The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Monday grilled the lawyer in Donald Trump’s challenge to a gag order prohibiting him from publicly targeting potential witnesses, the special counsel’s team and court staff in the election subversion case set for trial next year.

The D.C. Circuit panel—which included Judges Bradley Garcia, Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard—pressed John Sauer on his arguments that the gag order violates the former president’s right to spread political messages and is justified neither by the need to prevent threats against people associated with the case nor to ensure a fair trial.