The Washington Post reported Monday night that President Donald Trump orchestrated his son Donald Jr.‘s initial statement regarding his meeting with a Russian attorney during the presidential campaign. The statement, saying that the meeting had more to do with Russian adoption than campaign business, is now viewed as misleading, since Trump Jr. has acknowledged that he attended the meeting hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Now a Harvard Law professor says Trump’s instructions could amount to witness tampering.
If Trump knew Jr wd need to testify under oath this cd be witness tampering + evidence of consciousness of guilt https://t.co/YELbpEzp3V
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) August 1, 2017
Prof. Laurence Tribe is a known critic of President Trump, but he backed up his tweet by saying that POTUS knew that this topic would come up in a Justice Department investigation. Politicians are known to spin facts, and flat out lie to the media when it suits their purposes. This news, however—if true—would be very different, Tribe said in an email to LawNewz.com, because of the surrounding circumstances.
“Not every politician — not by a long shot — is under a DOJ investigation that involves a son (and son-in-law) also under DOJ investigation when the politician concocts a lie for his son,” Tribe said. The professor added that at the time Trump reportedly gave his son the instructions, he knew that Don Jr. “will have to testify under oath to a highly incriminating meeting with a foreign adversary, to use in deflecting attention from suspected collusion with that adversary to tilt the US presidential election in the politician’s direction.”
Under federal law, witness tampering includes when someone “corruptly persuades another person … influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding.” The law specifies that there doesn’t have to be an official proceeding going on at the time. Tribe is basically saying that if Trump knew that his son would end up having to testify under oath at some point (which he thinks is likely), then by influencing him to use a story that wasn’t entirely true, he could have violated the witness tampering statute.”
Also, he says, the mere idea that Trump went out of his way to tell his son to not give the whole truth, as the Post report says he did, is evidence that he’s guilty of something.
[Image via screengrab]
Note: This article has been updated.