Trump threats endanger jurors, judges, prosecutors, lawmakers, citizens
Like a Mafia chieftain, Trump is defiantly threatening anyone who dares to challenge him and is generating threats and violence by his supporters. | Charlie Neibergall/AP

WASHINGTON—Despite judges’ warnings of potential fines and jail terms, including for his lawyers and adherents, former Oval Office occupant Donald Trump and his followers are threatening a judge, plus prosecutors and grand jurors involved in bringing Trump and his schemers to justice.

And it’s with more than just words against individuals. Some Trumpite backers mutter about “civil war” on social media. Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich rants about the “gravest constitutional crisis” since the 1850s.

And a Texas woman has already been arrested for planning to kill the D.C. Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will preside over Trump’s trial on federal charges related to the insurrection, invasion, and coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol.

Shades of The Godfather, where Michael Corleone warned “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.”

Or John Dean, then White House counsel before Richard Nixon canned him in 1973, saying the president should use federal agencies “to screw our political enemies.”

The threats are cascading as Fulton County (Atlanta) DA Fani Willis, the latest prosecutor to unveil an indictment of Trump—and 18 of his co-conspirators—sought a trial date of next March 4.

She wants to arraign Trump and his team on 41 counts of violating Georgia’s racketeering law for Trump’s conspiracy to steal Georgia’s electoral votes. The counts make clear Trump tried the same thing in six other states, five of them swing states like Georgia.

Even Willis’s trial date start drew tweeted anger from Trumpites. It’s the day before Super Tuesday, the slew of primaries, mostly in the South and mostly winner-take-all, that could virtually decide next year’s Republican presidential nomination. Trump leads presidential opinion polls among GOP voters by double-digit margins. The Trumpites called the start date politically motivated.

The Fulton County Sherriff’s office said it is investigating the online threats against the grand jurors who voted to indict Trump and 18 of his criminal sidekicks for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election.

Faces posted by right wingers

Jurors have had their faces, addresses, and social media profiles posted on right-wing sites and in some cases with suggestions that it be made “impossible for them to walk down the streets.”

The attacks began almost immediately after the indictments were dropped last week. The attacks are modeled after the attacks by Trump that have been going on for quite some time.

Often without any evidence the right wingers making the posts give information about the race, religion, and political affiliation of the various grand jurors, also in keeping with the racist nature of Trump’s attacks against his opponents.

Willis isn’t the only prosecutor who wants to open a Trump trial soon. Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith proposed a Jan. 2, 2024, starting date to U.S. District Judge Tonya Chutkan in D.C.

That trial is on federal charges of obstruction of the counting of the electoral votes that gave Joe Biden the presidency over Trump, and conspiracy to deny citizens the right to vote. He’s the sole defendant.

Smith’s counts arise out of Trump’s ordering and abetting the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, invasion, and coup d’état try at the U.S. Capitol. So do Willis’s, but his indictment is narrow while hers, under Georgia’s broad anti-racketeering law, is wide-ranging. They also include actions by Trump’s co-conspirators.

Trump’s attorneys, of course, mimicking their client, want delay, delay, delay. They filed papers asking Chutkan for an April 2026 start date, midway through the next presidential term. And they contend the trial would take not weeks, but two and a half years. Judge Chutkan will announce a starting date on August 28.

Republicans, notably House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., still genuflect to Trump’s lies and are silent about the Trumpites’ threats and venom.

Graham is a Trump confidant. After Trump dispatched his invaders down Pennsylvania Avenue, Hawley further incited them with an incendiary speech and raised fist in front of the Capitol. Then they charged in.

Looming over all of this are other Trumpite threats. Targets so far: Smith and Willis, who indicted Trump and his acolytes for racketeering in their wide-ranging conspiracy to overthrow the government just to keep Trump in the Oval Office, and Judge Chutkan.

Extra security assigned

Extra security guards now accompany Willis everywhere and, of course, there was at least one Trumpite who went way beyond so-called free speech rights.

Police arrested Abigail Jo Shry, of Alvin, Texas, for leaving a racist message at Judge Chutkan’s chambers on Aug. 5, “threatening to kill anyone who went after” Trump, “all people in the LGBTQ community,” all Democrats in D.C., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. Lee is Black, as is the judge. Shry faces one count of transmitting a threat to injure another person. She was held without bond.

Her rant, with the judge as her victim: “You are in our sights, we want to kill you…If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, b—h …You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it.”

The other threats, including warnings of war, proliferate on social media and on Trump’s megaphone, Fox News, according to Media Matters for America, which monitors right-wing vitriol and lies.

For example, right-wing podcaster Tim Pool tweeted “The only path forward is escalation. Either Trump is a cult leader trying to overthrow the U.S. Or Democrats are engaged in seditious conspiracy to steal power.”

Former House Speaker Gingrich told Fox News host Sean Hannity “I think we are drifting toward the greatest constitutional crisis since the 1850s and the rise of secession and the Civil War. I don’t mean that as hyperbole.”

Article III Project founder Mike Davis argued on Trumpite counselor Steve Bannon’s War Room that Trump won’t get a fair trial before the 2024 election. “This is going to have a very chilling effect on democracy” because “you can’t get more dangerous than telling people if you dare to question elections in America, you face going to prison for many, many years.”

“We are occupied by the same totalitarian regime that we used to read about. It’s here. They are emboldened. Evil never stops. It’s going to get worse,” far-right troll Mike Cernovich tweeted.

Fox News “host” Mark Levin declared. “I’m sure our enemies are celebrating. Congress is supposed to make all these final decisions. You’re not supposed to criminalize the challenging of electors or dual electors or counting of votes and that sort of thing.”

The invaders schemed to disrupt the vote count, overthrowing the U.S. Constitution’s peaceful transfer of power. Trump’s conspiracies included a fake “dual electors” scheme stretching over six swing states.

“Every indictment is an attack on our freedom, our ability to vote. The Democrats don’t care about voting. They care about winning at all costs. The Democrat Party wants to be the monopoly party in this country,” Levin continued.

The attack on freedom and winning at all costs is, of course, what the Trumpite Republicans want for themselves and still scheme to achieve by insurrection, intimidation, and voter suppression.

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.