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Trump's Finds His Inner Mafia

On Friday, on his boutique social media site, Trump posted this message: "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I'M COMING AFTER YOU!" That could have been aimed at Jack Smith, Judge Tanya Chutkan, or, more likely, all of the potential witnesses. Unlike real Mafia dons, this Don doesn't employ any hired killers. His are all volunteers. Nevertheless, potential witnesses who don't especially want to go into the witness protection program might decide it is safer not to testify against him in court than take their chances with his supporters, many of whom are heavily armed.

Just before 10 p.m. Friday, two members of Jack Smith's team, Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom, alerted Chutkan of Trump's posting. They are worried about what else he might post, including some of the evidence the prosecutors are about to turn over to his lawyers. That will probably include the names of the sources, who Trump could then attempt to pressure. The legal term for that is "witness tampering" and it is a federal crime, but since when has committing a federal crime deterred Trump?

On Saturday, Chutkan ordered Trump's lawyer to file a response by 5 p.m. today. So far, Smith has not requested a gag order in either the Florida case or the D.C. case. But if Trump posts things that he shouldn't, Smith might ask for one. Under D.C. court rules, Chutkan is allowed to impose one. That could get very messy. Suppose she issues a gag order and Trump defiantly violates it. What then? She could find him in contempt of court, revoke his bail, and put him in jail. But would Chutkan do that? How would that affect the appeal later if he is convicted? She would have to be careful. (V)

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