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Yahoo News explains: Obstruction by tweet?

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
  • Adam Schiff
    American politician
  • Jeff Sessions
    Jeff Sessions
    Former United States Attorney General

This week, President Trump unleashed a series of tweets bashing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. One tweet is reigniting the question of whether the president’s actions are obstructing justice.

Trump’s tweet prompted a response from his critics, particularly Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders downplayed the president’s tweet on Wednesday, saying, “It’s not an order; it’s the president’s opinion.”

Is it obstruction by tweet? Prosecutors say obstruction cases aren’t clear-cut. Prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a certain act got in the way of an investigation. Prosecutors also have to prove that the person who obstructed justice did it with corrupt “intent.”

The concept of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” wouldn’t apply if there are other credible reasons why Trump posted the tweet, such as to rally support among his political base.

But prosecutors say his tweet could help build an obstruction case based on an earlier act. This would include Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was at the time leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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