Blumenthal: ‘Clearly’ Trump is violating law against intimidating witnesses

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said on Wednesday that President Trump is “clearly” violating law against intimidating witnesses with his comments about his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

“Clearly there’s a violation here of Title 18 United States Code 1512 which stops and protects against intimidation of witnesses,” Blumenthal said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “He would be prosecutable, but for his being president.”

“I believe a sitting president can be indicted… to stop ongoing criminal activity,” he added. 

{mosads}Cohen postponed his congressional testimony Wednesday, citing alleged threats from the president and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Cohen’s legal adviser Lanny Davis said in a statement.

Trump responded to the postponement later Wednesday, saying that Cohen had been “threatened by the truth.”

“He doesn’t want to tell the truth for me or other of his clients,” Trump told reporters.

Cohen was sentenced last year to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, tax fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations surrounding a Trump Tower development in Moscow.

Cohen said he committed the campaign finance violations at Trump’s direction and that he felt it was “my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”

Since the sentencing, the president has called Cohen a “rat” and insisted that his former lawyer lied to prosecutors to secure a lighter prison sentence.

Trump has also said that investigators should “look at” Cohen’s father-in-law. Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, pleaded guilty in the 1990s to tax fraud charges in connection with his New York taxi business.

“These words of intimidation come from the President of the United States with a vast Twitter following,” Blumenthal told host Wolf Blizter.

The president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has similarly blasted Cohen in the months since he pleaded guilty and began cooperating with prosecutors, calling him a “serial liar.” On Sunday, he argued that Trump was justified in pointing fingers at Cohen’s father-in-law. 

When asked about Giuliani’s comments, Blumenthal said “I think that kind of statement… could be indictable.”

Tags Donald Trump

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