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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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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