Trump Pushes to Have Judge Recuse Herself

Former president says he can't get a fair trial with Tanya Chutkan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2023 10:30 AM CDT
Trump: Special Counsel Got 'Judge of His Dreams'
US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan.   (Administrative Office of the US Courts via AP)

It's not clear whether his legal team will follow up, but Donald Trump himself is pushing for the judge in his election interference case to recuse herself. In a series of posts on Truth Social over the weekend and into Monday, the former president maintained that US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan is biased against him. "There is no way I can get a fair trial," he wrote on Sunday. And on Monday morning, he asserted that special counsel Jack Smith had gotten the "judge of his dreams" with Chutkan, reports the Hill. Trump also renewed his call for a change of venue outside of DC, notes the BBC.

Chutkan has established a reputation as a tough punisher of Jan. 6 defendants, and she previously ruled against Trump in a matter related to the release of documents to a House panel in 2021. In that case, she famously wrote, "Presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president," per NPR. However, Politico notes she hasn't weighed in on the culpability of Trump himself when sentencing Capitol rioters, as some other judges have done. She was assigned randomly to the Trump case, and the gist of coverage is that the former president and his legal team have no legal basis to demand a recusal.

"They'll try to [disqualify] her because she's not the judge they want, but there's no basis for that, so I think that goes nowhere," says Ty Cobb, who served as Trump's White House counsel, per USA Today. He praised Chutkan as a judge and said she might end up being a boon to Trump's legal team. Her background as a public defender and as a defense counsel in private practice "certainly underscores her familiarity with what a defendant's rights are, and I'm sure she'll be careful ... not to abuse them," Cobb notes. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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