Trump insults and attacks everyone. Can a third gag order make him stop lying about FBI agents?

The FBI joins the long list of presidents, judges, and investigators who have been attacked by Donald Trump, and a judge may have to — once again — demand that the former president keep his mouth shut.

On Friday, federal prosecutors asked a Florida judge to implement a gag order against the former president speaking out about the law enforcement who searched Mar-a-Lago.

But will another gag order actually stop Mr Trump from saying what he wants when fines barely make a dent in his wallet and an army of GOP surrogates stands ready to speak for him?

Mr Trump is already under a gag order in his hush money case and his 2020 election interference case, and now prosecutors in the classified documents case are asking a judge to bar the former president from making statements that might put their or their colleagues’ lives in danger.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump insisted that the FBI had been authorized to shoot him during the August 2022 raid at Mar-a-Lago.

That statement is false.

Then, in a social media post on Tuesday, Mr Trump lied again, saying that Joe Biden “authorized the FBI to use deadly (lethal) force” while they searched his golf club.

Mr Trump got the idea that Mr Biden had sent a federal hit squad after him thanks to a recently unsealed FBI operational plan for the Mar-a-Lago raid. The plan included a standard reference to the authorization of lethal force in the event of an emergency. Prosecutors have argued that Mr Trump distorted that boilerplate information to insinuate that Mr Biden tried to have him killed, the New York Times reports.

Donald Trump appears in court during his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on 20 May
Donald Trump appears in court during his trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on 20 May (Getty Images)

“As Trump is well aware, the FBI took extraordinary care to execute the search warrant unobtrusively and without needless confrontation,” prosecutors wrote in a legal filing to Judge Aileen M Cannon.

The motion notes that prosecutors “scheduled the search of Mar-a-Lago for a time when [Mr Trump] and his family would be away.”

“They planned to coordinate with Trump’s attorney, Secret Service agents and Mar-a-Lago staff before and during the execution of the warrant; and they planned for contingencies — which, in fact, never came to pass — about with whom to communicate if Trump were to arrive on the scene.”

Both of Mr Trump’s existing gag orders and his potential third are focused on the idea that Mr Trump, witting or unwittingly, could inspire acts of violence with his words.

The prosecutors said that by Mr Trump falsely claiming that FBI agents “were complicit in a plot to assassinate him,” it exposes agents and their loved ones “to the risk of threats, violence and harassment.”

Documents discovered by FBI agents in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office
Documents discovered by FBI agents in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office (US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE/AFP via)

“Those deceptive and inflammatory assertions irresponsibly put a target on the backs of the FBI agents involved in this case, as Trump well knows,” prosecutors wrote.

To be clear: the risk of threats, violence, and harassment are from Mr Trump’s stalwart supporters.

Mr Trump has already attempt to wriggle out of accountability for the Capitol riot by suggesting that he simply told his followers to take a walk to the building, not to storm the facility.

The prosecutors are not just painting a picture of hypotheticals either; in the days after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, a man in Ohio, Ricky Shiffer, tried to shoot his way into an FBI field office near Cincinnati.

Just before his attack, Mr Shiffer called on fellow “patriots” to travel to Florida to protect Mr Trump and to gun down FBI agents. He ultimately was killed by the FBI during his failed attack in Cincinnati.

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, pictured in 2022
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, pictured in 2022 (Getty Images)

It’s difficult to tell what effect the gag orders have had on Mr Trump’s speech. He’s already violated the order in the hush money case and has been held in contempt twice, prompting Judge Juan Merchan to issue him a $1,000 fine for each of the 10 comments he made violating the gag order.

Mr Merchan noted that Mr Trump was a wealthy individual and recognized that fines were not a useful deterrent, so he threatened to toss the former president in jail for future violations.

Not only can Mr Trump brush off the fines, but he has an army of Republican supplicants who are more than willing to act on his behalf in instances where he is barred from speaking.

That means even if prosecutors get their way, there’s nothing to stop a willing mouthpiece from delivering Mr Trump’s message anyway.

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