Treason is a serious accusation. Donald Trump throws it around like a Frisbee, accusing Barack Obama of treason for no good and defensible reason. And we all know that when Trump accuses someone of something, it’s almost certainly because he’s guilty of it himself. It’s called projection. Usually, I respond to his kind of projection by posting the relevant “I know you are, but what am I?” clip from Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, but I’m not going to do that tonight. This isn’t the time for that.
You can do one of two things to earn a conviction for treason, according to the Constitution. One is to “levy war” against the United States. The other is to give “aid and comfort” to an enemy of the United States while they are making war against us.
Trump has broken the second protocol.
The short version of Trump’s actual treason against the United States: Starting in 2019, a Russian intelligence unit offered, and paid out, bounties to members of Afghan militias who killed American soldiers. US intelligence agencies have known of this since at least March 2020. Trump was specifically briefed on the actions, and has chosen to do nothing in response. Nothing. According to the New York Times:
Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the [anonymous White House] officials said.
The Times went on to write:
Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations.
Yet Trump did nothing whatsoever to respond to the Russian offensive against US soldiers.
He has not revealed it to the American public (did he think we would never learn about it?). And, less than three weeks ago, Trump threatened to upend the G7 economic summit unless Russia, and particularly Vladimir Putin, was invited.
Not only has he kept quiet about it, and done nothing to retaliate against Putin and Russia, he continues to promote Russian interests — Putin’s interests — above our own.
The actual New York Times article is here, but if you can’t get through the paywall, you can read a shortened version of the story here. You can read what appears to be a well-summarized version here.
According to Times reporter Michael Schwirtz, the same Russian intelligence unit is responsible for the attempted poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Britain, and an attempted coup against the lawful government of Montenegro.
This the same group, Unit 29155 of Russia’s military intelligence agency, implicated in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Britain and a coup attempt in Montenegro. It has never been publicly accused of involvement in attacks on Western soldiers
— Michael Schwirtz (@mschwirtz) June 26, 2020
The response, as you can imagine, has been fierce. Politico reporter Eric Geller wants to know why Trump isn’t stopping Russia from actively working to have US soldiers killed. Good question.
Why isn't Trump trying to stop Russia from trying to kill U.S. soldiers? https://t.co/PCm6hTzjQI
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) June 26, 2020
Former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine (D-Not a Traitor) sums it up:
President Trump was cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his Administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill U.S troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban. https://t.co/C2GYSFFKXv
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) June 27, 2020
The Palmer Report predicts flatly that Trump will go to prison for this:
Donald Trump's day so far:
– Found out Russia was paying the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers and covered it up
– Then he invited Putin to the G7
– This is treason
– It's all coming out now
– Trump is going to prison
– It's still only 9pmhttps://t.co/FXQOhpxGyC
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) June 27, 2020
Another user calls it treason, and this user is correct:
"Article I, Section 29, of the State Constitution is similar to Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, limiting the legal definition of "treason" to levying war against the State or giving "aid and comfort" to the enemies of the State."
— Contented Independent (@ContentedIndie) June 26, 2020
Former Ambassador Michael McFaul notes that the one constant in Trump’s chaotic foreign policy is a consistent fawning over Putin:
Shocking. And Trump continues to call Putin his friend — his one consistent foreign policy position over the last 4 years. "Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says" https://t.co/8TtutSctUq
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) June 26, 2020
Obviously the House cannot move to impeach Trump until this story is confirmed and these anonymous sources fight their way out of the Trump death swamp and actually testify before the House Intelligence Committee. And, frankly, why should the House impeach him again? There’s no reason to believe that this impeachment vote will go any differently than the last one. 52 of 53 GOP senators ignored all of the evidence and voted to acquit on both sets of charges filed against Trump. One, Mitt Romney, voted to convict on one of the two charges. Looked at by charges, the GOP majority voted 105-1 to acquit Trump of heinous charges of malfeasance, election fraud, and obstruction of justice. They will almost certainly do it again. Why? Because they support him in every single horrendous, evil, criminal, murderous, and treasonous act he does.
Hollywood showrunner Mikko Alanne agrees:
Donald Trump’s partners in treason plotted the killing of American troops in Afghanistan. How proud Republican voters must again be of their choices. | NYT: Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill Troops, U.S. Intelligence Says https://t.co/DTexGdyjcs
— Mikko Alanne (@MikkoAlanne) June 26, 2020
Even if Russia is plainly engaged in an undeclared war against the United States:
In other words, Russia declared war on the United States and NATO.
Or maybe was never at peace at any time in the last century. https://t.co/vFiu9zME4g
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) June 26, 2020
As intelligence analyst Eric Garland writes in the above Twitter thread:
This news makes it hard to imagine how Trump isn’t simply a traitor.
Traitors go to prison for the rest of their lives. Or they can be executed.
There is no doubt in my mind that Trump has committed treason against the United States. No doubt. I realize that nothing the Democrats can do will shake him uot of office, as should happen — the Republicans wouldn’t convict Trump no matter what heinous act he pulled off. So, the only thing that remains is to have a federal prosecution ready to go the moment an honest Attorney General takes the reins in January 2021.
This isn’t something that should happen. It’s something that has to happen. Otherwise there is no rule of law anymore.