President Donald Trump’s tweets are causing huge headaches for his lawyers as they try to defend the administration’s most controversial moves in court, CNN reports.
Trump’s Tuesday tweet calling the Russia dossier “bogus” is already being cited in court to argue that intelligence agencies should release the government’s report on the information in the document. Lawyers trying to obtain the government files argue that every time Trump calls the dossier “fake” on Twitter “he could be acknowledging that the intelligence community investigated it and presented to him their findings.”
According to CNN, Trump’s tweets have been cited in a number of cases, including those involving immigration and First Amendment rights.
“In many of the cases, a judge’s ruling on the President’s tweets could carve out a new area of law,” CNN reports. “In some cases, Trump’s tweets may be official statements from the President.”
“Legally speaking, the tweets are quite significant. They provide a window into his beliefs and motivations,” Neal Katyal, who was the acting solicitor general under President Obama and is now leading a case against Trump’s travel ban, told CNN.
In the dossier case, for example, lawyers for the government transparency group James Madison Project and Politico argued in a federal court that Trump’s tweets are official statements and therefore show that the president knows that his intelligence agencies investigated the document.
The lawyers are trying to get the FBI, National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the CIA to hand over a two-page summary the agencies presented to Trump about the dossier after he won the election.
Despite multiple reports that former FBI Director James Comey personally discussed the dossier with Trump, intelligence agencies refuse to say they investigated the dossier. Comey told the Senate in June that he briefed Trump on “salacious and unverified material.”
The government’s lawyers have not yet responded to that argument but argued earlier this year that Trump’s tweets “signify nothing about what Trump knows of the intelligence work,” according to CNN.
Trump’s lawyers argue that the tweets could simply be evidence that Trump watched a news report about the dossier.
“FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION,” Trump tweeted, mentioning “Fox & Friends.”
“Operating upon the good faith assumption that this court has more important things to do than monitor the president’s Twitter feed, the plaintiffs feel they have no choice but to keep this court updated on the continuous official statements by the president in which he specifically and substantively addresses” the lawyers’ argument, the attorneys wrote to the court.
Trump’s lawyers say they are “treating the statements upon which plaintiffs rely as official statements of the president of the United States, but nothing in the statements states or even implies that [the agencies] made a final determination as to the veracity of any factual allegation allegedly contained in the two-page synopsis.”
The president’s tweets have also come up in a case involving who will run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Another case involves a lawsuit brought by people who were blocked by Trump on Twitter, arguing that he violated their First Amendment rights. In another case involving Trump’s travel ban, lawyers argue his tweets show his intent to discriminate against Muslims.