Trump continues attacks on special counsel Jack Smith, refers to his family

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Former President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Jack Smith.


Former President Donald Trump on Saturday continued his attacks on special counsel Jack Smith, including a reference to Smith’s family, at a rally in Claremont, New Hampshire.

The former president repeated his accusations that Smith is “disturbed” and a “Trump-hating accuser,” continuing: “his wife and family despise me a lot more than he does.”

Smith is overseeing two federal cases against Trump, related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents and his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election.

The former president’s comments come at a time when his public statements about the criminal case against him are being closely watched by both prosecutors and courts. As a criminal defendant, he is barred from trying to intimidate witnesses or others in the justice system, and a federal appeals court is considering whether a gag order on him is constitutional.

The court paused the gag order related to Trump’s federal election tampering case in Washington, DC, pending appeal. But it has previously barred Trump from commenting specifically about Smith, other prosecutors in the case, their families and court staff, with possible sanctions or even prison as potential consequences if he had violated it.

Referring to the alleged ill will Smith and his family have toward Trump, the former president said at Saturday’s rally that Smith is “about a 10” and his family is “about a 15 on a scale of 10.”

Trump asserted Smith’s impeachment history, calling him a “disgrace to America.”

“There’s always intimidation of everybody at the highest level,” Trump told the crowd, referring to Smith’s investigation. “But I really don’t care. I don’t care. I just want to do what’s right for the country.”

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Some of Trump’s attacks stem from the activities of Smith’s wife, filmmaker Katy Chevigny. Chevigny donated $2,000 to the 2020 Biden campaign and was a producer on a Netflix documentary about former first lady Michelle Obama.

Smith himself is a registered independent and has not donated to Democratic campaigns.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump’s federal election tampering case in Washington, DC, issued a gag order against Trump last month after prosecutors raised concerns that the former president could intimidate witnesses or incite harm against prosecutors through his public comments. Trump quickly appealed, seeking to have the gag order paused while the appeal unfolded.

In a brief ruling, a three-judge panel of the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals said it paused the gag order issued by Chutkan to give the justices more time to consider Trump’s request to pause the order while his appeal of it unfolds before the court.

A federal appeals court later temporarily froze the limited gag order, allowing him to speak freely again criticizing potential witnesses in the case.

The appeals court is set to hear arguments on the gag order before Thanksgiving.

This story has been updated.

CNN’s Devan Cole, Marshall Cohen and Daniel Dale contributed to this report.

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