The Trouble With Accusing Trump (and others) of Treason

New vid with text below.

Partisans in both major parties have been throwing around the term "Treason" a lot recently. This video gives you a short primer on why, under the US Constitution the accusations made against Trump for meeting with Putin do not constitute treason, nor would he have committed treason under US law even assuming Mueller can prove Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton. This applies to you Republicans as well, who charged Obama with Treason for entering into the Iran Nuclear Deal and then releasing the funds held in the US pursuant to that agreement.

And no, Hillary Clinton did not commit treason either for any of the numerous things she did as Senator or Secretary of State. Treason is narrowly defined under the Constitution precisely because the Founders did not want it to be used as a weapon against one's political opponents. Even what the Rosenbergs did when they gave away nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union in the 40's did not result in a treason charge against them (They were convicted for violating the Espionage Act).

These casual and outraged accusations of treason by politicians and ideologues of all stripes that their adversaries, whether we are talking Trump or Obama or Clinton or Bush, or anyone else for that matter, coarsen our political discourse and distract us from the very real problems facing the United States and its citizens. For anyone who would like to do some further research on what does and does not constitute treason, here are some links for your elucidation:

"Five myths about treason" authored by Carlton F.W. Larson, professor of law at the University of California at Davis and published in The Washington Post on 2/17/2017: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-treason/2017/02...

"Treason Against the United States," from the New York Times archives: https://www.nytimes.com/1861/01/25/archives/treason-against-the-united-s...

Excerpts from "Discourse on High Treason" by Sir Michael Foster, dated 1762 - Document 7 located on the website: The Founder's Constitution ( a joint venture of the University of Chicago Press and the Liberty Fund.): Article 3, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2 (Document 7): http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a3_3_1-2s7.html

Treason Act 1351 - King Edward III of England (language in the US constitution was directly taken from this English statute for the purpose of limiting the use of treason trials against one's political opponents): http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Edw3Stat5/25/2

"The Constitution’s Treason Clause: Seldom invoked despite threats" by Scott Bomboy, Editor in Chief of the National Constitution Center, dated July 14, 2017: https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-treason-clause-seldom-invoked-de...

U.S. Constitution - Article 3 Section 3 https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A3Sec3.html

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Comments

detroitmechworks's picture

Got somebody pointing out your political hypocrisy?
Get caught with your hand in a pair of panties or a cookie jar?
Want to get ahead in politics and have no morals whatsoever?

If the answer to these questions is yes, don't wait another minute.
Pick up the phone and accuse your opponents of TREASON!

With only the slightest allegation and the ability to play six degrees of Vladimir Putin, you too can tie up the media for days, weeks, EVEN YEARS!

Remember that charge! Treason! For when you know you're right, and the other guy needs to shut the fuck up.

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16 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

@detroitmechworks "Remember that charge! Treason! For when you know you're right, and the other guy needs to shut the fuck up."*

* For discerning Neo Liberals everywhere. Not responsible for typos or assassinations. American Express only.

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11 users have voted.

"violating the King's eldest daughter, unmarried" Pretty narrow ground. Go ahead and violate her younger sister, it's not treason!

I suppose because that wouldn't muddy the succession.

EDIT:
I suspect it would get you beheaded even if it isn't treason.

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6 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness Damn the king for his treachery!

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7 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Sometimes it's fun to throw words around, but it always helps to know what they mean. That goes double if you thought you knew what they meant.

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10 users have voted.

tried everything else to overthrow Trump.

The hysteria coming from the spooks is unbelievable. What is it that Mueller, Brennan, Clapper and the rest of that cabal is trying to hide?

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6 users have voted.

dfarrah

@dfarrah eom.

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9 users have voted.

Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Creosote.'s picture

@dfarrah
All major coastal cities to be underwater by the next century
according to a story at Evening Blues.

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0 users have voted.

@Creosote. probably their own complicity in very bad deeds.

Geez, if Mueller managed to stick Manafort into solitary prison for what little he did, I figure Mueller would be very happy deprive anyone of their life and liberty.

But then again, some of Mueller's prisoners were released after exculpatory evidence that he suppressed was found-so yeah, justice is not part of his game.

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0 users have voted.

dfarrah

There is a legal definition of the crime. And the accusations of somebody being a traitor today is the same as when McCarthy did it.

And the way the parties and media are using the word, it is also laying a rhetoric foundation for a war of American on American. The Russophobes accuse Putin of creating division. How divisive is one American calling another America a traitor.

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5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

speaking to the danger of flinging that accusation about. I for my part like to simply post and require people to parse and specifically address the precise wording of:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Congress alone can declare war and there are none extant. Regardless of improper casual usage in flinging the term about, we have no enemies to give aid and comfort to.

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4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris aid' part that is mushy.

Dems can interpret anything Trump does as giving aid and comfort to the enemy (for example, wasn't Putin comforted by Trump's visit?)

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0 users have voted.

dfarrah