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Trump takes a dig at judge in election-related lawsuit, putting the caution against “inflammatory” remarks to the test.

In an early Monday post on Truth Social, Donald Trump launched a scathing critique against the judge overseeing his latest criminal case, pushing the boundaries of her recent caution against making “inflammatory” remarks about those involved in the case.

Just before 1 a.m., Trump took to Truth Social to condemn U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan as “highly partisan” and “unfairly biased.” He cited a statement Chutkan had made during the sentencing of an individual involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol breach as evidence. Trump asserted that Chutkan harbors a desire to see him imprisoned, stating, “She clearly wants me incarcerated.”

Trump was alluding to Chutkan’s comments made during the October 2022 sentencing of Christine Priola from Ohio. Chutkan, before handing down a 15-month jail sentence to Priola, expressed concern about the threat posed by the January 6 mob to the peaceful transfer of power. She remarked, “I’ve seen the video footage, the flags, the signs, and the attire. The individuals who stormed the Capitol did so out of unwavering loyalty to an individual, not to the Constitution, which many before me seem to lack an understanding of; not to the principles of this nation, and not to the ideals of democracy. It’s a blind allegiance to a single person who, incidentally, remains at liberty to this day.”

Chutkan’s sentiments echo the views of other judges who have sentenced those involved in the January 6 riot. Many judges have expressed discomfort with penalizing rioters who were misled by falsehoods propagated by Trump, and who were directed to the Capitol under the notion that their nation was under threat and their livelihoods were endangered. However, Chutkan stands out as the first of these judges to find Trump himself as a defendant in her court, facing charges of attempting to undermine the 2020 election with falsehoods and a scheme to violate the constitution, as laid out by special counsel Jack Smith.

During a hearing on Friday, Chutkan, who was appointed to the bench in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama following unanimous Senate confirmation, stressed her commitment to impartiality during Trump’s trial. She cautioned Trump and his legal representative, John Lauro, against making public statements that could taint the integrity of the proceedings. She warned that such inflammatory remarks might lead her to expedite the criminal trial.

Trump seemed to challenge this notion on Sunday by amplifying an associate’s criticism of Chutkan, falsely accusing her of “admitting” to a plan to interfere in the 2024 election to his detriment. Nonetheless, his Monday morning post marked the first direct criticism of Chutkan since the hearing on Friday.

Trump has consistently called for Chutkan’s immediate recusal without a clear foundation, a viewpoint that Lauro has not adopted and has suggested is premature. Lauro has not immediately responded to requests for comments.

Chutkan isn’t alone on the bench in emphasizing the contrast in accountability between those who partook in the January 6, 2021 Capitol breach and Trump, who spent months propagating unfounded claims of election fraud and encouraging his supporters to converge on Washington, eventually directing them toward the Capitol.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, during the November 2021 sentencing of defendant John Lolos, highlighted the impact of falsehoods on the rioters’ actions. He questioned the fairness of sentencing Lolos to 30 days in jail while those who played a role in fostering the conditions leading to the events of January 6 have yet to face repercussions for their words and actions.

Chutkan also delivered a pointed message to other Republican leaders, asserting that defending one man’s interests, who is well aware of his loss, instead of upholding the Constitution, does not constitute patriotism or standing up for America.

Smith’s most recent charges against Trump for obstructing Congress on January 6 are replete with claims that Trump knowingly deceived his supporters prior to their march on Congress.

In his recent arraignment, Trump agreed not to intimidate or harass witnesses, court officials, or impede the administration of justice. It remains uncertain how Chutkan will respond if she deems Trump to have violated these conditions.

Prosecutors have previously highlighted a broader social media post by Trump where he threatened to retaliate against those who challenged him, as well as his posts targeting Mike Pence, a GOP competitor who is anticipated to be a key witness in the case. Chutkan referenced these posts when she issued her warning in court the previous week.

Judges faced with breaches of pretrial terms can impose stricter conditions, including constraints on social media usage, travel bans, and even pretrial detention. Such conditions could be particularly stringent for a defendant who is simultaneously leading his party’s primary race for the presidential nomination. Chutkan, however, has pledged not to allow his candidacy to impact her decision-making and has vowed to treat him just like any other defendant.

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