Ex-Watergate prosecutor: Giuliani's defense of Trump tweet is 'very weak'

Ex-Watergate prosecutor: Giuliani's defense of Trump tweet is 'very weak'
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A former Watergate prosecutor late Wednesday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE's attorney Rudy Giuliani over his explanation that Trump was merely issuing an "opinion" when he called for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE to end the special counsel probe.

"I think it’s a very weak defense," assistant Watergate special prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said on MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell."


"It is a question for the jury as to whether 'should' is an order or just an opinion. And I think when presented to a jury, they would find in the context of all of the other tweets that the president has done and all the other actions he has taken, including the firing of [former FBI Director] James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMisfired 'Hurricane': Comey's team abused Carter Page and the FBI Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE, that they would find the word 'should' was an order." 

Wine-Banks argued that Trump's tweet on Wednesday calling for Sessions to immediately end the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was sent with the intention that Sessions obey it and that Trump has "undermined" the probe from the beginning.

Sessions, who previously served as an adviser to the Trump campaign, recused himself from probes involving Russia last year. Sessions's recusal left his deputy, Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE, as the highest-ranking Justice Department official overseeing the probe. Rosenstein then appointed Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE as special counsel after Trump fired Comey.

"He has polluted any possible impact on a potential jury in any case because of what he is saying," Wine-Banks argued of Trump on MSNBC.

Trump ratcheted up his attacks on the Mueller probe on Wednesday, tweeting that Sessions "should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further."

Trump lawyers Jay Sekulow and Giuliani later asserted that Trump was expressing an opinion in his tweet, with Giuliani pointing to the word "should" to support his argument.

In a press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed that line, saying that the tweet was the president's opinion.

Mueller is reportedly looking at Trump's tweets as part of an investigation into whether the president obstructed justice.