Legal Experts Say Trump Just Committed Witness Tampering on Twitter

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

Ralf Hirschberger/Zuma Press

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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:

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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