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Trump’s ‘surrogates’ fill the courthouse to get around his gag order

Donald Trump could end up in jail or face thousands of dollars in fines if he continues to violate a gag order blocking him from publicly attacking witnesses and the jury in his hush money trial in Manhattan.

So instead, Republican members of Congress and GOP officials have responded to his distress signals and traveled to New York, where they can menace them from inside the courtroom or just outside its doors.

Jurors and witnesses testifying against the criminal defendant former president now enter a room where a growing number of lawmakers and powerful Trump allies can stare them down and say whatever they want about them, in person and online.

House Speaker Mike Johnson – the nation’s highest-ranking Republican – joined a fleet of Trump allies in Manhattan on Tuesday, a remarkable moment in American politics that pitted the GOP and its presidential candidate against the judicial system altogether.

Mr Johnson did not step one foot into the courtroom on Tuesday, but he held a press conference on the other side of the street from the courthouse to attack the man sitting on the witness stand: Michael Cohen, whose crucial testimony connected Mr Trump to the fraudulent scheme at the center of his criminal charges.

“This is a man who is clearly on a mission for personal revenge,” Mr Johnson said. “No one should believe a word he says in there.”

A thing like that, out of Mr Trump’s mouth, could land him in jail for contempt. But now, Mr Trump has his “surrogates,” defendant Trump told reporters in the courthouse hallway on Tuesday.

“And they are speaking very beautifully.”

On Monday, Republican senators JD Vance and Tommy Tuberville joined Mr Trump in court.

The next day, Republican US Reps Byron Donalds and Cory Mills and

Read more on independent.co.uk