“Jan. 6 Gag Order: Trump Saga Continues with Narrowed Restrictions

On January 6, 2021, President Trump issued a new gag order, a gag order that narrowed the scope of documents and communications that may be released pertaining to the congressional certification of the Electoral College vote. The order is seen by many as an effort to contain the fallout that led to his first impeachment. The original order, put in place on December 8, 2020, was seen as a step to prevent federal prosecutors from convicting Donald Trump in any future investigations related to his first impeachment. The order was controversial, as it was seen as hindering the justice department’s investigation into his actions. The new order, however, is narrower in scope and limits prosecutors’ access to documents exclusively related to the January 6 congressional vote. It also explicitly prevents any “further or ongoing investigation” into any other matters. The reaction to the new order was predictably divided, with Democrats calling it an obstruction of justice and a violation of the American people’s right to know what their elected officials are doing. Republicans have defended it, however, saying the order was needed to protect citizens’ privacy and prevent the release of sensitive information. At the same time, the order was supported by some legal experts, who argue that the investigation into the January 6 events must move forward, but with appropriate protections for private documents and communications related to them. Ultimately, President Trump’s decision to reinstate the gag order narrows the scope of documents prosecutors can access in their investigation of the Capitol riots. Given the current political climate, the future of the order is uncertain. The order may continue to be narrowed as the events of January 6 are uncover, or it could be reversed in a similar fashion as the other gag order. As the world remains divided on the issue, only time will tell.