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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Opinion

Trump’s threats put witnesses in real physical danger

Aug 17, 2023

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On Aug. 11, a federal judge overseeing former President Trump’s fourth indictment cautioned Trump against making “inflammatory” statements. But on Aug. 14, Donald Trump posted on Truth Social that Georgia’s former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan shouldn’t testify in a grand jury inquiry about allegations of 2020 election result tampering. Earlier in August, former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham raised concerns about one of Trump’s social media posts possibly intimidating witnesses.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid argues that Trump’s threats and intimidations could put individuals at real risk.

This is arguably the most famous person in the world, and his public statements hold tremendous weight. He has an activated and historically and provably dangerous base of followers. This is intimidation. It’s also Trump’s M.O.

He has a long, long history of posting thinly-veiled threats directed towards people who are involved in legal proceedings against him. During his arraignment for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, the magistrate judge felt compelled to tell the former president, “I want to remind you that it is a crime to intimidate a witness or retaliate against anyone for providing information about your case to the prosecution, or otherwise obstruct justice.” 

Now, that might sound like boilerplate legal language, but the judge was almost certainly aware — as are we all — that Trump has no qualms about using language that barely skirts the limits of legality and puts his targets in actual physical danger.

Question, who out there thought Donald Trump would be able to avoid doing anything else illegal while under indictment for about 10 billion crimes? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, no, no, he didn’t do that. Instead, Trump spent the lead up to his fourth indictment, literally breaking laws in full public view. Case in point, on Monday in response to reports that his indictment for interference in the Georgia election was imminent. Trump tweeted quote, “I’m reading reports that failed former Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, Jeff Duncan will be testifying before the Fulton County grand jury. He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t.” Publicly telling a witness in a case being brought against you that they should not testify, now, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of witness intimidation because the statement doesn’t contain any direct threats, but let’s do a reality check.

 

This is arguably the most famous person in the world, and his public statements hold tremendous weight. He has an activated and historically and provably dangerous base of followers. This is intimidation. It’s also Trump’s M.O. He has a long, long history of posting thinly veiled threats directed towards people who are involved in legal proceedings against  him. During his arraignment for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, the magistrate judge felt compelled to tell the former president, I want to remind you that it is a crime to intimidate a witness or retaliate against anyone for providing information about your case to the prosecution, or otherwise obstruct justice. 

 

Now that might sound like boilerplate legal language, but the judge was almost certainly aware — as are we all — that Trump has no qualms about using language that barely skirts the limits of legality and puts his targets in actual physical danger. And indeed, not 24 hours later, Trump posted an all caps message on Truth Social. “If you go after me, I’m coming after you.” When this statement was cited in the request for a protective order, Trump of course, he did what he does best he skirted the issue. He lied. He said the statement had something to do with rhinos and the Koch brothers. Sure. 

 

Airing attack ads about the Georgia DA, dispatching an aid to tell Cassidy Hutchinson — a key witness before the January 6 committee — that Trump knew she was being deposed the next day and that he was “thinking about her,” directly stating that Georgia’s lieutenant governor should not testify. These are dog whistles to his supporters and he knows it. Look, there are first amendment rights and there are threats to individual safety. It is an outrage that this man continues to be allowed to put people whom he perceives as crossing him in real tangible danger. We all know what he’s doing. Someone is going to get hurt.

 

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