CNN commentator says that losing gag order challenge could still be a win for Trump

November 27, 2023

Fox News reported earlier this month that a federal appeals court is considering whether to reinstate a gag order in former President Donald Trump's Washington D.C. criminal trial.

While Trump may ultimately lose on the matter, one commentator recently said that there is no way Democrats can win.  

Gag order loss would provide Trump with another campaign issue

That's according to CNN analyst Stephen Collinson, who argued in an op-ed piece published last week that Trump "can expect a benefit" no matter how his case turns out.

"If Trump prevails – or the three judges who heard the case Monday narrow the terms of the restriction – he may gain new leeway to attack special counsel Jack Smith’s case against him," Collinson wrote.

"If Trump loses, as seems likely given the tone of the hearing, he will have a new talking point for his narrative that he’s being persecuted to destroy his 2024 campaign," the contributor added.

Fox News noted that Trump's gag order challenge is being presided over by Judges Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Millett, both of whom were appointed by former President Barack Obama, along with Biden appointee Brad Garcia.

Case presents "a tough balancing act"

The gag order was originally imposed in October by Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump's trial on charges relating to his conduct after the 2020 election.

While Collinson was skeptical about the prospect of Trump getting a favorable ruling, he said the case exposes "extreme institutional stress, political tensions, and grave constitutional questions" ahead of next year's election.

Collinson maintained that the judges face "a tough balancing act in a case that does not just bear on the capacity of courts to protect fair trials but also touches on the integrity of the electoral system."

The pundit pointed out how apart from the issue of Trump's First Amendment rights, the former president's lawyers say that his status as a presidential candidate must be taken into consideration.

Judge blocks gag order in Trump's New York civil fraud case

Collinson quoted CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams as saying, "There are many legal questions we have talked about in the context of Donald Trump over the years (and) nothing is harder for judges to sort out than the First Amendment and these free speech issues."

"At some point, a judge has to step in and almost arbitrarily decide what is okay and what isn’t. They were clearly grappling with this over hours and hours," he added.

Meanwhile, Fox News reported earlier this month that an appeals judge blocked the gag order in Trump's New York civil fraud case.

Judge David Friedman questioned the constitutionality of limiting Trump's speech while also stressing gag orders are typically associated with criminal trials where there is concern over jurors being improperly swayed. 

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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