DOJ’s reply on its bid for a gag on Donald Trump has a number of the things you’d expect.
It has a list of the seven people Trump has threatened since the last filing on this, including Trump’s vicious attack on Mark Milley.
With each filing, DOJ just keeps adding to the list of people Trump either incited or targeted.
The government also notes that Trump may have broken the law — or claimed he did, for political benefit — when he claimed to have purchased a Glock.
9 The defendant recently was caught potentially violating his conditions of release, and tried to walk that back in similar fashion. In particular, on September 25, the defendant’s campaign spokesman posted a video of the defendant in the Palmetto State Armory, a Federal Firearms Licensee in Summerville, South Carolina. The video posted by the spokesman showed the defendant holding a Glock pistol with the defendant’s likeness etched into it. The defendant stated, “I’ve got to buy one,” and posed for pictures with the FFL owners. The defendant’s spokesman captioned the video Tweet with the representation that the defendant had purchased the pistol, exclaiming, “President Trump purchases a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!” The spokesman subsequently deleted the post and retracted his statement, saying that the defendant “did not purchase or take possession of the firearm” (a claim directly contradicted by the video showing the defendant possessing the pistol). See Fox News, Trump campaign walks back claim former president purchased Glock amid questions about legality (Sept. 25, 2023), https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-campaign-walks-back-claim-former-presidentpurchased-glock-amid-questions-about-legality (accessed Sept. 26, 2023). Despite his spokesperson’s retraction, the Defendant then re-posted a video of the incident posted by one of his followers with the caption, “MY PRESIDENT Trump just bought a Golden Glock before his rally in South Carolina after being arrested 4 TIMES in a year.”
The defendant either purchased a gun in violation of the law and his conditions of release, or seeks to benefit from his supporters’ mistaken belief that he did so. It would be a separate federal crime, and thus a violation of the defendant’s conditions of release, for him to purchase a gun while this felony indictment is pending. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(n).
Notably, the government points to 18 USC 922 as its basis to claim it would be illegal for Trump to purchase a gun. His release conditions don’t prohibit him from owning a gun.
Trump won’t be charged on this. Which means it’ll be another thing Hunter Biden will use to show selective prosecution.
But I’m most interested DOJ’s rebuttal to Trump’s claim that Jack Smith improperly connected Trump to January 6 in his press conference announcing the indictment when he said Trump had, “fueled . . . an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy.”
The defendant seeks to deflect responsibility for his own prejudicial statements by claiming that the indictment in this case was “false and derogatory” and that the Special Counsel’s brief statement upon its unsealing was prejudicial because it ascribed to the defendant responsibility for the events of January 6, 2021—which, according to the defendant’s opposition, the indictment does not allege. ECF No. 60 at 19-20. The defendant is wrong.
[T]he indictment does in fact clearly link the defendant and his actions to the events of January 6. It alleges—and at trial, the Government will prove—the following:
- The defendant’s criminal conspiracies targeted, in part, the January 6 certification and capitalized “on the widespread mistrust the [d]efendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud,” ECF No. 1 at ¶4.
- In advance of January 6, the defendant “urged his supporters to travel to Washington on the day of the certification proceeding, tweeting, ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!,’” id. at ¶87. He then “set the false expectation that the Vice President had the authority to and might use his ceremonial role at the certification proceeding to reverse the election outcome in [his] favor, id. at ¶96.
- Then, despite his awareness “that the crowd [ ] on January 6 was going to be ‘angry,’” id. at ¶98, on the morning of January 6, the defendant “decided to single out the Vice President in public remarks,” id. at ¶102, and “repeated knowingly false claims of election fraud to gathered supporters, falsely told them that the Vice President had the authority to and might alter the election results, and directed them to the Capitol to obstruct the certification proceeding and exert pressure on the Vice President to take the fraudulent actions he had previously refused,” id. at ¶10d.
- Finally, on the afternoon of January 6, after “a large and angry crowd—including many individuals whom the [d]efendant had deceived into believing the Vice President could and might change the election results—violently attacked the Capitol and halted the proceeding,” the defendant exploited the disruption in furtherance of his efforts to obstruct the certification, id. at ¶10e.
In short, the indictment alleges that the defendant’s actions, including his campaign of knowingly false claims of election fraud, led to the events of January 6.
This is a very neat formula of the things Trump did to stoke the violence. The lies provided foundation for the rally which provided an opportunity to target Pence which provided the cause to send mobs to the Capitol. DOJ has been working on laying out this formula for 26 months. Here they lay it out in a few short paragraphs, one way to read a complex indictment.
More remarkably, it comes as part of a gag request that — while it mentioned Trump’s attacks on Pence after the fact — didn’t focus on Trump’s dangerous targeting of Pence to gin up the mob. The initial gag request looked at all the other lives Trump ruined by targeting them. But it didn’t focus on Pence.
Here, once again in the response to an invitation by Trump to do so, DOJ neatly lays out how Trump’s attacks on Pence were a key tool he used to direct the mob.