Former Watergate prosecutor: Trump comments could be grounds for gag order

A prosecutor who worked on the Watergate case said this week that President Trump's remarks on the ongoing Russia investigation may warrant a gag order for the president.

“This could be grounds for Mueller to obtain a gag order on Trump,” prosecutor Nick Akerman told Politico, referring to special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin.

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The comment follows Trump publicly accusing his former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos of lying about the campaign's dealings with Russia. Papadopoulos earlier this month pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his connections to Russia. 

Trump blasted Papadopoulos as a "liar" and a "low-level volunteer" who has mischaracterized his work with the campaign. Trump has maintained there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

According to Akerman, the comments by Trump may interfere with Papadopoulos's right to a fair trial. 

"It would be unprecedented, but he is interfering with the government’s right to a fair trial," Akerman said. Papadopoulos may be called to witness in further court proceedings on the issue, raising questions over whether Trump's comments on his former adviser may be improper. 

Papadopoulos reportedly suggested in a campaign meeting with then-candidate Trump that he could potentially set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, boasting about his high-up contacts with the nation.  

Papadopoulos was among three former Trump aides who received the first criminal indictments in the Russia investigation.