Ex-Republican GOP Congressman Tom Coleman writes an Op-Ed in The Daily Beast premised on the fact that questions should be asked about whether Donald Trump committed treason.He notes they are not unreasonable consideration.
First,I will add some background in reverse order to the essay.
By definition, treason cannot be considered outside of “war.” I realize the word treason is thrown around all the time as a more informal description of hurting the United States and that works informally, but not when it comes to actually applying it to the process. one cannot commit treason outside of war. But, here we are talking about true treason.
Cole spends most of the column is spent setting out whether an act of war was committed. I want to do a little background first.
Some might think; “Well, that’s off the table, because war involves a physical attack, bombs and guns.” But hang on, the Russians did more than just organize crazy political groups to increase the divide and anger among partisans, they also hacked our computers – the voter rolls being the most important. THAT could very well be an act we don’t hear anything near enough about. There should be a massive national investigation into the matter that rivals the 9-11 investigation (which itself was poorly funded and run) in terms of importance and damage. On 9-11, an “idea” – “terrorists” declared “war” on the United States. Obviously we had to attack any country that didn’t turn over the ones most responsible, but you actually cannot go to war against an “idea” – it is more like an international police action, where one clamps down on it. The same can be said of “the war on drugs” which is just as hopeless when it comes to defeating a personal problem.
Not so with hacking and intentionally trying to sow discord with our democracy sponsored by a State, and actually, one person, Putin. (There has never been a war between 2 democracies by the way, a very potent reason to protect ours). In fact, as damaging as 9-11 was, the damage was contained and isolated, certainly did not threaten the loss of the United States as a Democratic Republic. The attack on our voter rolls in order to alter outcomes threatens our Democracy, and represents an intentional attack against our nation, and one that, if it goes unchecked, could truly threaten us as a representative democracy. It was an act of war, and all that need be done is Congress vote on it and declare war.
Coleman only notes that is should be considered:
The question we must now ask is were these Russian cyber attacks merely crimes on a massive scale, or, as cyber expert George Lucas asks, do they represent something different — acts of war? And if a state of war existed between the two nations, could the actions and comments of Donald Trump and his campaign officials therefore be considered treasonable?
Just my opinion here, but if the answer is yes, the response would not involve bombing Moscow, it would be something proportional, and, more importantly, more focused upon defending our nation, to defend democracy everywhere.
Coleman lays out three scenarios by which Russian actions could be considered acts of war, all having to do with the hacks and how/what happened. It is worth the read.
Okay, there is the premise that Putin initiated war on our country, Congress need only vote (remember Congress? True declarations of war are made by Congress).
Under the Constitution an individual commits treason if the nation is at war and the person provides aid and comfort to the enemy. This is an impeachable offense, committed by word or deed. It’s one that individuals need to start grappling with seriously because it is not some far-fetched liberal fantasy to conclude that Donald Trump may have committed treason.
Can any serious person doubt that if Trump knew that the Russians planned on rigging our election, and he acted upon it to make it easier for Russia – even after the fact by not demanding a national response, an intensive investigation – our DIA says we don’t even have a policy to deal with Russia – and Trump refuses to enforce sanctions.
If that does not fit within “aid” and “comfort” to the enemy, than nothing can. We can’t even rule out that Trump gave Putin state secrets based on rumors of Trump telling Russian ambassadors about how we bombed some significant terrorist cells, because we had a source inside the cell. And who the fuck knows what he and Putin talk about when it is just the two of them on the phone.
I would like to think that the FBI knows, having already filed for a FISA warrant against the president, by convincing a judge that there is probable cause to believe the president was part of a conspiracy, an ongoing crime.
Perhaps the idea is a “liberal fantasy” because the Republicans could hear all of it, literally all of it, that Russian agents hacked our voter rolls, and ran media, all with the intent of electing Trump. They could know that Trump had been blackmailed and/or agreed to engage in the quid pro quo. They could know that Trump did “pro-Russia” acts in order to help Russia. They could be convinced of all of these things and truly not care. Because the only real enemy nowadays are Democrats.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.