Donald Trump is seething over the judge’s gag order in the federal criminal case against his longtime ally Roger Stone, but his campaign is relishing it.
The gag order, issued by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in D.C., prevents Stone, Trump’s former campaign adviser, from “mak[ing] any public comment, through any medium, concerning the investigation … or any of the persons or entities involved in the investigation.”
Trump has lashed out at the judge, claiming that “the real crimes were on the other side.”
But Trump’s campaign sees the gag order as a way to muzzle Stone and prevent him from further damaging the president. Stone, who was arrested in January and charged with lying to Congress and obstructing its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, has frequently sought the spotlight through interviews and social media postings.
The gag order allows Trump and his campaign to concentrate on their reelection message while keeping Stone — and the special counsel’s Russia probe — out of the headlines.
Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said in a statement that the gag order “is a much needed step towards ending the criminal proceedings against Roger Stone that President Trump knows are bogus.”
The gag order is not unusual in a criminal case, but it may have unintended consequences. Stone has long been an essential figure in the Trump universe, and his ability to speak out on the news of the day has been a valuable asset to the president. With him now silenced, it could create a void in Trump’s messaging — one that could be filled by the growing cast of characters in Trumpworld who harbor increasingly independent ambitions.