The left that lives in America (I won’t call them the American left for the simple reason that they aren’t really American) has come utterly unhinged over the election of Donald Trump. We have seen them go from declaring that anyone who says our elections have been tampered with is patently insane to taking it as an article of faith that our election was tampered with. We see them hounding members of the Electoral College to vote for someone other than the man they are committed to voting for. My colleague Jim Jamitis reports on a demand by some nutty professors in Massachusetts and California (naturally) that Obama make Trump undergo a psychological evaluation.
Now we are entering new and uncharted waters as people who are not posting on drugged and anonymously on Daily Kos and Democratic Underground are claiming that Donald Trump is guilty of treason.
I am not making that up.
The first comes from an op-ed in the New York Times-owned Boston Globe by a Democrat diplomat and academic named John Shattuck titled Donald Trump raises specter of treason.
A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump. He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a “ridiculous” political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.
There are several possible explanations for Trump’s position. They are not mutually exclusive. First, he may be trying to shore up his political standing before the Electoral College vote on Monday. Second, he may be attempting to undermine the credibility of US intelligence agencies in advance of his taking office so that he can intimidate them and have a freer hand in reshaping the intelligence product to suit his objectives. Third, he may be testing his ability to go over the heads of intelligence professionals and congressional critics and persuade the American public to follow his version of the truth about national security threats. And finally, he may be seeking to cover up evidence of involvement or prior knowledge by members of his campaign team or himself in the Russian cyberattack.
In each case the president-elect is inviting an interpretation that his behavior is treasonous. The federal crime of treason is committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who . . . adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort,” and misprision of treason is committed by a person “having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose” the crime. By denigrating or seeking to prevent an investigation of the Russian cyberattack Trump is giving aid or comfort to an enemy of the United States, a crime that is enhanced if the fourth explanation applies — that he is in fact seeking to cover up his staff’s or his own involvement in or prior knowledge of the attack.
Actually, no. In none of those cases does Trump invite any but the mentally damaged to conclude that he engaged in treason. Trump should be doing the first two things Shattuck accused him of. He should be ensuring that he wins the Electoral College vote. And, as the CIA, in particular, has declared war on him, he has every right to pay them back in their own coin. The third possibility that Shattuck offers is so far beyond the Pale that he should be horsewhipped through the streets.
Shattuck, either from dishonesty or senile dementia, mangles the definition of treason found in Article III, Section 3, of the US Constitution. Of course, him being a Democrat, he may never have read the thing.
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.
Russia in not now, nor has it been our “enemy” in the manner required to support an accusation of treason. We are cooperating with Russia to fight ISIS. We used Russia as our intermediary on the Iran nuclear giveaway (if someone wants to sling allegations of treason about they could do worse than starting there) As late as February 2015, Joe Biden was singing the praises of US-Russia cooperation.
A second episode happened, naturally, on MSNBC:
The speaker is a self-proclaimed terror expert named Malcolm Nance. (Read his bio. Make your own judgments. But there are some huge question marks.) This is the set up, Joy Reid talks about the danger of Trump changing Voice of America radio into a “Breitbart.”
I’m not sure he has heard of Voice of America, that’s not a joke. [Editor’s note: VOA is forbidden by law to broadcast within the United States. I was stationed abroad twice and never listened to either VOA or Radio Free Europe. Why? They didn’t broadcast in English. Have you ever listened to VOA?] Let’s not laugh at it, it’s actually scary. But for the most part, if he finds out that he can have his own version of Russia Today, his own version of Sputnik, two propaganda arms that took over from the Soviet Union’s Pravda, it could be exceptionally damaging.
But I want to come to a point that was made a little bit earlier. When did all of this happen to Donald Trump, right? He met Gorbachev. He was a big supporter of glasnost. At some point, he was co-opted by Vladimir Putin. and that means he bought into and embraced the dictatorial ideology that was done by a spy master of the KGB. Ten years ago, 20 years ago,there would be treason trials. I would like to bring one point up. because long ago there was a guy named Yuri Bezmenov, a KGB officer, and he wrote,’This is who the KGB targeted and recruited, egocentric people who lack moral principles and who are too greedy or who suffer from exaggerated self-importance. These are the people the KGB wants and finds easiest to recruit.’
Vladimir Putin went to the Yuri Andropov school of intelligence, he learned how to manipulate people, and at some point we need to find out when did Donald Trump’s ideology shift from western capitalism to Russian authoritarianism.
Ten years ago (queue ominous music, flash picture of George Bush with devil horns) there would have been treason trials? This is nonsense. That is not how we operate in the United States. Even Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were not tried for treason. That certainly is not how George Bush operated.
(As an aside, I think there is no doubt that the Russian government spent time, effort, and money in trying to cultivate Donald Trump but that is par for the course for any influential person doing business in either Russia or China. For sure, his business ties to Russia need to be made much more transparent than they have been to date.)
In earlier times, these people would have been in Bedlam you could’ve have plopped down your six-pence to buy a stick to poke then with as they ate bugs and befouled themselves.