Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers doubled down on their call for the judge hearing his 2020 election case to recuse in a Sunday court filing, arguing that her failure to do so would cause “irreparable damage” to the judicial system for “generations to come.”
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office made a fiery defense of U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, in a Friday filing, where they slammed Trump’s recusal request as having “no valid basis” and accused him of cherry-picking statements that don’t actually show “improper bias.” Trump based the initial call last week for Chutkan to recuse on remarks she made during sentencing hearings for two Jan. 6 defendants that allegedly suggested Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned.
His lawyers wrote Sunday that the proceedings are “historic” and demand more than “a show trial contaminated by the appearance of a partial presiding judge.”
“The public must have confidence that President Trump’s constitutional rights are being protected by an unbiased judicial officer,” his lawyers wrote. “No president is a king, but every president is a United States citizen entitled to the protections and rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”
Smith’s office argued Friday that Trump “failed to identify anything approaching the clear and convincing evidence necessary to overcome the presumption of impartiality.”
“Instead, he has relied on suggestion and innuendo to insinuate something sinister in the Court simply doing its job by addressing sentencing arguments,” prosecutors wrote.
Statements Trump cited include Chutkan telling Jan. 6 defendant Robert Scott Palmer in December 2021 “you have made a very good point, one that has been made before — that the people who exhorted you and encouraged you and rallied you to go and take action and to fight have not been charged” and telling Jan. 6 defendant Christine Priola that individuals who mobbed the Capitol showed “blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”