In Trump's case, his petard might wind up to be Twitter, his everyday early morning workout. Trump takes to Twitter to energize his base, the Gullibillies. He routinely uses tweets to disseminate lies and smear opponents. Favourite targets have been former FBI director, James Comey; the FBI, the CIA, the Mueller investigation, Rosenstein, just about anybody or any thing with which he has an axe to grind.
From the get go Trump's aides have struggled in vain to get him to give up Twitter. The Mango Mussolini, true to form, has simply ignored their advice. Now the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators are poring over Trump's tweets.
As defense attorney Ken White writes on Twitter, Mueller and his team aren’t trying to make Trump’s tweets a crime, per se — rather, they might use them to piece together a mosaic, combined with other evidence, to determine the true motivations behind the president’s actions.
“A thing that is not a crime can be EVIDENCE of a crime,” writes White. “This is particularly true when it comes to a potential defendant’s mental state — what they knew and when they knew it, what they intended, and so forth.”
...White explains that Trump’s tweets attacking the Mueller probe, along with his attacks on key figures in the investigation such as former FBI Director James Comey, could really come back to burn the president when used as evidence against him.
“In the case of the President of the United States, it’s perfectly plausible that his tweets could be evidence of (1) what he knew and when, and (2) what he intended when he did other things off of Twitter,” he writes. “It doesn’t mean the tweets themselves are a crime.”Mueller's team should have ample evidence of conduct that looks like obstruction of justice or other crimes. By itself that stuff, referred to as the "actus reus," ordinarily won't ground a conviction. There has to be a second element, a guilty intent, the "mens rea," to transform a bad act into a crime.
And if all this sounds like a load of hooey, remember this: when Congress moved to impeach Richard Nixon it was for obstruction of justice related to the Watergate break-in and cover-up. Adios, Tricky Dicky. Enjoy that last helicopter ride on Marine One. Fortunately there's room for another presidential sayonara.