A federal judge in Washington, D.C., Judge Tanya Chutkan, has denied former President Donald Trump’s request to recuse herself from overseeing the 2020 election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith. Trump’s legal team argued that Chutkan’s statements during the sentencing hearings of two defendants in the Capitol riot case showed bias against Trump. However, Chutkan argued that her comments did not warrant recusal, as they were an acknowledgment of the defendants’ arguments for lower sentences. She stated that she has never taken the position that Trump should be prosecuted or imprisoned. The special counsel also argued that there was no valid basis for Chutkan to recuse herself.
Trump is facing four felony counts over his alleged efforts to stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election and has pleaded not guilty. While Trump’s attorneys could petition an appeals court to require Chutkan to recuse herself, such efforts are often unsuccessful. It is not yet clear if they will pursue that option. At present, Trump’s attorneys have not commented on the judge’s decision.
In summary, Judge Tanya Chutkan has rejected former President Trump’s request for her recusal from the election interference case, citing that her comments during the Capitol riot sentencing hearings did not show bias against Trump. She stated that her remarks were in response to the defendants’ arguments for lower sentences and that she has never expressed the view that Trump should be prosecuted or imprisoned. The special counsel supported Chutkan, arguing that there was no valid reason for her to recuse herself. Trump’s attorneys may appeal the decision but have yet to indicate their intentions.