Legal experts: Trump’s tweet could lead to obstruction of justice charges

President Trump’s tweet suggesting that he knew former national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time of his firing has prompted ethics experts and political observers to question whether Mueller could probe the president for obstruction of justice.

Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, said Saturday that Trump’s tweet would have been enough to end past administrations.

{mosads}And Richard Painter, the top ethics lawyer during former President George W. Bush’s administration, said that Trump “could be Tweeting himself into an obstruction of justice conviction.”

Trump implied that he knew about Flynn’s false statements in a tweet Saturday.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted.

“It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

Others quickly weighed in, including former Obama Department of Justice spokesman Matthew Miller.

“Oh my god, he just admitted to obstruction of justice,” Miller tweeted. “If Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to let it go, then there is your case.” 

And frequent Trump critic Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said that Trump’s tweet was proof of obstruction of justice.

“THIS IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. @POTUS now admits he KNEW Michael Flynn lied to the FBI. Yet Trump tried to influence or stop the FBI investigation on Flynn,” Lieu tweeted.

Former senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer also chimed in, tweeting that “If Trump keeps admitting to obstructing justice, Ty Cobb might be right that the Mueller investigation may wrap up sooner than we think.”

Trump’s tweet and the subsequent fallout comes just one day after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn reached a plea deal with Mueller’s team and faces up to five years in prison on the charge.

Tags Dismissal of James Comey Donald Trump Federal Bureau of Investigation Government James Comey Michael Flynn Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections United States Walter Shaub

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