On July 26, 2018, reports surfaced that the Department of Justice’s Special Counsel examined Twitter records of President Donald Trump. Their review looked for evidence —directly from the President— that he pressured Justice Department or law enforcement officials to end the Russian election interference investigation led by Republican law enforcement veteran Robert Mueller.
But less than a week later, Trump gave the Mueller team more to look at.
In a Wednesday morning tweet, the President stated:
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.”
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
In May 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation due to potential conflict of interest. His Republican Deputy and fellow Trump appointee, Rod Rosenstein, tapped former FBI director Mueller to head the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any ties to the Trump campaign.
This is a first. Trump directs his attorney general to end the Russia investigation. https://t.co/zshFQ2dUpY
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 1, 2018
After the May 2017 firing of FBI director James Comey, allegations of Trump pressuring the FBI and DoJ to drop the investigation surfaced during congressional hearings. This pressure from the President, if substantiated, could qualify as obstruction of justice.
The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated.
This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it. https://t.co/F8b6a0IGOh
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 1, 2018
The law defines obstruction of justice as:
the crime or act of willfully interfering with the process of justice and law especially by influencing, threatening, harming, or impeding a witness, potential witness, juror, or judicial or legal officer or by furnishing false information in or otherwise impeding an investigation or legal process”
Wednesday morning’s tweet appears as a less than subtle message directed at the head of the Department of Justice, AG Sessions. It was one in a series of five tweets where the President again painted the Mueller investigation as a baseless witch hunt.
Either i) we’re at the Mueller investigation crisis point or ii) we’re about to witness a federal cabinet officer ignoring a written & published directive from the president on grounds “Oh, the president just says things, none of us pay attention, he’s not really in charge”
— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 1, 2018
But as of the end of July, 2018, 32 individuals and 3 businesses were indicted, with several guilty pleas and one sentencing with others currently on trial. The Trump administration also revealed over the course of the year that they communicated and met with Russian representatives including at least one admitted Russian operative.
The first two tweets quote frequent Fox News guest and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.