Special Counsel Jack Smith is once again asking the judge to ban Trump from being able to discuss certain aspects of his case.
This time, however, it is not a gag order but rather a request to block Trump from discussing security failures regarding the events that took place on January 6.
There are still a lot of conflicting reports about what happened that day, starting with Trump meeting with staffers to offer National Guard troops to "protect" his supporters who were going to attend the rally that day.
According to reports, during a meeting discussing the rally, Trump asked then-Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller if the D.C. Mayor had requested National Guard troops to "fill" the order to protect demonstrators.
Among the reports published after the fact, AP reported that Capitol Police had rejected the offer of federal help to get the mob under control. When Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy was asked why the troops were not immediately sent, he claimed they were powerless to do anything unless the Capitol Police put in the request for help. He stated:
"They've got to ask us, the request has to come to us."
After the fact, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, Michael Stenger, and Paul Irving, the longtime Sergeant at Arms of the House, all resigned their positions.
The New York Times also reported that Capitol Police were ordered to hold back their response to the rioting. This occurred even though there was intelligence that the rally could turn violent. The report itself is shocking in what information was ignored and how the day eventually panned out.
When the Pentagon's Inspector General report was released on the events of the day, Col. Earl Matthews, who held high-level National Security Council and Pentagon roles during the Trump administration, called the report an outright lie.
According to Matthews, whose memo is outlined in a very detailed Politico report, that report was nothing more than a coverup for the failings of Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of Army staff, calling them "absolute and unmitigated liars."
Special Counsel Jack Smith's team is now trying to block Trump from making comments during the trial about the security failings that took place that day, in part, stating:
"Although the defendant is entitled to cross-examine the Government's law enforcement witnesses about matters fairly within the scope of their direct testimony, he cannot raise wholly irrelevant topics in an effort to confuse and distract the jury. Much as the defendant would like it otherwise, this trial should be about the facts and the law, not politics.
"A bank robber cannot defend himself by blaming the bank's security guard for failing to stop him. A fraud defendant cannot claim to the jury that his victims should have known better than to fall for his scheme. And the defendant cannot argue that law enforcement should have prevented the violence he caused and obstruction he intended."
Judge Chutkan has been no friend to Donald Trump thus far in the January 6 case, so I would not get my hopes up about her allowing Trump to address these security failings, but the fact of the matter is that they are very relevant to this case.
From the outset, I have stated that I thought, based on the chatter that law enforcement heard, it was not very smart for Trump even to consider attending/holding the rally. It was clear some very bad actors had nefarious intent. Having said that, an effort was apparently made to have preventive measures in place, and the various shot callers in the agencies and law enforcement thwarted those efforts.
My opinion on this is that Trump should be permitted to discuss those shortcomings because had the National Guard been in place or been able to react sooner, that riot and the breach of the Capitol would likely have never happened, or at least not happened to the level of the events that took place that day.