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Ex-Obama Ethics Head Thinks Trump’s Twitter Meltdowns Could Actually Send Him To Prison

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President Donald Trump may be charged with obstructing justice. No, I’m not talking about firing former FBI Director James Comey — although that may be the case as well. No, today I’m talking about his tweets.

The former White House special counsel for ethics who served under President Barack Obama said on Wednesday in a USA Today op-ed that Trump’s tweets about the investigation into Russia’s meddling in our elections, including tweets singling out specific individuals who have already been indicted or admitted to crimes, could undermine the investigation itself.

“It is very unusual for the president of the United States to attack a witness who is cooperating with the United States an ongoing federal investigation,” Eisen wrote. “It raises obstruction of justice and witness intimidation questions.”

Eisen added that Trump’s commentary on Twitter is essentially a threat from the president. “Think about it: When you are a witness in a case that threatens the most powerful man in the world, and he attacks you publicly, that is scary,” he said.

Eisen cited a few tweets as indisputable examples of possible witness intimidation, including one where he calls out George Papadopoulos, a campaign staff member who Trump had no issue with naming to reporters in March 2016 but today says he was just a lowly volunteer.

Trump is also raising obstruction of justice concerns with his tweets on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. In publicly calling for the death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov, the man who slammed his vehicle into New York City pedestrians earlier this week in what many have labeled a terrorist attack, Trump has made it all-the-more difficult for prosecutors to push for it due to potential tainting of the jury pool, according to attorney Mark Zaid.

The merits of the death penalty itself aside for a moment (that’s a whole other blog post), Trump indicates he’s in over his head. Before becoming president, he was happy to play social commentator, berating President Barack Obama on a daily basis from the safety of his Twitter profile. But the current president is charged with a larger civic responsibility, including knowing when to shut his mouth and stop inadvertently interfering with criminal investigations.

Trump’s tweets about specific actors involved in the Russia investigation are troubling. It may be that Trump is simply tweeting to vent his frustrations with an investigation that is closing in on his White House, but there may be something more strategic to his madness — a conscious campaign to intimidate those who are cooperating with the probe itself.

It’s a matter that’s serious enough to warrant special counsel Robert Mueller to examine it, and to determine whether this president is actively trying to pressure those who may bring him down into shutting up.


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