Jack Smith Asks Judge to Limit Trump’s Lies About the FBI

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Special Counsel Jack Smith is asking the federal judge overseeing the Mar-a-Lago documents case to make clear that former President Donald Trump is prohibited from making false statements that endanger law enforcement officers. Trump and his campaign have recently made several false and inflammatory claims about the FBI that Smith says have put federal agents and officials at risk.

The request came late Friday in the federal case over Trump’s willful retention of classified documents and attempts to obstruct justice after leaving the White House.

In a fundraising email and social media posts earlier in the week, Trump claimed that, when the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago to retrieve classified documents it believed Trump was illegally keeping there, the agents were empowered—and even wanted—to kill him. “BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!” a fundraising email stated. “You know they’re just itching to do the unthinkable … Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.”

This is untrue. The warrant included standard language about use of force that is in fact meant to avoid violence. Further, the FBI took significant steps to avoid a confrontation with Trump, including waiting for him to leave the state to conduct the raid when he and his family would not be on the premises.

Trump’s statements “create a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents,” Smith says in his filing.

Trump’s statements “create a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents—falsely suggesting that they were complicit in a plot to assassinate him—and expose those agents, some of whom will be witnesses at trial, to the risk of threats, violence, and harassment,” Smith’s filing states.

Smith asks federal Judge Aileen Cannon to modify Trump’s conditions of release to prohibit the ex-president from making “public statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to the law enforcementagents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case.” The motion mentions that a Trump supporter attacked an FBI office in Ohio in 2022 after Trump made inflammatory statements about the agency.

Trump’s legal team opposes the motion. Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, has repeatedly made decisions that have stymied the prosecution and have delayed a trial indefinitely. Experts say her conduct indicates a lack of impartiality, and some have suggested she could eventually be removed from the case.