Trump blasts special counsel Jack Smith for seeking gag order

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Former President Donald Trump responded furiously to the special counsel's request for a gag order prohibiting him from attacking prosecutors, witnesses and the judge in his federal indictment over attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

"I’m campaigning for President against an incompetent person who has WEAPONIZED the DOJ & FBI to go after his Political Opponent, & I am not allowed to COMMENT?" Trump wrote on Truth Social soon after the news of the request broke Friday. "How else would I explain that Jack Smith is DERANGED, or Crooked Joe is INCOMPETENT?"

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan unsealed a court filing on Friday afternoon that revealed special counsel Jack Smith had asked for the order, which he argues the court must grant because Trump's continued verbal attacks undermine the fairness of the case.

Trump, who has for years taken to social media to attack his political opponents, also retains great influence over his followers, some of whom have in several cases harassed figures the former president has attacked on social media — examples that Smith cited in his papers arguing for the gag order.

The former president, who remains the leading contender to win the Republican nomination for president in 2024, has continually argued that all his indictments are unfair, and he has also insisted that he will not receive a fair trial in Washington, D.C.

Later Friday, Trump again hit Smith while speaking at the Concerned Women for America summit in Washington, D.C., saying "they want to take away my freedom" and First Amendment rights.