Updated | President Donald Trump’s recent tweets about current or former FBI officials could violate laws meant to protect witnesses, according to two former White House ethics lawyers.
In recent days, Trump has criticized former FBI Director James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and outgoing FBI general counsel James Baker. In a tweet on December 23, Trump repeated a previous claim that Comey leaked a memo to a friend to pass along to a reporter. In the same tweet, the president also resurfaced a claim that McCabe received $700,000 from “puppets” of Hillary Clinton, a reference to a state senate campaign in which McCabe’s wife received $675,288 in contributions from two entities associated with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally.
In a follow-up tweet that day, Trump added, “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” And in a third tweet, he wrote, “Wow, ‘FBI lawyer James Baker reassigned,’ according to @FoxNews.”
The next day, Trump tweeted again about McCabe and his wife, referencing a Fox News report about the deputy’s allegedly using “his FBI Official Email Account to promote her campaign. You obviously cannot do this.”
The FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Trump’s 2016 campaign, including whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey in May—and it’s possible that Comey, McCabe and Baker could be witnesses in that probe. Comey has already testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, in June, and McCabe met with the House Intelligence Committee on December 19. Both committees are overseeing their own investigations into Russia’s election meddling and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. On December 21, McCabe also met with members of the House Committee on Oversight and…