After Donald Trump appealed his gag order in his Washington DC federal criminal trial, Judge Tanya Chutkan temporarily stayed her own order while she considered his appeal. This shouldn’t have been a big deal. But if Trump wanted any chance of winning his appeal, he’d have needed to behave while the stay was in place. He did not, and now he’s lost.
Judge Chutkan lifted the stay this evening, meaning the gag order is officially back in place. We’ll see if Trump decides to violate it, or if he decides to meekly cower like he so often does. That’ll be his choice. Either we won’t have to hear him ranting about the things that are covered by the gag order, or we’ll get to see him hit with penalties, and either of those things will be fine and dandy.
It’s important to understand that Trump didn’t “get away” with anything here. His social media posts about Mark Meadows this past week were textbook felony witness tampering, regardless of any gag order. If Jack Smith thinks he can get a conviction on it, he’ll tack on witness tampering charges against Trump for the trial.
If Trump mistakenly thought that the temporary stay on the gag order meant that it was legal for him to make social media posts about Meadows, then Trump is very, very stupid. Trump still seems to have no idea what it is to be a criminal defendant, and he just keeps digging himself a deeper hole.