Trump continues attacks on special counsel Jack Smith, references his family

Former President Donald Trump continued his attacks on special counsel Jack Smith on Saturday, including a reference to Smith’s family, at a rally in Claremont, New Hampshire.

The former president repeated his accusations that Smith is “deranged” and a “Trump-hating prosecutor,” continuing, “his wife and family despise me much more than he does.”

Smith is overseeing two federal cases against Trump, related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents and his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

The former president’s comments come at a time when his public statements about the criminal cases against him are being closely watched by prosecutors and courts alike. As a criminal defendant, he is barred from attempting to intimidate witnesses or others in the legal system, and a federal appellate court is considering whether a gag order placed upon him is constitutionally sound.

The court paused the gag order, related to Trump’s federal election subversion case in Washington, DC, while it is being appealed. But it previously barred Trump from commenting specifically about Smith, other prosecutors on the case, their families and court personnel, with possible sanctions or even jail as potential consequences if he had violated it.

Referring to the alleged ill will Smith and his family have for Trump, the former president said at Saturday’s rally that Smith is “about at 10” and his family is “about a 15 on a scale of 10.”

Trump railed against Smith’s prosecution history, calling him a “disgrace to America.”

“There’s always intimidation of everybody at the highest level,” Trump told the crowd, referring to Smith’s investigation. “But I really don’t care. I don’t care. I just want to do what’s right for the country.”

Some of Trump’s attacks stem from the activities of Smith’s wife, filmmaker Katy Chevigny. Chevigny donated $2,000 to the Biden campaign in 2020 and was a producer for a Netflix documentary about former first lady Michelle Obama.

Smith himself is a registered independent and hasn’t donated to Democratic campaigns.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump’s federal election subversion case in Washington, DC, issued a gag order against Trump last month after prosecutors raised concerns that the former president could intimidate witnesses or encourage harm against prosecutors through his public comments. Trump quickly appealed and sought to have the gag order paused while the appeal unfolded.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel at the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals said it was pausing the gag order issued by Chutkan to give the judges more time to consider Trump’s request to pause the order while his appeal of it plays out before the court.

A federal appeals court later temporarily froze the limited gag order, allowing him to again speak freely with criticism of possible witnesses in the case.

The appeals court is set to hear arguments on the gag order before Thanksgiving.

This story has been updated.

CNN’s Devan Cole, Marshall Cohen and Daniel Dale contributed to this report.

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