In a seven-page court document filed Wednesday morning, Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller sent a clear message that if the targets of his investigation post messages on Twitter, those tweets will come back to haunt them because Mueller’s team is monitoring their Twitter feeds. That message that could spell danger for Donald Trump who has, experts say, posted numerous tweets that could incriminate him, as the Washington Post has documented.
Mueller’s filing Wednesday was a response to an earlier motion by former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, as Buzzfeed News reporter Zoe Tillman reported via Twitter. Papadopolous pled guilty last year to lying to the FBI in connection with the Russia investigation and is scheduled to start serving a 14-day sentence on Monday, November 26. The short sentence resulted from a plea deal the now-31-year-old Papadopoulos struck with Mueller in which he agreed to cooperate with the Russia probe.
Papadopoulos, as Inquisitr reported, was told in April of 2016 by a Russia-linked academic about “thousands” of hacked Democratic, Hillary Clinton emails containing “dirt” on Clinton that were in the Russian government’s possession, a fact about which he lied to FBI investigators.
But even two weeks behind bars is apparently too much for Papadopoulos, who in recent weeks has taken to Twitter to claim that he was “framed,” and that his guilty plea was the result of “entrapment.” Mueller cited Papadopoulos’s tweets specifically in his Wednesday filing in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
In Mueller’s filing, he noted that tweets posted by Papadopoulos since he was sentenced on September 8 “appear to be inconsistent with his stated acceptance of responsibility at sentencing,” as Vox.com writer Andrew Prokop noted on Twitter.
Mueller specifically cited a Twitter post in which the former Trump campaign adviser stated that pleading guilty was his “biggest regret.” That tweet has since been deleted from Papadopoulos’s Twitter account.
But what does Mueller’s willingness to use Papadopoulos’ tweets against him signal for Trump? Experts say that Trump has posted self-incriminating statements on Twitter multiple times — tweets that Mueller can now use as evidence against him. In one such Twitter message posted in August, Trump stated that his son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a group of Kremlin-connected Russians in Trump Tower during the campaign “to get information on an opponent,” an assertion that appears similar to what Papadopoulos was told about Clinton “dirt” in Russia’s hands.
In a Twitter post in December of last year, Trump discussed his firing of Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser — a firing that was initially claimed to be related to Flynn’s lying to then-incoming Vice President Mike Pence about his Russia contacts. But in the tweet, Trump appeared to admit that he knew Flynn had also lied to the FBI.
Lying to the FBI, unlike lying to a politician, is a federal crime. The day after he fired Flynn, as New York Magazine recounts, Trump attempted to pressure then-FBI Director James Comey into dropping the bureau’s investigation of Flynn.
If Trump knew that Flynn had committed a crime, his attempt to push Comey into stopping the Flynn investigation could also be a crime — obstruction of justice, as former intelligence community attorney Susan Hennessy stated on her Twitter account.
In April, as Inquisitr reported, a list of questions for Trump drawn up by Mueller’s team in the Russia collusion investigation appeared to have been based directly on a number of Trump’s tweets.
“Perhaps most notably, the questions also suggest that Mueller has been paying close attention to Trump’s Twitter feed,” wrote Quartz reporter Annalisa Merelli at the time. “Trump has already tweeted about many incidents relevant to Mueller’s inquiries, which might make it that much more difficult for Trump (and his lawyers) to skirt the questions.”