Thus far, four of Donald Trump’s advisers have been arrested in his Russia scandal, and two of them have already pleaded guilty. It matters greatly here that I’ve said “pleaded guilty” and not “pled guilty” but we’ll get to that in a moment. The upshot is that a whole lot more of Trump’s people are going to end up in prison by the time this is over. As of yesterday, Trump’s own personal attorney may end up being one of them.
It’s painfully clear that Trump wrote his own tweet yesterday in which he confessed to felony obstruction of justice. But upon realizing his grave error, Trump incredibly claimed the tweet had been written by his attorney John Dowd. Today, Dowd publicly backed Trump up on this by asserting that he did indeed write the tweet in question. The trouble: if it can be legally proven that Dowd didn’t write the tweet, he may be on his way to prison.
Trump wrote the tweet. Even the dumbest of attorneys would never be clueless enough to write a tweet confessing that his client committed a felony. That’s simply not possible. In addition, every first year law student has it drilled into them that the proper legal phrase is “pleaded guilty” yet the tweet in question says “pled guilty.” Trump’s attorey did not write this tweet, yet he’s claiming he did.
There is a limit when it comes to what an attorney is allowed to say and do with regard to a client’s crimes. The general sentiment you’ll hear in the legal community is that it’s okay if you know where your client buried the bodies, but it’s not okay if you helped your client bury the bodies. It appears Trump’s attorney is now lying about his own actions in an attempt at getting his client’s public confession thrown out.
This gets into legally murky, and very dangerous, territory. If a judge rules that John Dowd has to testify whether he wrote the tweet, he’ll have to choose between perjuring himself or admitting he tried to help his client cover up a crime. Attorneys went to prison in Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Is it about to happen again in Donald Trump’s treason scandal?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report