'Total gangster stuff': CNN legal analyst slams Matt Gaetz's threatening tweet to Cohen — but says Trump has done worse

Video

On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sent what appeared to be a threatening tweet to President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen, ahead of his testimony to Congress in which he has is expected to reveal evidence of Trump's criminal behavior.


"Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?" Gaetz tweeted. "Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot..."

His actions earned him a sharp warning from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and led others to speculate whether he could be prosecuted for witness tampering. For the record, there is no evidence for his claims.

But as CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told Wolf Blitzer, prosecuting Gaetz would be difficult — because he is only following the lead of the man who wrote the book on alleged Twitter witness tampering.

"Does that look like a threat to you on the eve of his testimony before the House Oversight Committee?" Blitzer asked Toobin.

"Absolutely, it's total gangster stuff," said Toobin. "The problem with pursuing that in some sort of law enforcement context is that the president has tweeted worse things about Michael Cohen. He's threatened Michael Cohen's father-in-law with prosecution. And whatever else you think of Gaetz the congressman, he's not in charge of the Justice Department. The president is in charge of the Justice Department and has threatened Cohen's father-in-law with prosecution. So, the sort of Colombo/Genovese approach to this whole relationship with Michael Cohen is consistent across the president and his allies."

Trump originally made the threat against Cohen's father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, in an interview with Fox News' Jeanine Pirro. Shusterman reportedly gave a multimillion-dollar loan to the owner of a Chicago taxi company, who was mentioned in the warrants used by the FBI to search Cohen's home and law office.

Toobin added that while members of Congress are not immune from prosecution for witness tampering, but "I think it would be difficult for the Justice Department to pursue this and not pursue the president, and, you know, I just don't think that's going to happen."

Watch below:

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