Aug 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Matt Gaetz wants to censure and probe judge in Trump case

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Friday introduced a longshot resolution to censure and open an investigation into the judge overseeing the federal trial into former President Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Why it matters: It’s the latest example of Trump’s allies closing ranks around the former president and trying to use congressional power to undermine efforts to prosecute him.

Driving the news: Gaetz introduced a censure resolution on Friday focused on past comments by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan about the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations and Trump.

  • Chutkan said during a 2021 sentencing hearing for a Jan. 6 rioter that comparisons between the Capitol attack and BLM unrest are a “false equivalency” that "ignore the very real threat” Jan. 6 posed to democracy.
  • The resolution also takes aim at her donations to the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2009, as well as her remark during a 2022 hearing that Jan. 6 rioters acted out of “blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”
  • Chutkan “has exhibited open bias and partisanship in the conduct of her official duties,” the resolution asserts, instructing the House Judiciary Committee to begin an investigation.

Gaetz isn’t the only Republican member of Congress who has gone after Chutkan.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on his podcast earlier this month that Chutkan is “relentlessly hostile” to Trump, predicting she will “bend over backwards” for prosecutors.

The big picture: Trump himself has repeatedly assailed Chutkan in posts on his social media platform Truth Social despite the judge’s warning him not to make “inflammatory statements” about the case.

Go deeper