Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) is asking whether Donald Trump committed a federal crime by engaging in witness intimidation with a tweet about Sally Yates. If Trump was convicted of witness intimidation, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
This tweet from Trump may have been a crime:
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
Rep. Ted Lieu asked if Trump was tampering with a witness:
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 8, 2017
(b) Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to—
(1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;
(2) cause or induce any person to—
(A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding;
Punishment for a guilty conviction on a charge of witness tampering or intimidation carries a penalty of up to 201 years in prison.
The question that Rep. Lieu raised was an interesting one. Is a tweet from the President Of The United States before a witness testifies before Congress potential witness tampering?
A judge would have to answer that question, but Trump is clearly using his social media presence to shape witness testimony. If this is a case of witness tampering, Trump’s tweets could land him in serious legal trouble.