Trump’s Lawyer ‘Should Be Disbarred’ – Legal Experts Weigh In

John Dowd, claimed he authored a bombshell tweet posted on Trump’s Twitter account confessing to obstruction of justice. Richard Painter and Seth Abramson weigh in on what this means.

Trump’s Twitter feed lit up over the weekend in the wake of Friday’s bombshell news that Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and was cooperating with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Of particular note was a Saturday tweet stating: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

As NBC News reported, “The tweet caused an uproar in Washington because it implied Trump knew Flynn had committed a felony — lying to the FBI — when he told then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on Flynn the day after the firing. Interfering in the FBI’s investigation could be construed as obstructing justice, potentially creating legal jeopardy for Trump.”

Business Insider offered a similar analysis, reporting that: “Trump’s tweet on Saturday appeared to indicate that Trump was aware Flynn had lied to the FBI when he departed the administration in February.  If Trump knew that Flynn was in the FBI’s crosshairs when he asked former FBI Director James Comey — whom he later fired — to consider ‘letting Flynn go’ the day after Flynn resigned, that could bolster the obstruction case federal prosecutors are building against Trump.”

Continuing, NBC News reported that “Within a few hours, Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, stepped in to say that he wrote the tweet, not the president.”

Dowd told NBC News that he drafted the tweet and then sent it to White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino to publish. When asked for the original email he sent to Scavino, Dowd said he dictated it orally.

George W. Bush’s top ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, weighed in on the matter on Sunday, tweeting that: “A lawyer who writes a Tweet like that incriminating a client should be disbarred. He can tell Mueller he wrote it.”

Attorney and University of New Hampshire professor Seth Abramson agreed with Painter’s assessment.

Responding to a tweet by The Hill linking to an article of theirs detailing Painter’s remark, Abramson wrote: “At a minimum, a lengthy suspension. Neither the state nor federal bars have any interest in sponsoring an attorney who writes incriminating tweets for a client without telling the client (which I can only assume is the case, as if Dowd told Trump in advance, it IS Trump’s tweet).”

Abramson addressed the Dowd situation in another twitter thread posted on Sunday:

The John Dowd Situation, in three easy steps: (1) If Dowd used Trump’s feed to confess to Obstruction without telling Trump, he must be disbarred. (2) If Trump saw but didn’t stop/erase the tweet, he’s culpable for it. (3) If Dowd lied, he *and* Trump committed Obstruction.

The Guardian reported on Monday that Dowd was offering a new defense of Trump regarding the tweet:

The attorney for Donald Trump who sought to take the blame for a tweet that could signal the president took part in the obstruction of justice has offered a new defence of Trump’s actions: the president cannot obstruct justice.

“The president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” John Dowd told the Axios website.

Dowd went on to tell Axios that: “The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.”

However, as Axios reported, legal experts disagree.

Bob Bauer, an NYU law professor and former White House counsel to President Obama, told me: “It is certainly possible for a president to obstruct justice. The case for immunity has its adherents, but they based their position largely on the consideration that a president subject to prosecution would be unable to perform the duties of the office, a result that they see as constitutionally intolerable.”

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