Trump’s retaliation against witnesses could get him 10 years in prison: Ex-Nixon lawyer
On Wednesday’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” former Nixon lawyer William Jeffress warned President Donald Trump that his behavior could put him in legal jeopardy.
“Through his tweets if nothing else, President Trump has made it clear that he’s furious at a number of people, certainly including Don McGahn, including Michael Cohen, likely including others who provided information to Mr. Mueller,” said Jeffress. “And that information made its way into the report and was embarrassing to President Trump.”
“Now there is a criminal statute on the books. It’s called retaliation against witnesses,” said Jeffress. “It punishes anybody who takes action to retaliate against a witness who has provided truthful information to law enforcement authorities. And President Trump and his lawyers have got to be very cautious in taking any action other than words against any of these people who he is angry at.”
“In terms of — what you just said there, other than words, would the kind of criticism that the president has levied already against people who have testified potentially be shaky ground, given the possibility of intimidation of witnesses being invoked here as a relevant statute?” Maddow pressed him. “Would it have to be some sort of act of furtherance to try to cause harm to those persons?” Maddow noted a recent report that the Trump campaign fired McGahn’s law firm ahead of the 2020 election.
“The way the statute reads is, if the president causes any harm to an individual in retaliation for his testimony, that’s a criminal offense carrying a prison sentence of up to 10 years,” said Jeffress. “And, yes, I think if you caused the firing of a law firm that caused harm to the witness, and you did that specifically with intent to retaliate against the witness’ testimony, that would unquestionably be a crime.”