Some experts say President Donald Trump may have committed a felony if he meant to threaten former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Twitter.
"Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel," read Trump's controversial tweet.
Trump posted the tweed on May 8, only hours before Yates was due to give her testimony at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
Such words could constitute felony witness tampering if Trump meant to mute Yates' testimony with them, Salon reports.
Although it appears Yates was unaffected by Trump's tweet, if proven as a veiled threat, Trump would be guilty of committing a crime according to Title 18, Chapter 73, Section 1512, Part (b). Such a conviction could lead to 20 years in prison.
It is a felony other legal experts believe Trump may have committed.
"This is a clear attempt, by the president, to intimidate Yates from testifying in a criminal case by implying she'll be charged if she does," tweeted former attorney, criminal investigator, professor, and The Washington Post contributor Seth Abramson.
Georgia attorney Chris J. Bowen also agrees with the analysis.
"What is particularly disturbing about this situation is that President Trump actually has the power and authority to direct the Department of Justice to conduct any investigation of his choosing," explained Bowen. "Given his history of temper tantrums and erratic behavior, it is easy to understand why Sally Yates would be justifiably nervous about such a not-so-veiled threat to prosecute her if she were to testify unfavorably."
Not everyone agrees with these conclusions.
"There are a lot of strong, true allegations to make against Trump," comments Thomas L. Knapp, director at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism, in response to Salon's piece. "The idea that publicly calling on a Senate committee to ask someone a particular question is a felony is not one of those strong, true allegations. In fact, the suggestion is monumentally stupid. Being president doesn't deprive one of the right to have, and to express, an opinion on public proceedings."
"It's pathetic how this statement has been twisted into the most outrageous claim imaginable," added another commenter. "It speaks volumes as to the sick, paranoid mind of American media's toxic [social justice warrior] subculture."
"As much as I loathe Trump, I certainly do not see that 'translation' from his tweet," wrote a third commenter. "Not in one bit. That twisting of words is something that right wingers and Republicans would do."