The legal definition of treason is “the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war: the act of levying war against the United States or adhering to or giving aid and comfort to its enemies by one who owes it allegiance.” Treason is the only crime specifically outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
Article III, Section 3 states;
“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 term ‘enemies’ are subjects of a foreign power. For today’s post, that would be Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation. Obviously, the United States is not in a state of war with Russia, at the moment. However, Russia’s interference can be construed as an act of war as the interference interfered with the process of governance of the country. However, to be clear, a state of war does not currently exist between the two countries.
This takes care of the “levying war against them” part of the Constitution discussing treason. That leaves the part of “giving aid and comfort” to the enemy. As the United States Constitution was influenced by England, we should look at how English law defines “comfort and aid” to the enemy.
In a 1917 English case of treason, the English court ruled that “if a British subject commits an act which weakens or tends to weaken the power of the King and the country…that is in law giving of aid and comfort to the King’s enemies.” [Rex v. Casement (1917)]
In an 1861 Charge to the Grand Jury by Judge Leavitt, he ordered that treason is committed when someone attempts to “prevent the execution of any one or more general and public laws of the Government, or to resist the exercise of any legitimate authority of the Government in its sovereign capacity. Leavitt added that “advising, inciting and persuading others to give aid and comfort to the enemy may in itself constitute treason.” [Fed Case No: 18272]
Following this line of thought, let’s look at a tweet Donald Trump made yesterday.
Donald Trump tweeted, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
The first thing we should look at is to see if the tweet is an “overt act.” In this case, the tweet is the “overt act” as it provides direct evidence to the act of treason.
The next thing we need to look at is whether the “intent” was to commit the act of treason.
For this we look at two undeniable pieces of evidence. The first is that there have been several indictments alleging that Russian government officials perpetuated an act of aggression by interfering in the 2016 elections. Although these are indictments, at the moment, and not convictions we cannot ignore the fact that several government agencies have stated that the Russians interfered in the 2016 elections. As duly authorized government entities that are a “legitimate authority” of the government in their “sovereign capacity” it is the duty of American citizens to accept their judgement as a whole. Government officials, such as Donald Trump, must put country before personal belief, especially in front of an adversary.
Whether you agree that the Russians helped elect Donald Trump, or not is irrelevant as treason is committed by interfering with the authority of the government of the United States.
Furthermore, regarding intent, Donald Trump has publicly argued that the U.S. intelligence agencies are wrong. Trump has also undermined the authority of the FBI.
Thus, the question now becomes, has Donald Trump provided “aid and comfort” to Russia, an enemy of the United States by the fact that Russians undermined the rights of the voters of the United States to exercise their rights to vote.
For that, we simple must look at how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia responded to Donald Trump tweet:
They simply said; “We agree”.
That, my friends, is case closed.