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Live updates: Trump pleads not guilty on 2020 election interference charges


District Judge Tanya Chutkan From the Administrative Office of the US Courts

District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who’s assigned to preside over former President Donald Trump’s criminal case in Washington, DC, has repeatedly spoken out in very strong terms against the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and disrupt the transfer of power. 

In November 2021, Chutkan forcefully rejected Trump’s attempts to block the House select committee investigating January 6 from accessing more than 700 pages of records from his White House.

“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” Chutkan wrote in her ruling.

Chutkan has been outspoken about the riot at several sentencing hearings – calling the violence an assault on American democracy and warning of future danger from political violence – and has repeatedly gone over what prosecutors have requested for convicted rioters’ prison sentences. 

At a December 2021 sentencing hearing, she looked ahead to the 2024 election, saying that “every day we are hearing about reports of anti-democratic factions, people plotting potential violence in 2024.”

“It has to be made clear that trying to stop the peaceful transition of power, assaulting law enforcement, is going to be met with certain punishment,” she said. 

Chutkan has even tacitly referenced Trump during criminal sentencings, saying to one rioter that he “did not go to the United States Capitol out of any love for our country. … He went for one man.”

At a sentencing hearing on October 4, 2021, she acknowledged the nationwide attention on the Capitol riot cases. 

“The country is watching to see what the consequences are for something that has not ever happened in the country before,” she said, adding that the January 6 rioters “soiled and defaced the halls of the Capitol and showed their contempt for the rule of law.”

At that same hearing, she also rejected comparisons between January 6 and the 2020 protests against racial inequality. 

“To compare the actions of people around the country protesting, mostly peacefully, for civil rights, to a violent mob seeking to overthrow the lawfully elected government is a false equivalency and downplays the very real danger that the crowd on January 6 posed to our democracy,” she said. 

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