Washington: The US Justice Department is challenging efforts to disqualify the judge hearing the case related to allegations that former President Donald Trump conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith’s team submitted to the court late Thursday that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had no legitimate grounds to recuse herself from the case. Trump’s lawyers presented lengthy arguments earlier this week, urging him to recuse from hearing the case related to Chutkan. Trump’s lawyers had cited comments made by a female judge against Trump in separate cases related to the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Lawyers said the judge was already prejudiced against the former president.
The Justice Department has said that the statement cited by Trump’s lawyers is the judge’s own work. The department says it is the judge’s job to question and reject arguments. Department lawyers have said that Judge Chutkan did not say that Trump was legally or morally culpable for the events of January 6, 2021, or that he deserved to be punished.
Prosecutors wrote, “Although defendant tries to claim otherwise, the Court’s statements about which he complains are substantive interjudicial statements—statements that the Court made in the course of its official duties, in direct response to the arguments before it.” Trump’s chances of succeeding in his attempt to recuse the judge are slim, given the high standard for recusal. His effort to get a judge there to recuse Trump, who is facing a separate trial in New York, from hearing the case has failed.