As a jury convicted Trump’s longtime buddy Roger Stone of seven felonies for obstructing the congressional inquiry, lying to Congress and trying to block the testimony of a witness whose account would have exposed his lies, (READ: WITNESS TAMPERING), what does Trump do? Posts a tweet attacking Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, while she testified during Friday’s impeachment hearing.
As his tweet posted, Chairman Adam Schiff interrupted Ms. Yovanovitch to read out loud Trump’s tweet.
White House Press Secretary (who has YET to hold a press conference) Stephanie On the Rocks Grisham commented on Trump’s tweet.
“The tweet was not witness intimidation,” Ms. Grisham said. “It was simply the president’s opinion, which he is entitled to. This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process — or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the president.”The New York Times:
Does Trump’s tweet and behavior amount to witness tampering or witness intimidation?
Federal witness tampering law, which is part of a broader obstruction of justice statute, makes it a felony, under some circumstances, to try to dissuade or hinder witnesses from attending or testifying in an official proceeding.
The president’s tweet on Friday did not threaten Ms. Yovanovitch. But the law covers not just threats and intimidation, which are punishable by 20 years in prison, but mere harassment as well, a lesser but still serious offense punishable by three years in prison.
Still, even viewed as mere harassment, Mr. Trump’s attacks on Ms. Yovanovitch on Friday would be challenging to prosecute under the witness tampering statute. Prosecutors would be hard pressed to convince a jury that he was trying to dissuade her, at least, from attending the hearing and testifying because he waited to lash out until after she was already in the hearing room and in the midst of testifying.
However, given the past violent and deranged behavior of some Trump supporters, Trump’s tweet(s) and his rhetoric could pose a safety concern/risk to those testifying before Congress, including Ms. Yovanovitch and the whistleblower(s).
“President Trump dismissed criticism Friday that he had tried to intimidate a witness in the impeachment inquiry, saying a disparaging tweet about former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testified before a House panel was “free speech.”
“I have the right to speak,” Trump said at an afternoon event in the Oval Office.”The Washington Post:
Today in a nutshell:
And the Republicans whine and deflect:
Gym Jordan performed his usual and comical gymnastics using a bunch of word salad in hopes to throw Ms. Yovanovitch off her game; he failed.