President Donald Trump seethed this week as federal prosecutors in Manhattan imposed a gag order on him and his campaign as part of their investigation into hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with the president.
The move prohibits his reelection campaign from publicly discussing the investigation or any other developments related to it. Meanwhile, his campaign has welcomed the order, viewing it as a way to keep attention away from the probe and back onto the president’s policy agenda.
The gag order is the first public indication that Trump or his associates have been officially targeted in the Southern District of New York’s investigation of the Trump Organization’s efforts to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal ahead of the 2016 election.
For Trump, the gag order is a serious obstruction that prevents him from defending himself in the court of public opinion and from using the case and the investigation to rally his base. It serves as a reminder that Trump and his associates are under close scrutiny from both prosecutors and the media.
For his campaign, however, the gag order serves as a shield, allowing them to focus on issues other than the latest developments in the case. The campaign has attempted to make it clear that while they will not comment on the investigation, they are supportive of Trump and believe the accusations are part of a politically motivated witch hunt.