Trump is alleged to have committed “a textbook example of felony witness tampering” by a noted former criminal investigator Seth Abramson, who has been reporting extensively on the Russia scandal.
The internet was ablaze on Wednesday with the news that White House Communications Director Hope Hicks had resigned.
The New York Times reported that Hicks “planned to leave the White House in the next few weeks.”
Ms. Hicks, 29, a former model who joined Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign without any experience in politics, became known as one of the few aides who understood Mr. Trump’s personality and style and could challenge the president to change his views.
Her title belied the extent of her power within the West Wing — after John F. Kelly was appointed White House chief of staff, she had more access to the Oval Office than almost any other staff member. Her own office, which she inherited after the departure of another Trump confidant, Keith Schiller, was just next door.
The Hill reported on Wednesday that:
Trump reportedly berated former White House communications director Hope Hicks the day before her resignation, according to a new report.
CNN’s Erin Burnett reported Wednesday that Trump was angry with Hicks following her closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, in which she reportedly revealed she was sometimes required to tell “white lies” as part of her work in the White House.
Former criminal investigator and criminal defense attorney, Seth Abramson, weighed in on the news surrounding Hicks’ resignation, making the case that it amounts to another attempt on the part of Trump to obstruct justice.
“In America, if you know an employee who you have the power to fire or punish is a witness in a pending criminal investigation—and you angrily berate them for giving truthful testimony in a mid-probe interview with the intent to change their future testimony—it’s a CRIME,” Abramson began.
(THREAD) In America, if you know an employee who you have the power to fire or punish is a witness in a pending criminal investigation—and you angrily berate them for giving truthful testimony in a mid-probe interview with the intent to change their future testimony—it's a CRIME. pic.twitter.com/x8tJdpAndP
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) March 1, 2018
Continuing, Abramson wrote:
CNN is reporting that Hicks made the decision to resign after she was berated by President Trump for her *truthful* testimony—under penalty of prosecution—before Congress. She testified—*truthfully*—that on occasion she had told “white lies” to protect Trump’s interests.
“How could you be so *stupid*?” Trump is reported to have said to her—apparently with such force and a desire to confront that, per CNN, it was the proximate (if admittedly not the only) cause of her resigning her position. If true, this puts Trump in *new legal jeopardy*.
[W]hat Trump was doing was berating a subordinate who he knew was a witness in a pending criminal investigation (an investigation in which he is a target) for *telling the truth* about having had to lie for him on occasion. This is a textbook case of felony witness tampering.
Let that soak in for a minute. “This is a textbook case of felony witness tampering.”
Continuing to make his case, Abramson wrote:
Trump’s intent is established by his knowledge that Hicks was a potential witness against him; that her truthful testimony hurt him; his tone and words in speaking to Hicks; by the obvious—powerful—effect their force and anger had on her; and by bare common sense as to motive.
It’s further established by it being a modus operandi for Trump to contact witnesses in the case against him and express whatever his feelings were/are about their cooperation/non-cooperation in an investigation in which he was/is a target. Like telling Flynn to “stay strong.”
After providing some additional details regarding how “felony witness tampering” is playing out in this instance, Abramson concluded his analysis writing that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and his team are going to be pulling Hicks back in for additional questioning in light of this new development:
Remember: Trump has been *instructed* by an *army of top criminal defense attorneys* to *never* have *any* conversation with *any* witness in the pending federal criminal investigation now targeting him. He *literally shouldn’t have opened his mouth* to Hicks on this topic.
In this context, expect Mueller to now speak to Hicks a second time, as she now becomes a witness in a new Obstruction and/or Witness Tampering investigation (“intimidation” sub-clause). I said long ago that if Trump didn’t restrain himself he’d dig a deeper hole—and he has.