Appearing with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, two legal analysts marveled and laughed at a President Donald Trump’s Saturday tweet that they claim could be used as an admission of guilt that will be used by special counsel Robert Mueller in a obstruction case against the sitting president.
Saturday afternoon, Trump tweeted, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
According to Brennan Center of Justice President Michael Waldman and MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos, Trump’s tweet may come back to haunt him since presidential tweets are accepted as official statements.
“Do you think the president just admitted knowing Flynn was lying at the time of the firing or is there some wiggle room here knowing how the president can be loose with his wording when it comes to his tweets?” Witt asked, before adding, “But if it were true, would that qualify as obstruction?”
“It’s interesting for exactly the reason that you pointed out — timing,” Cevallos explained. “Section 1001 requires that the person making the statement knowingly make a false statement. So Trump’s tweet about the fact that Flynn lied to the vice president and lied to FBI agents raises the question of whether or not he knew he lied at the time — whether or not Trump was aware he lied at the time — because then Trump could be read as saying there was nothing wrong. No one did anything wrong except that Flynn lied to FBI agents, which we know from the false statement statute is itself a crime. So read that way, Trumps tweet makes no sense. Read another way, it’s arguably okay.”