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Andrew McCabe Rips Expanded Trump Gag Order In Hush Money Case

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe characterized Alvin Bragg’s request for an expanded gag order against Donald Trump as nothing but a “distraction” from the criminal hush money case against the former president.

McCabe, who was fired from his position during the Trump administration after he was caught lying to Justice Department investigators about leaking information to the media regarding the Trump-Russia collusion probe, made his remarks to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan expanded a previous gag order against the 45th president.

The new order prohibits Trump from attacking the family members of Merchan and Bragg. The expanded order came after Trump ripped Merchan’s daughter, who is a Democratic activist, over a picture of Trump behind bars she posted to a social media account.

“Wolf, I’m afraid that the request for clarification by D.A. Bragg is a perfect example of how these gag orders create more of a distraction than they do a productive limitation of…Donald Trump’s speech,” McCabe argued.

He noted further:

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I think each time we’ve had a gag order, whether it’s in the civil case, or the gag order in the D.C. federal case that’s already been litigated — each time the Trump team takes advantage of the imposition of those orders to file appeals to request clarification, to make overheated statements. All of that distracts the prosecutors and the prosecution team away from their main role, which is to stay focused on the case and put together the best case they can. I’m just not convinced that these gag orders are worth the effort that has to go behind.

Guest Gloria Borger noted as well: “And I think Trump and his attorneys know exactly what they’re doing, which is trying to delay everything, because you end up going down a rabbit hole of, what do you do with the gag order? Do you challenge the gag order? Do you challenge the judge? And one thing leads to another, and you’re delaying the trial.”

Trump has made several remarks about Justice Merchan’s daughter in recent days, labeling her a “Rabid Trump Hater” and accusing her of sharing anti-Trump pictures on social media. The New York Times noted that the gag order was extended at Bragg’s request.

“The average observer, must now, after hearing Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” wrote Merchan. “Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

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He continued, “Again, all citizens, called upon to participate in these proceedings, whether as a juror, a witness, or in some other capacity, must now concern themselves not only with their own personal safety, but with the safety and the potential for personal attacks upon their loved ones. That reality cannot be overstated.”

Last week, Judge Merchan rejected the defense’s request to postpone the Manhattan trial until the summer and set the start date for April 15.

This decision echoes a gag order in Trump’s criminal case about election interference in Washington, D.C.

“Given that the eve of trial is upon us, it is without question that the imminency of the risk of harm is now paramount,” Merchan wrote in a four-page decision granting the prosecution’s request for what it deemed a “narrowly tailored” gag order.

“The judge said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s statements have induced fear and necessitated added security measures to protect his targets and investigate threats. Trump’s lawyers fought a gag order, warning it would amount to an unconstitutional and unlawful prior restraint on his free speech rights. Merchan, who had long resisted imposing a gag order, said his obligation to ensure the integrity of the trial outweighed First Amendment concerns,” the Associated Press reported.

In a court filing, Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles said: “President Trump’s political opponents have, and will continue to, attack him based on this case. The voters have the right to listen to President Trump’s unfettered responses to those attacks — not just one side of that debate.”

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