"Potential to intimidate": Ex-Trump lawyer warns he could be jailed … – Salon
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Ty Cobb, who served as Donald Trump's White House lawyer, predicted that the former president could be jailed for targeting his perceived opponents on social media.
On Tuesday, Trump reposted a post on his Truth Social platform from a user calling for a "citizen's arrest" of New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. "I WOULD LIKE TO SEE LITITIA JAMES AND JUDGE ENGORON PLACED UNDER CITIZENS ARREST FOR BLATANT ELECTION INTERFERENCE AND HARASSMENT," the user wrote in the post, which has since been deleted.
Cobb argued during an appearance on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" that Trump is putting himself in hot water by going after the prosecutors, judges and staff in his civil and criminal cases across the country.
"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 said.
Cobb, who defended Trump's White House during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, said that the circulation of the post in and of itself butts up against on-and-off gag orders imposed to tamp down his attacks.
Gag orders for Trump's Washington, D.C.-based criminal case accusing him of trying to overturn the 2020 election results and incite the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are currently awaiting an appeal. Engoron has instituted two partial gag orders in the New York civil trial, first barring Trump and then his legal team from commenting publicly on court staff.
"These are the types of incendiary attacks that do lead to violence," Cobb explained. "He specifically asked people to conduct a citizen's arrest."
"Detention of either James or Engoron would be a crime if committed by any individual who was so motivated by the president's remarks," he continued.
The attorney then compared the validation one could feel from Trump's repost to the former president's "Stop The Steal" rally speech when he said: "And we fight. We fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
The social media repost is "much like what he did on Jan. 6," Cobb said. "It 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."
Cobb went on to assert that Trump's push of "petty dictator-type talk" while the world is reeling from serious events "diminishes him and the United States every day."
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Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade echoed Cobb's sentiment in a statement to Newsweek, calling Trump's repost "incredibly reckless."
"Trump's statement is incredibly reckless in light of the history of people responding to his dangerous rhetoric. Someone could take violent action in response," she told the outlet.
She explained that Trump may make himself susceptible to further sanctions from Engoron, pointing to his previous gag orders.
"In addition, Trump risks incurring the wrath of Judge Engoron in the New York civil case," McQuade said. "Currently, the gag order imposed by the judge relates solely to comments about court staff, but this statement could prompt the judge to expand its scope."
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But Palm Beach State Attorney Daron Aronberg pushed back on suggestions that Trump will face harsher punishments, citing how he has been given extra "deference" as a former president.
"Trump continues his barrage of attacks against judges and lawyers, but the gag order in New York doesn't go beyond court staff, so I don't expect any sanctions for this until that changes," he wrote on X/Twitter.
"If any other defendant did this, they would face real punishment," Aronberg said. "As a former president running for the White House again, Trump has been given extra deference for his inflammatory words."
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Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.
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