President Donald Trump‘s public feud with CNN remains ongoing, and according to one former White House lawyer, it’s setting him up for legal failure at least two different ways. On Saturday, our Tweeter-in-Chief had blasted the outlet once again, saying it “is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.” Former White House lawyer Norm Eisen responded shortly after, saying this post undermined Trump’s legal endeavors.
“Dear Dodo-in-Chief: u realize that this tweet is going 2be an exhibit against u in the DOJ -TimeWarner antitrust case right?” tweeted Eisen on Saturday. “It also smacks of collusion since u did it on day when Vlad cracked down on US networks.” Eisen previously served in the Obama administration as an ethics lawyer, and is currently chairman of the board for CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). This legal group, which describes itself as nonpartisan, has filed its fair share of legal complaints against the Trump administration.
Dear Dodo-in-Chief: u realize that this tweet is going 2be an exhibit against u in the DOJ -TimeWarner antitrust case right? It also smacks of collusion since u did it on day when Vlad cracked down on US networks. For that reason, it may open u to other civil liability. G’night! https://t.co/acyCYYSYeK
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) November 26, 2017
Trump’s tweet invited poor optics for a couple of reasons.
One, the Department of Justice recently sued to stop a merger between AT&T and CNN’s parent company, Time Warner. The government said they have a legit concern: That other cable providers would work at an unfair disadvantage because AT&T, owner of DirecTV, would leverage and possibly withhold Time Warner’s programming from competitors. The problem, however, is Trump’s long-running feud with CNN. POTUS has gone out of his way in publicly trying to undermine the news outlet. The common concern is that the DOJ’s lawsuit is driven by Trump’s dislike for the network. That would be illegal if true.
Then there’s the whole “collusion” thing. POTUS’ tweet came on Saturday, the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill allowing the Kremlin to identify foreign news outlets as foreign agents. This has been seen as a retaliatory move against the American government for making RT and Sputnik register as foreign agents. Trump, who is usually all-too-glad to fight in public, has been actively cordial with Putin despite allegations by U.S. intel officials that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election.
A special counsel is investigating whether the president’s campaign colluded in Russian interference efforts. Trump called the allegation a “witch hunt” by Democrats.
[Screengrab via NBC]