which most of the people who come before me seem woefully ignorant; not to the ideals of this county, and not to the principles of democracy. It’s a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day,” Trump wrote in all capital letters, quoting Chutkan.

On Friday, Chutkan warned both sides of the case to take “special care” to avoid making any statements that could intimidate witnesses or prejudice the jury pool—including, she said, making any ambiguous statements that could be interpreted that way. Chutkan said such remarks would compel her to speed up the trial.

“The more a party makes inflammatory statements about this case,” Chutkan said at a hearing, “the greater the urgency will be that we proceed to trial quickly.”

“I intend to ensure the orderly administration of justice in this case as I would with any other case,” she said, later adding, “I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of these proceedings.”

Trump, the front-runner in the 2024 G.O.P. presidential primary race, has repeatedly attacked Chutkan since Special Counsel Jack Smith announced the former president would be indicted on four counts related to his efforts to stay in power after the 2020 election.

Prosecutors are seeking a January 2 trial date.

Research contact: @thehill

Judge Chutkan says Trump’s right to free speech in January 6 case is ‘not absolute’

August 14, 2023

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said on Friday August 11, that she plans to issue a protective order over the handling of evidence in the Trump 2020 election interference case—saying it’s needed to protect witnesses or other interference in the trial, reports CNN.

The former president has a right to free speech, but that right is “not absolute,” the judge said at a hearing on Monday, August 7.

“Mr. Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech, but that right is not absolute. In a criminal case such as this one, the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules,” Chutkan said.

“Without a protective order, a party could release information that could taint the jury pool, intimidate witnesses, or others involved in some aspect of the case, or otherwise interfere with the “process of justice,” she added.

This is the first hearing before Chutkan. According to CNN, she already has shown a habit of responding quickly and tersely on the docket to debates between the parties over scheduling. An Obama appointee and former public defender who has overseen several cases regarding the events of January 6, 2021, Chutkan has been outspoken about the harm the U.S. Capitol attack caused to American democracy.

How Chutkan handles the case is likely to serve as a contrast to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in Florida who has been in less of a rush to move proceedings along in the classified documents case against the former president. She already has been heavily scrutinized for what critics say is a favorable treatment of the former president in a previous lawsuit Trump brought last year challenging aspects of the Justice Department’s investigation.

Trump pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election last week. The special counsel said on Thursday that he wants the trial to begin on January 2, 2024—a date that the former president’s team is expected to oppose.

Scope of protective order over evidence

In Friday’s hearing, lawyers are debating the scope of a protective order governing evidence that prosecutors say proves Trump conspired to overturn the election, interrupt Congress, and take away every American citizen’s right to have their vote counted.

Protective orders are a normal part of any criminal case and are typically approved without much drama. In this case, however, the special counsel’s office and Trump’s defense lawyers have battled in court filings over what Trump will be able to discuss publicly.

Among the restrictions the prosecutors are requesting in this case is a rule barring Trump’s lawyers from providing copies of “sensitive” evidence to the former president, including witness interviews and grand jury transcripts from the dozens of witnesses in Trump’s circle who have spoken to prosecutors.

To make their point, prosecutors pointed to Trump’s social media posts since he was indicted last week, including a vague and ominous Truth Social post reading “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” Trump also slammed Chutkan, writing in one all caps post, “There is no way I can get a fair trial with the judge ‘assigned’ to the ridiculous freedom of speech/fair elections case. Everybody knows this and so does she!”

The posts, prosecutors said, emphasized the need for a protective order that would limit whether Trump can discuss or share evidence on his social media accounts during the course of the legal case.

“If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details—or, for example, grand jury transcripts—obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case,” prosecutors wrote.

For their part, Trump’s legal team proposed less restrictive rules, alleging that prosecutors are on a politically motivated campaign to restrict his First Amendment rights. His defense lawyers pushed back on prosecutors’ definition of “sensitive” material that should be subject to additional rules, and asked to expand who can access certain evidentiary materials.

If Trump were to violate any eventual protective order Chutkan issues, he could be held in contempt.

Research contact: @CNN

Georgia Supreme Court rejects Trump petition to block election probe

July 19, 2023

The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed former president Donald Trump’s petition to block an Atlanta-area district attorney from investigating him over allegations of 2020 election interference and to throw out evidence gathered by a special purpose grand jury in the case, reports The Washington Post.

Trump’s attorneys had asked Georgia’s top court late on Thursday, July 13, to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) and her office from further probing whether Trump and his allies broke the law when they sought to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in the state.

The Trump motion also sought to quash the final report of the special grand jury. It asked the Supreme Court to “stay all proceedings related to and flowing from the special purpose grand jury’s investigation”—a request made just weeks before Willis is expected to announce a charging decision in the high-profile case.

But in an opinion published late Monday, July 17, the nine-member Supreme Court dismissed the petition, writing that Trump had not proved the “extraordinary circumstances” that would warrant an intervention by the state’s top court. The decision said that the petition lacked proof that his constitutional rights had been violated; that “the facts or the law necessary” to remove Willis from the case exist; or that other courts had rejected his claims.

Trump’s Georgia-based lawyers—Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg, and Jennifer Little—filed near-identical petitions before the Georgia Supreme Court and Fulton County Superior Court last week repeating arguments, made in a March filing seeking to block Willis from the case and quash the special grand jury findings. That earlier motion remains pending before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury.

In its opinion, the Georgia Supreme Court appeared critical of the Trump team’s decision to take its case directly to the state’s top court instead of first arguing the case before a lower court judge. “A petitioner cannot invoke this Court’s original jurisdiction as a way to circumvent the ordinary channels for obtaining the relief he seeks without making some showing that he is being prevented fair access to these ordinary channels,” the opinion reads.

The Supreme Court noted that Trump did not ask it to “compel” McBurney to issue a ruling. “Instead, he is asking this Court to step in and itself decide the motions currently pending,” the opinion reads.

“This is not the sort of relief that this Court affords, at least absent extraordinary circumstances that [Trump] has not shown are present here,” the court writes.

Justices for Georgia’s Supreme Court are elected for staggered six-year terms in nonpartisan elections, but the governor can fill vacancies by appointment. Eight of the nine were initially appointed by Republican governors.

Trump’s petition filed Friday, July 14, in Fulton County Superior Court remains pending. It was not immediately clear how the top court’s opinion might affect that case, if at all. Findling, Trump’s lead attorney in Georgia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Willis has indicated she could pursue indictments in the coming weeks—a case that is likely to include evidence gathered by the special grand jury. The panel, which did not have the power to issue indictments, issued a final reportthat remains largely sealed; but is believed to have recommended multiple indictments.

The county district attorney wrote in a letter in April to local law enforcement and other officials that she planned to announce her charging decision between July 11 and September 1—dates that coincided with the summer term of the latest Fulton County grand juries.

Willis appeared to narrow that window even further in another letter to Fulton County officials, announcing that much of her staff would work remotely at least four days a week between July 31 and August 18—dates coinciding with grand jury work. She also asked that no in-person proceedings be scheduled at the county’s courthouse during that period.

Last week, two grand jury panels were sworn in to hear criminal cases—one of which is likely to hear the election interference case.

Research contact: @washingtonpost