“President” Donald Trump is back to tweeting, after a few days off. On Monday, he once again showed how unclear on the concept of obstruction, as well as the concept of justice, he is. After bragging about his agreement with China President Xi – which we will see when the dust settles exactly what was agreed to or whether it helps farmers, car manufacturers and others – he turned to Michael Cohen’s recent request for no prison time. Capitalizing words randomly and with his normal typos, Trump opined on Cohen:
“Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.” You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”
If you read that literally, what he seems to be tweeting is a tacit admission that he did things with Cohen that were terrible, stating “all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things….” Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be able to match what Trump did to what Cohen did. This is the way informants and cooperating witnesses are dealt with by prosecutors: depending on the value of the information provided to prosecutors leading to the prosecution of higher ups, the witness is getting a lenient sentence for his other transgressions.
Trump then turned to Roger Stone, and posted a potentially obstructionist tweet, sending a message that other potential witnesses should not cooperate, tweeting: “’I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”
Again, a president unclear on the concept. The most amusing reference is to “President Trump,” which he put in quotes himself, thus admitting that he is not legitimate. In addition, encouraging witnesses to remain silent and have “guts” is the kind of witness tampering that will be investigated by the Special Counsel now, and by the House in January.
Daniel Cotter is a lawyer writing and teaching about SCOTUS, and married father of two boys living in Chicago, Illinois.