Donald Trump targeting court officials could land him in jail, his former White House special counsel warns – USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s constant and escalating attacks on court officials – including this week’s re-posting of a call for a “citizens’ arrest” – could wind up landing the former president in jail, a former Trump White House special counsel said.
“He’ll keep doing it until someone punches him in the nose,” said Ty Cobb, a former Justice Department official who worked in the White House during the Trump administration.
On Tuesday, Trump reposted, and later deleted, a post from a Truth Social user who called for the “citizen’s arrest” of New York Attorney General Letitia James and state Judge Arthur Engoron for “election interference and harassment.”
James has sued Trump and family members for alleged bank fraud. Engoron, who is hearing the case, has fined Trump a total of $15,000 for violations of his limited gag order already in place.
A civil judge’s ability to put people in jail is limited, but a criminal court judge has direct authority
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the federal case in which Trump is accused of trying to steal the 2020 presidential election, has also issued a gag order on Trump. Special Counsel Jack Smith has protested Trump’s repeated threats against him and Chutkan, yet Trump continues to attack them on social media and in public speeches.
Cobb in a CNN interview, said Trump “continues to be off the rails in terms of the extent to which his invective infects these proceedings and has the potential to intimidate witnesses.”
“I believe that at some point comments like this will result in Trump not only being sanctioned, which will probably be the first order of business, but at some point, these types of comments will result in him being put in jail pending some of these trials,” Cobb added.
Trump, falsely claiming the cases against him are political, has described the gag orders as attacks on his right of free speech.
Cobb told USA TODAY that Judge Chutkan and other jurists may not see it that way for much longer.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend a weekend in jail,” Cobb said.