Special counsel Jack Smith‘s office says there are numerous reasons — including former President Donald Trump‘s attacks on retired Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley — to push the court to issue a “gag order” on Trump, who is accused by the DOJ of trying to intimidate witnesses and otherwise prejudice the proceedings (read: wreak havoc) on the prosecution’s case. (Trump wrote on social media that Milley had committed treason, and implied that he deserved the death penalty.)
Without a gag order in place, Trump is receiving special treatment that would never be afforded any other person under criminal indictment, the special counsel’s office claims, asserting that no other criminal defendant would be “permitted to issue public statements insinuating that a known witness in his case should be executed.”
But it is another alleged Trump act outlined in the government’s reply in support of the opposed motion that drew the attention of observers following the GOP’s attempts to damage President Joe Biden through linking him to his son Hunter Biden and his own legal troubles with the DOJ: like Hunter Biden, Trump is accused by the DOJ on a gun-related issue.
Trump aide Steven Cheung boasted that the former President purchased a GLOCK pistol while visiting a South Carolina gun shop, which if true would have been illegal because he is under criminal indictment.
The similarity of Hunter Biden’s case to the Trump accusation in the gag order response — not a new criminal charge for Trump from the special counsel, but an accusation meant to support the need for the gag order — is that Trump, like Hunter Biden, may have illegally purchased a firearm, something neither Trump (as an indicted defendant) nor Hunter Biden (as a drug addict) was legally permitted to do.
After a plea deal very publicly fell apart for Hunter Biden, the President’s son now faces three felony charges related to gun possession, including one felony count of lying on an ATF form when he bought a gun by falsely swearing on the purchase form that he wasn’t addicted to illegal drugs or using illegal drugs at the time of the gun purchase.
Video showed Trump admiring the gun and saying he wanted it, but his team later said the purchase was not consummated.
The special counsel’s office made room for the Trump retraction of the alleged purchase in its accusation, implying that either way the visit and subsequent social media posting about it was more latitude than any other criminal defendant would receive.
“The defendant either purchased a gun in violation of the law and his conditions of release,” the special counsel’s office writes, “or seeks to benefit from his supporters’ mistaken belief that he did so.”
[NOTE: The DOJ writes “According to the indictment, Hunter Biden purchased a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver from a federally licensed firearms dealer on Oct. 12, 2018. When purchasing a firearm, a prospective purchaser must fill out a Firearm Transaction Record, ATF Form 4473, and certify that all of his or her answers on the form are true and correct. As alleged in count one of the indictment, Hunter Biden knowingly made a false written statement on the Form 4473, intended and likely to deceive the dealer he purchased the firearm from, when he certified that he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”]