SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert Mueller may now be in the stage of putting the pieces of the Russia probe evidence together and with this, President Donald Trump has gone ballistic in his tweets against those conducting the investigation on the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to discredit his political opponent Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the presidency.
This week, Trump spewed tweets involving two of his former allies — one is in praise of the ally who refuses to cooperate in the Russia probe, and the other in a sentencing mode against his former loyal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, who just pleaded guilty to lying before federal investigators about the true nature of Trump’s business interests in Russia.
Trump tweeted on Monday, December 3: “’I will never testify against Trump.’
This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”
This tweet runs contrary to his previous statements during the campaign whereby he chastised Clinton allies who invoked the “Fifth Amendment,” saying that those who used their “right to remain silent” must be hiding something and must, therefore be guilty of the crime.
On the other hand, Trump stated in two tweets:
“‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get……..his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”
And the president yet again boosted his attack against Mueller:
“Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats, don’t want the truth, they only want lies. The truth is very bad for their mission!”
These tweets do not sit well not only among Democrats, but even among Republican legal experts as well, by nature of their content and intent. They posit that the president’s tweets could represent an illegal attempt to influence a witness in the special counsel’s investigation.
One of these legal experts is the president’s now vocal critic in the Republican Party who is the husband of Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway.
On Twitter, Conway replied to Trump’s tweet, suggesting that the president violated portions of the U.S. code governing witness tampering and obstruction of justice, stating: “File under “18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512”, a statute referring to threatening and intimidating witnesses: “Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror…” (law.cornell.edu)
In fact just last November, Conway organized a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers to form “Checks and Balances”, a group that grew from their need to publicly reaffirm the importance of the rule of law, which they feel is being threatened by the Trump administration.
As the Washington Post reported, the group “rallies behind the notion that it is important for lawyers who see President Trump’s actions as unconstitutional to speak up.”
Checks and Balances wrote in their mission statement: “We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights and the necessity of civil discourse. We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power. We believe in ‘a government of laws, not of men.”
It is about time. Donald Trump — the celebrity, reality show star, businessman, president and commander-in-chief of the United States — is NOT above the law.
As the spineless Republicans in Congress continue to condone and enable the President’s attacks against the rule of law, as well as the democratic institutions and processes of the United States — we, the people, should open our eyes and ears, speak out and hold him and his cohorts accountable.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos