February 22, 2020

Obstruction of Twitter

“One of the many important facets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry is his observation that President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter and other mass media could subvert the criminal-justice system. As Mueller’s report notes, Trump used his media muscle to discourage potential witnesses from cooperating and to raise the possibility of a presidential pardon as a reward for silence.

“While it may be more difficult to establish that public-facing acts were motivated by a corrupt intent, the President’s power to influence actions, persons, and events is enhanced by his unique ability to attract attention through use of mass communications,” the report says. “And no principle of law excludes public acts from the scope of obstruction statutes. If the likely effect of the acts is to intimidate witnesses or alter their testimony, the justice system’s integrity is equally threatened.”

This should have been a warning to Trump that his trail of tweets could be construed as evidence for such federal offenses as intimidating or retaliating against a witness. But even after the Mueller report spelled that out for him, Trump persists in a broad effort to bend the justice system to his benefit.”

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