President Trump committed a crime with one of his early Monday morning tweets about the Russia scandal, but it’s not clear if he’ll ever be held accountable for that crime.
The crime that he committed is witness intimidation. The particular early Monday morning tweet in question accuses former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates of leaking information to the media about her warning to the White House over (former) National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump wrote: “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.”
Trump and his team have long insinuated that the people who leak information about the investigation into his ties to Russia should be the real source of concern.
The issue with Trump’s tweet making it worse than normal is that Yates is set to testify before the Senate on Monday afternoon about (former) Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia. Flynn was literally so corrupted that he never even got the security clearance that is supposed to normally go with his job.
For Trump to accuse Yates in this fashion just hours ahead of her Senate testimony is a clear case of witness intimidation, which is a felony.
As journalist Seth Abramson wrote:
‘Donald Trump is witness tampering, which is a crime…This is a clear attempt, by the president, to intimidate Yates from testifying in a criminal case by implying she’ll be charged if she does. And because the president holds power over the DOJ, Trump’s threat is a direct threat rather than an indirect one. He is committing a crime.’
CNN’s Dana Bash commented similarly, saying:
‘For the president of the United States to be this aggressive with somebody who used to work for him, who is coming before the United States Congress in sworn testimony hours later, is beyond the pale. It just is.’