Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted that he knew Flynn lied, and that’s why he “had to fire” him.
Critics immediately raised concerns, noting that if Trump did in fact know Flynn had lied, then Trump’s request that FBI Director James Comey “let this go” amounts to an obstruction of justice.
Sunday, Trump’s lawyer John Dowd told CNN “he drafted the tweet and believes White House social media director Dan Scavino posted it online.” But the tweet in question uses the word “pled” — a non-standard word that practicing lawyers (and journalists who follow AP Style) would normally render as “pleaded.”
Law professor and member of the Bush legal team Richard Painter noted that if Dowd did actually write a tweet that incriminated his own client, he’s not exactly a shining model of a legal professional.
In other news, according to axios,com, this same lawyer says 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.”
Does grammar matter? Do social media posts have real-world consequences? Is the stuff I teach important Discrediting the free press is the first step any modern tyrant takes.