Did you remember that the Trump administration placed a gag order earlier this year? From Fortune magazine, Jan 24, 2017
Employees at several federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture have been barred by the Trump administration from making any statements, or providing any documents to the public or journalists, according to published reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services are also impacted by the orders, which were reportedly handed down this week, and include a prohibition against some of the agencies posting on social media.
We know what a gag order means there, but it doesn’t exact fit the definition of a gag order, which is
a judge’s order prohibiting the attorneys and the parties to a pending lawsuit or criminal prosecution from talking to the media or the public about the case.
The supposed intent is to prevent prejudice due to pre-trial publicity which would influence potential jurors.
A gag order has the secondary purpose of preventing the lawyers from trying the case in the press and on television, and thus creating a public mood (which could get ugly) in favor of one party or the other.
Trump’s tweets on the Russian investigation labeling it a “witch hunt” and disparaging anyone taking a stand he dislikes is publicity to influence potential jurors, like members of Congress.
Robert Mueller may not be swayed by Trump’s tweets, but the chilling effect that have on a free, fair, and truth-finding investigation is already clear. And untrue tweets corrupt reasoning.
Also on the secondary purpose, the public mood is already ugly and getting worse. Trump has been laying the groundwork that if he can’t tweet his self-serving views and insults that he will claim to his followers he can’t tell his story. .
But that’s not true. A gag order doesn’t ban discussion. It does require most of it to take place under oath.
Trump should be under a gag order with respect to the entire Russian investigation.
Otherwise, we the people will never hear the unvarnished truth.