Fix Is In: Trump’s Gag Order to Remain in Place For Debate 

shutterstock.com
shutterstock.com

No longer satisfied with the results of former President Donald Trump’s 34 “felony” convictions, the left has devised a cunning new strategy to ensure Biden has the edge in the upcoming presidential debate. By refusing to lift Trump’s gag order over the case that landed him the convictions, Biden will hold the power to label his opposition as a “felon,” and Trump will be unable to respond, lest he face consequences for defending himself from the false claims. 

And indulgent CNN hosts will drive the “conviction” car as far as it will go before a televised audience. 

On Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals turned down former President Trump’s request to remove the gag order against him regarding the “hush money” trial in which he was “found guilty” of 34 “felony” counts. The court did modify the order to allow Trump to comment about the witnesses. 

Judge Juan Merchan had issued a gag order preventing Trump, who is expected to be the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, from discussing witnesses and the case. Now that the trial is over, Trump mistakenly hoped the gag order, in its entirety, would be lifted. 

Trump’s lawyers argued that the gag order should be revoked because of the upcoming presidential election in November, the first debate with President Biden later this month, and the First Amendment rights of Trump and his supporters. However, the gag order is an essential strategy for Biden’s upcoming debate with his rival. There was no real hope it would be lifted in time for the debate; it gives Biden an edge he desperately needs. 

Merchan, now proven as a willing player in the Biden administration’s lawfare strategy, refused to lift the order. An appeals court backed Merchan in what can only be seen as a political stunt to keep Trump from discussing the case in the debate. The order, of course, will not prevent Biden from his accusations. Instead, Trump will be unable to defend himself from the predictable litany of name-calling and false allegations Biden will resort to in his lack of anything more substantive to say. 

Merchan, perhaps understanding how quickly his conflicts of interest would be revealed, issued the gag order before the trial began. The order prevented Trump from making public statements about witnesses, the lawyers involved in the case, Merchan’s family ties to Biden, court staff, DA staff, and Merchan’s family ties to Biden. Repeated attempts to appeal the gag order were predictably denied.  

This appeal should have been different. Per Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, “the stated bases for the gag order no longer exist” because the trial is over.  

Blanche argued that since the trial’s conclusion, the reasons given by the government and the Court no longer justify limiting President Trump’s First Amendment rights, especially since he is the leading candidate for the 2024 presidential election. He added that Trump’s right to freely campaign is even more important, given comments made by President Biden and his campaign, as well as ongoing public criticism from the government’s witnesses like Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels. Blanche also mentioned the first presidential debate on June 27 as a reason to lift the gag order. 

Legal expert Jonathan Turley weighs in on the court’s decision to uphold the gag order, noting that it is “untethered from any compelling rationale.” Turley said, “You have a local New York judge effectively limiting what the leading presidential candidate can say in the months leading up to an election.” 

John Shu, a constitutional attorney who worked under both Bush administrations, pointed out that some of the most well-known defendants in New York did not face a gag order like Trump was forced to endure. Per Shu, the Manhattan DA’s office has prosecuted many high-profile criminals over the years, including celebrities and gangsters like Lucky Luciano, and they were not subjected to the same restrictions as former President Trump. He also noted that John Gotti was not silenced, either, and notes that regardless of opinions about Trump, “he is not a mobster.” 

Unfortunately for Trump, Biden’s strategy worked the first time around, with the disastrously flawed conviction giving Democrats the chance to refer to him as a “convicted felon,” even if only for alleged paperwork misdemeanors. Now, the strategy seems to yield a second boost for Biden by allowing the President of the United States to attack his challenger unhindered in a debate already skewed in his favor.