Panicked Trump might have just committed obstruction of justice on Twitter


As the special counsel moves in, Trump is frantically using social media to threaten people he fears are cooperating with investigators. Only one problem: that could also be a crime.

By the current count, special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted three of Donald Trump's associates, and all evidence suggests that more are coming.

Trump is lashing out as Mueller's prosecution team strikes close to home. In particular, he has reserved his outrage for George Papadopoulos, a member of Trump's election campaign who has already pleaded guilty and, if the evidence is any indication, is now an informant.

Leaving aside the fact that it is clear, by now, that Papadopoulos was not a "low level volunteer" and was working with Trump's foreign policy team, it is incredibly suspicious for Trump to be lashing out on Twitter at a witness in the Russia investigation.

In fact, it may be more than suspicious. It may be a federal crime.

On an MSNBC panel on Wednesday, conservative commentator Charlie Sykes and former Pentagon and CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash joined Nicolle Wallace to discuss the legal implications of Trump's social media attacks on Papadopoulos:

SYKES: I find it truly amazing, in the year of many amazing things, that Donald Trump is continuing to tweet about this after we know that Papadopoulos has been flipped. After we know he may have worn a wire. After Mueller has all of this data. And after we know that Trump himself may be investigated for obstruction of justice. So what is he doing? He is attacking a cooperating witness in an ongoing criminal investigation, which I understand we've had many amazing and remarkable things, but that is definitely not normal and it's not smart. I cannot believe his lawyers are not pitching a fit.

WALLACE: Jeremy Bash, you're a lawyer. Let me ask you to weigh in.

BASH: Charlie is right. That's a form of obstruction of justice. He's trying to intimidate Papadopoulos and say, hey, guy, don't testify against me, there'll be hell to pay.

Every part of Trump's response to investigations of Russia raise red flags. He has already faced accusations of obstruction over his original decision to fire FBI Director James Comey while he was investigating the matter — even going so far as to then brag to Russian diplomats that he had gotten rid of a "nut job" who had been causing him "great pressure."

Trump is used to being able to bully and intimidate his way to getting what he wants. Unfortunately for him, this is not how federal criminal investigations work. And the more he tries to fight back, the worse it will end for him.