Mueller reportedly probing Trump's tweets against Sessions, Comey

It's the latest in a series of presidential actions that have attracted the scrutiny of the special counsel, according to The New York Times.

Abrar Al-Heeti Video producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET breaking down the latest trends on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, while also reporting on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has twice been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
3 min read
Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into President Donald Trump's tweets.

Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's attacks on Twitter may have caught up to him. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining the president's tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James B. Comey, according to The New York Times, and reportedly wants to question Trump about them.

The special counsel is also investigating a series of other actions by the president for a possible obstruction case, The Times reported. They include private meetings with Comey, Sessions and other officials about the Russia investigation, as well as misleading statements from the White House and public attacks, according to the paper. 

Some of Trump's Twitter statements were reportedly made while he was pressuring Sessions and Comey about the investigation. The two men are key witnesses in the inquiry. Mueller is looking into whether those acts qualify as attempts to obstruct the investigation "by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry," according to The Times. 

Trump's lawyers told the publication that these acts don't constitute obstruction, and said the president shouldn't have to answer Mueller's questions. But some have also said they're concerned Mueller will use several pieces of evidence, such as the tweets, to string together a case that Trump partook in an effort to tamper with the investigation. 

The special counsel's office declined to comment. The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Mueller's investigators reportedly told Trump's lawyers that they're scrutinizing the tweets under a wide-ranging obstruction-of-justice law. They didn't say they were looking at potential witness tampering, but they're reportedly examining his actions under a part of the United States Code called "Tampering With a Witness, Victim or an Informant." 

It's not clear what will happen if Mueller concludes there's enough evidence that Trump committed a crime. If he doesn't want to make a case in court, his findings could reportedly be sent to Congress, and lawmakers would then decide if they want to start impeachment proceedings.

Trump tried to get Sessions to resign last July, and later criticized him on Twitter. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" Trump wrote.

The next day, he again slammed Sessions as well as former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is another witness against Trump. "Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!"

After Trump fired Comey in May 2017, the former FBI director became a chief witness against the president in the investigation. 

Trump tweeted attacks about Comey's work in October, saying: "Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn't do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept? As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!"

Trump's lawyers have reportedly said the president is constantly under attack and has a right to defend himself through social media. 

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET's newsstand edition.

Fight the Power: Take a look at who's transforming the way we think about energy.