DOJ reiterates request for gag order on Trump in wake of incendiary social media posts

October 1, 2023

Former President Donald Trump recently took to social media to suggest that in eras gone by, those guilty of the conduct of which he accused retiring Gen. Mark Milley would face the death penalty, and as a result, the Justice Department is doubling down on its claim that a gag order is required in his Jan. 6-related case, as Fox News reports.

Prosecutors had already requested such an order earlier in the month, but Trump's statements on Truth Social have only heightened their belief that restrictions on his speech is necessary during the pendency of his case before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Amid Milley's impending retirement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Trump took to his Truth Social platform to offer his rather unflattering take on the general's tenure.

Of specific consternation to Trump was a reported phone call between Milley and his Chinese counterparts in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest.

In his fiery posts on the topic, Trump declared that Milley “turned out to be a Woke train wreck who, if the Fake News reporting is correct, was actually dealing with China to give them a heads-up on the thinking of the President of the United States.”

It was what Trump wrote next, however, that really seemed to get the attention of DOJ prosecutors, who used it as evidence that the previously requested gag order is indeed essential and should be granted.

“This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH!” Trump said of Milley's supposed discussion with Chinese officials.

As a result of the comment, Special Counsel Jack Smith's team is now pushing even harder for Trump to face limitations on what he can say while his case continues.

“The defendant should not be permitted to continue to try this case in the court of public opinion rather than in the court of law, and thereby undermine the fairness and integrity of this proceeding,” government lawyers told Chutkan in their filing.

It was not just members of the prosecution team who took issue with Trump's posts, however, with a number of his opponents in the GOP primary race also going public with their disdain, as Fox News noted separately.

Former Vice President Mike Pence condemned Trump's remarks, saying, “There is no call for that kind of language directed toward someone who's worn the uniform of the United States and served with such distinction.”

Joining in the chorus of criticism was former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who said, “To suggest that Gen. Milley should be executed is inexcusable and dangerous. While some will excuse this latest outrage as Trump just being Trump, the fact is that his statement endangers people and is an insult to those who serve in the military.”

Milley, for his part, told CBS News, “I wish those comments had not been made, and I'll take appropriate measures to ensure my safety and the safety of my family.”

Whether the statements will have any impact on the DOJ's success in securing a gag order against Trump in the case before Judge Chutkan, however, only time will tell.