Trump lashes out at judge who warned him about 'inflammatory' remarks, and more campaign trail takeaways

The judge said last week that the 2024 race wouldn't influence her.

August 14, 2023, 9:15 PM

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at the federal judge overseeing the case against him over efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss -- after he was warned by the same judge against making "inflammatory" comments about the case.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of a political dynasty now mounting a long shot presidential hopeful, indicated he'd back a federal abortion ban after the first three months of pregnancy before abruptly reversing himself.

And Sen. Tim Scott made another targeted push for support in Iowa.

Here's what to know from the trail on Monday.

Trump appears to disregard judge's admonition

In an early morning post on his social media platform, Trump criticized U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, claiming she is "highly partisan" and "very biased and unfair," referencing a punishment Chutkan handed down last year to a woman who was part of the mob that ransacked Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Truth Social post seemed to reference remarks Chutkan made that contrasted Trump with the woman, Christine Priola, whom Chutkan sentenced to 15 months in jail after Priola pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and unlawful activities on Capitol grounds, among other crimes. "The people who mobbed that Capitol were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man ... one person who, by the way, remains free to this day," the judge said last year.

Trump's comments about Chutkan follows a familiar pattern of him personally attacking perceived adversaries, a habit that has now extended to include some of those involved in his mounting criminal charges, all of which he denies.

At a hearing last week, Chutkan warned that "inflammatory" statements "could taint the jury pool or intimidate potential witnesses" and may necessitate expediting Trump's prosecution in Washington.

"I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of these proceedings," Chutkan told Trump's lawyers during the Friday hearing.

She also said that she wouldn't be influenced by politics: "The existence of a political campaign will not have any bearing on my decision."

Chutkan ultimately issued a protective order forbidding the disclosure of "sensitive" materials in the case, such as exhibits provided to Trump's defense team.

"He's a criminal defendant -- he's going to have restrictions like every single other defendant," she said of Trump.

RFK Jr. reverses abortion comment

Kennedy, the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and the son of slain former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, has bucked his own party on some personal and public health matters, including sharing conspiracy theories about vaccines and COVID-19.

On many other matters, however, his policies and platform are traditionally Democratic -- except on Sunday, when he discussed abortion.

While in Iowa, Kennedy was asked by a reporter from NBC News about whether he would back any abortion restrictions.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. delivers his political soapbox speech at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 12, 2023.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. delivers his political soapbox speech at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 12, 2023.
Scott Morgan/Reuters

"I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life," Kennedy said. When pressed further on whether that would mean he supported a ban on the procedure after 15 weeks or 21 weeks of pregnancy, he responded, "Yes."

Later Sunday, his campaign issued a walk back.

"Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair. Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion," his campaign said in a statement.

No Labels expands its presence

No Labels, the bipartisan group weighing a third-party "unity" presidential ticket in 2024, landed a spot on the ballot in another swing state.

North Carolina's State Board of Elections voted on Sunday to recognize No Labels as an official political party, meaning the group will now be on the ballot there next year.

Some Democrats are already wringing their hands over concerns that a third-party bid could boost Trump in a rematch with President Joe Biden, and their worries are unlikely to be allayed by No Labels' play in a state Democrats have continually sought to flip in presidential elections.

Tim Scott practices retail politics

Scott, South Carolina's junior senator, on Monday sought to beef up his bona fides in Iowa.

In a new radio ad released in the state, which holds 2024's first nominating contest for Republicans, in January, Scott vowed to support farmers, including opposing farmland purchases via the Chinese government and supporting production of ethanol -- both of which are more resonant in agriculture-heavy Iowa.

Since launching his campaign in May, Scott has combined his conservative policies with a pitch to voters tied to an uplifting message.

"I have the deepest appreciation for the hardworking farmers who feed our nation and fuel our cars. As president, I'll support the production of ethanol and other homegrown biofuels. I will stop China from buying our farmland, and I will fight for fair trade to ensure our farmers have access to foreign markets. God bless Iowa and the bountiful harvest you provide to our nation each and every year," Scott said in the ad.

FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows Scott usually in third place in Iowa -- stronger than his standing in national surveys so far.

ABC News' Gabriella Abdul-Hakim and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

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