Former RNC chair predicts Trump will defy new gag order imminently

According to former Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Michael Steele, it is only a matter of time before former President Trump breaks his extended gag order in his hush money criminal case.

Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over the hush money trial in New York, issued a ruling on Monday night to broaden the former president’s gag order. The expanded order now includes any comments made about the family of Judge Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

“Watch out folks, Donald Trump is about to break this order any second now,” joked Steele, a political analyst for MSNBC, as he took over the hosting duties for “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

“How do you envision the scenario unfolding when that inevitably happens?” asked former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, in a conversation with Steele.

Financial fines can be expected to be imposed on the former president if he violates the gag order, according to Kirschner. However, he believes that this approach will not effectively deter Trump from launching attacks.

According to Kirschner, the violation of the gag order in Trump’s civil fraud case resulted in some minor financial fines imposed by Judge Engoron. However, Kirschner seems unconcerned about the consequences.

According to Mary McCord, a former acting assistant attorney general, it is notable that the recent extension of the gag order does not mention the possibility of pretrial detainment if the individual violates the order. McCord finds this to be an unusual omission.

During the interview, McCord pointed out that in the two criminal cases, they did not include gag orders as part of the conditions of release. They also did not require Mr. Trump to sign acknowledging the expansion of his conditions and the possibility of his release being revoked if he violates them.

According to Kirshner, the lack of action from judges and prosecutors to curb Trump’s rhetoric is a significant concern.

The gag order initially limited Trump’s ability to publicly comment on jurors, witnesses, and the family members of any counsel or staff member. However, it did not extend to the family members of Merchan or Bragg.

At Bragg’s request, the order was issued in response to the former president’s repeated attacks on Loren Merchan, a Democratic political consultant and the daughter of Bragg. Loren previously held an executive position at Authentic Campaigns, a progressive political consulting firm that played a role in the campaigns of prominent Democrats, including President Biden, who was Trump’s main opponent in the 2024 election.

Last week, Trump responded to an account on X, formerly Twitter, that seemed to be owned by the judge’s daughter and had a profile picture depicting an incarcerated Trump. However, it was later confirmed by the New York state Office of Court Administration (OCA) that the account is no longer linked to Loren as she deleted it approximately a year ago.

The former president strongly criticized the expanded gag order on Tuesday and once again called for Merchan to recuse himself. Merchan had previously denied the formal recusal request made by Trump’s lawyers, who indicated on Monday that they would submit a new motion seeking his recusal.

In a surprising turn of events, Trump wasted no time in defying the recently expanded gag order. Within a mere day, he took to social media to share a video from the “Fox and Friends” show. The video featured host Brian Kilmeade expressing his disapproval of prosecutor Matthew Colangelo and Loren Merchan. Trump’s actions clearly showcased his willingness to challenge the constraints imposed upon him.

Last fall, Trump received a gag order in his federal election interference case in Washington, D.C. This order prohibits him from publicly making remarks that target prosecutors, potential witnesses, or court staff involved in the case.

The Trump campaign was contacted by The Hill for comment.

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