Donald Trump used Twitter this morning in classic mob-boss style, calling out two witnesses – labeling one a soldier, the other a squealer.
Legal twitter wasted no time identifying it as apparent witness tampering.
But the only person who knows for sure right now is special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump praised adviser Roger Stone for refusing to testify against him:
By contrast, he lashed out at his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has fingered Trump in at least one criminal violation of campaign finance law:
The most recent development with Cohen is that he pled guilty on Friday to lying to Congress on Trump’s behalf — and, quite possibly, according to a court filing late Friday, at Trump’s behest as well.
The filing said that even as Cohen was preparing his responses to congressional committees, he “remained in close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel to Client-1 [Trump].” So, basically, Cohen was saying he had been a soldier for Trump, but was done with that.
Back in August, Trump had similarly found Cohen lacking — compared to former campaign chair and soldier Paul Manafort:
The New York Times recently reported that Manafort’s legal team has repeatedly assured Trump’s that Manafort has not implicated Trump in any way.
If you take Trump at his word, then all he is doing is hailing truth-tellers and castigating liars. But if Mueller has solid evidence that it’s Stone and Manafort who are lying, and Cohen who is telling the truth, then how can this be anything other than witness tampering? (And wouldn’t Mueller call it out?)
Former Obama ethics czar Norm Eisen had no doubt:
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) December 3, 2018
Neither did attorney George Conway, who happens to be married to Trump confidante Kellyanne Conway:
File under “18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512” https://t.co/e4ZGVn1kJi
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) December 3, 2018
Noted legal scholar Neal Katyal agreed:
George is right. This is genuinely looking like witness tampering. DOJ (at least with a nonfake AG) prosecutes cases like these all the time. The fact it's done out in the open is no defense. Trump is genuinely melting down, and no good lawyer can represent him under these circs https://t.co/zqFUoQvWTf
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) December 3, 2018
Cajoling potential witnesses in a criminal investigation from the same Presidential Twitter account used to announce a trade deal with China seems almost certainly like an abuse of power https://t.co/28pxBmiAvH
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) December 3, 2018