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New York law professor and attorney explains what Trump should face for ‘threatening’ Biden

From the onset of the presidential campaign, the likely Republican nominee and ex-President Donald Trump has actively engaged on social platforms, frequently sharing posts that aggressively target his probable Democratic rival, President Joe Biden. Such posts have sparked controversy, with critics accusing Trump of inciting violence against Biden—a serious offense under the law.

The content

Trump predominantly uses his Truth Social platform for publishing videos and images of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, often framing them within the migrant crisis narrative. Among his recent activities, a post from March 29 on Truth Social drew significant public scrutiny for depicting President Biden in a distressing manner—hogtied in the back of a truck. It’s important to note that Trump was not the original creator of this image, which had previously existed as a decal.

Former federal prosecutor says Trump should be charged

Andrew Weissmann, a former federal prosecutor, well-known for his role as the lead counsel in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and currently an MSNBC legal analyst and law professor in New York, has voiced strong opinions against Trump’s actions. On March 30, Weissmann took to X (previously known as Twitter) to highlight the severity of Trump’s post, stating, “BREAKING: Trump is out on bail in 4 criminal cases. He posted a photo of the president bound, gagged, and shot. Threatening a president is a federal crime and also a violation of bail release conditions. Time for courts to act.”

Another legal expert further elaborates the issue

Kimberly Wehle, a former federal prosecutor and current law professor, delves into the legal intricacies of the situation in her article for The Bulwark, a conservative publication, on April 4.

“In the days since Trump posted the snippet of video,” Wehle explains, “some commentators have suggested that it could be considered a threat against President Biden, and that Trump should face consequences for posting it…. Given the seriousness of both the allegation and Weissman’s reputation, it’s worth unpacking whether Trump’s post might go beyond poor humor and very bad taste. Could it, at least in theory, result in another brush with the law for Trump?”

Legal experts says threatening a president is a federal crime and also a violation of bail release conditions and it's time for courts to act
Donald Trump – Credit: Trump Campaign – www.donaldjtrump.com

Read also: Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins drops wild claims about Jan. 6 riots, says FBI brought agent provocateurs to the Capitol

The law goes back to 1917

Wehle highlights that since 1917, issuing threats against a sitting president has constituted a federal offense. The matter at hand is determining if the video in question represents a genuine threat of violence towards Biden or if it falls under the category of “parody.”

“The video (Trump) posted shows a decal of Biden that had been available for sale for more than a year,” Wehle points out. “Note that Weissman is mistaken in saying the video shows Biden ‘bound, gagged, and shot’; Biden does not appear to be either gagged or shot in the image. Some would argue that the image might plausibly be construed as a satire or parody.”

Wehle adds, “Trump didn’t buy one himself; he just posted a video. In that video, the Biden image is on-screen for maybe 20 seconds, and is somewhat blurry. So Trump could deny having ‘knowingly’ done anything wrong.”

Nonetheless, Wehle argues that the video at least merits a Secret Service investigation.

“After comedian Kathy Griffin did a photo shoot holding a ‘decapitated,’ simulated head of then-President Trump,” Wehle recalls, “the Secret Service conducted an investigation, prompting Griffin to retain a criminal defense attorney. Although there was never any serious question as to whether her comic routine was a true threat, that didn’t stop the Secret Service from checking it out. The same thing should happen here.”

Read also: Texas Gov. Abbott undermines Trump’s presidential bid with urgent call to GOP senators

Wehle adds, “The more pragmatic question around the Biden video isn’t whether Trump’s action constituted a crime, but whether the Biden Administration has the appetite to do anything about it. We all know the answer to that one. Trump is a master bully. He always gets away with it. He will this time, too.”

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