President Donald Trump on Monday went into a rage on Twitter over Special Counsel Robert Mueller and was quickly checked by legal experts, who cautioned that Trump's actions could further legally imperil him.
Trump's first tweet demanded that his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last week to lying to Congress over a 2016 Trump Tower Moscow deal, should "serve a full sentence." Since his plea, Cohen has requested a sentence of "time served."
“Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.” You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things h… https://t.co/6ayRgbMeLe— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1543850677.0
....his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opin… https://t.co/vmkSYqqFTO— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1543850971.0
A few minutes later, Trump suggested that witnesses involved in Mueller's probe should refuse to cooperate.
“I will never testify against Trump.” This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he… https://t.co/aOL1xK9cp8— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1543852092.0
George Conway, a lawyer married to one of Trump's top advisors, Kellyanne Conway, responded with "18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512," criminal codes specific to obstruction of justice.
File under “18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512” https://t.co/e4ZGVn1kJi— George Conway (@George Conway) 1543852957.0
Statute 1503 states:
"Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate judge, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection."
And 1512 says:
"Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to...influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding...shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."
Intimidating witnesses and encouraging them to refuse cooperation with investigators is a type of obstruction of justice, a federal crime.
@gtconway3d For folks who want an explanation: https://t.co/v4Y7PbiPal— Benjamin Wittes (@Benjamin Wittes) 1543853685.0
Mueller is pursuing the president for obstruction over the May 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump canned over "this Russia thing."
Conway's tweet puts Trump's strategy in context, and it does not bode well for the president.
@gtconway3d Agreed. Glad you including both §§ 1503 and 1512. Wondering whether anyone on his staff may also be in… https://t.co/R7G2bahyFG— Jennifer Taub (@Jennifer Taub) 1543854103.0
@4thcornergal @jentaub @gtconway3d 1503 influencing an officer of the court or a juror 1512 witness tampering— Annoyed Norwegian #TIR #FBIR (@Annoyed Norwegian #TIR #FBIR) 1543854643.0
@gtconway3d George, you just made me a follower by reminding people the POTUS must follow the same laws as "we the people"! Thanks!— Joyce Ann (@Joyce Ann) 1543858241.0
@gtconway3d Exactly! "Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally" (Not that @realDonaldTrump would have an… https://t.co/E2qvitbcGx— Andrea Valentini 🇨🇦 (@Andrea Valentini 🇨🇦) 1543857234.0
Trump's tactic of berating Mueller and inserting himself between Mueller and witnesses is probably not the best idea.
@gtconway3d His strategy to hold off Mueller by continuing to commit new crimes is brilliant.— Matthew Hess (@Matthew Hess) 1543853392.0
@FridaGhitis @gtconway3d @kylegriffin1 Maximum Incarceration Requested— radu moraru (@radu moraru) 1543859238.0
@gtconway3d Also, thinly veiled mob-boss threat “some people still have guts” implying Stone won’t if he testifies???— Catharine (@Catharine) 1543854598.0
@BuddhaRuckus @gtconway3d I think it’s more like Cohen does not have guts since he is cooperating. Stone “has guts” for not cooperating.— Stephan Beauvais (@Stephan Beauvais) 1543858325.0
@gtconway3d The message is clear to anyone who thinks about crossing him: have guts and refuse to testify against m… https://t.co/h8xpd8iB0P— Karen Myatt (@Karen Myatt) 1543855965.0
@dj_ewi @gtconway3d He don’t need no lawyers! He goes with his gut, remember? 🤣🤣🤣— House Stark Bannerwoman (@House Stark Bannerwoman) 1543855651.0
@gtconway3d I like that he put "President Trump" in quotes. That's actually appropriate! Even he doesn't think he's legitimate.— ET2U (@ET2U) 1543853933.0
Trump also accused Mueller of leading a band of "Angry Democrats" that only "want lies."
Mueller is a Republican, and Trump is scared.
Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats, don’t w… https://t.co/walb5PaCq0— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1543852566.0
@realDonaldTrump @realDonaldTrump 😂😂 https://t.co/KXhOhukkZu— Maria Alvarez (@Maria Alvarez) 1543856845.0
@realDonaldTrump You sound scared, bro. 😂 https://t.co/6UzHAW7TGY— FireBrand (@FireBrand) 1543857511.0
@realDonaldTrump Somebody’s nervous— G. David (@G. David) 1543857758.0
@realDonaldTrump Donald Trump(who is a much bigger con man than people think) and his out of control band of compli… https://t.co/Up0yNrysaE— Natalie (@Natalie) 1543858951.0
@realDonaldTrump Donald Trump (who is a much different man than people think) is out of his mind and angry at the d… https://t.co/Xclz3SCWd2— "❕FOR IMPEACHMENT❕" Multifarious Ramblings Fx (@"❕FOR IMPEACHMENT❕" Multifarious Ramblings Fx) 1543859536.0
@realDonaldTrump Gaslighting again? Robert Mueller is a decorated veteran, Republican, with integrity, that you sho… https://t.co/1wYMiw9u8W— Mace Martial Arts (@Mace Martial Arts) 1543859131.0
Trump, after months of toying with the idea, said last month he will not answer Mueller's questions in person.
@realDonaldTrump How would you know? You won’t even meet with the man.— Laura Sandy (Seddon) (@Laura Sandy (Seddon)) 1543857094.0
@realDonaldTrump Says the “boy” who has never spoken the truth!— Michael Sullivan (@Michael Sullivan) 1543859056.0
@realDonaldTrump Robert Mueller is a Republican. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is a Republican. James Come… https://t.co/1bSbGSHmVl— Billal (@Billal) 1543858845.0
@realDonaldTrump Donald Trump is out of control &, doesn’t like the truth, he only tells lies. The truth is very ba… https://t.co/hWuFVamlh4— donna avocado 🥑 (@donna avocado 🥑) 1543860393.0