Legal Experts Say Trump Just Committed Witness Tampering on Twitter

“This doesn’t seem very cool or very legal.”

Ralf Hirschberger/Zuma Press

On Monday morning, the president took to Twitter to praise Roger Stone, his longtime political adviser and associate, for refusing to speak to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and Trump has zeroed in on Stone as a possible tie between Russia and the Trump campaign, investigating whether he had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks would publish thousands of  emails stolen from Democrats by Russian hackers. On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, Stone vowed not to testify against the president. “Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'” Trump tweeted in response.

A number of legal experts from both sides of the aisle have said the president’s tweet could represent an illegal attempt to influence a witness in the special counsel’s investigation. George Conway, a longtime conservative lawyer and vocal Trump critic who is married to presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, suggested the message violated portions of the US code governing witness tampering and obstruction of justice:

Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, piled on, as did lawyer and ethics expert Norm Eisen.

So did Obama’s former head speechwriter, Jon Favreau, alongside other prominent lawyers: