Trump’s risky game dragging other Republicans in New York trial circus could backfire

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The atmosphere intensifies at the New York hush-money trial, where an increasing number of Republican lawmakers make personal appearances to support former President Donald Trump, despite him being under a gag order. This group includes Senator J.D. Vance, House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senator Tommy Tuberville, and former Trump critic Vivek Ramaswamy among others, who risk tarnishing their reputations to back Trump, the presumed presidential candidate. Their visits are seen as attempts to exert more pressure on the proceedings and to voice what Trump cannot.

Speaking on behalf of Trump

Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, these politicians consistently repeat his longstanding assertions. Last week, Judge Juan Merchan fined Trump for another violation of the gag order and warned of potential jail time for future violations. Although Trump has since limited his own public comments, his critiques are still disseminated through his allies, who act as his spokespersons, amplifying pressure on the trial participants. A recent CNN video highlights the similarity of their speeches.

Despite a gag order from Judge Juan Merchan against Trump, some Republican politicians visiting Trump have openly ignored these restrictions
Speaker Mike Johnson, courtesy of Mike Johnson X official

Central to their message is the concern over how the six-week-long New York trial might impact Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump, who has had to balance court appearances with campaign activities, relies on his allies’ frequent visits and statements to maintain his public presence and mitigate his limited campaign participation. Currently, Trump leads Biden in the presidential race.

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The gag order prevents Trump to speak on his own

Despite a gag order from Judge Juan Merchan prohibiting Donald Trump from disparaging the witnesses, the judge’s family, and the jury, some Republican politicians visiting Trump have openly ignored these restrictions.

Clear sign of support

For instance, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) appeared to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the jury members, suggesting they might not be genuine Americans.

“I am disappointed in looking at the American citizens— the supposedly American citizens in that courtroom,” Tuberville said.

Last week, Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) made derogatory comments about the judge’s daughter outside the courtroom. Additionally, Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), who accompanied Trump to court on Monday, openly criticized the testifying witness, Michael Cohen, when speaking to the media. Vance also continued his criticisms on the social media platform X.

“The president is expected to sit here for six weeks to listen to the Michael Cohens of the world. I’m now convinced the main goal of this trial is psychological torture,” said Vance. He later attacked Cohen for recording his conversation with Trump, which is not illegal in the state of New York.

Despite a gag order from Judge Juan Merchan against Trump, some Republican politicians visiting Trump have openly ignored these restrictions
Trump in New York, credit: Donald Trump Instagram

Legal experts thinks investigating Trump likely to happen

During an MSNBC discussion, attorney Jeff Jacobovitz suggested that recent comments made by Trump’s supporters could lead Judge Merchan to consider initiating a hearing to investigate whether Trump played a role in coordinating these statements.

“I saw basically the U.S. Congress walking into the courtroom to be there for Donald Trump — not the whole U.S. Congress, obviously,” Jacobovitz told MSNBC. “But we have the gag order that was just approved by the appellate court, and if Trump is feeding any of these congressmen or senators information to talk about, that violates the gag order.”

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He also mentioned that Judge Merchan might delve into the specifics of these interactions, potentially leading to a hearing. This scenario could have implications for other ongoing cases with similar constraints, emphasizing the critical need for strict enforcement of the appellate court’s decision.

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