For all his unhinged erraticism, Donald Trump is remarkably predictable in certain ways. For instance he has the most consistent habit of projection of perhaps any public figure. If he’s being accused of something, or if he thinks he’s about to get accused of it, he automatically accuses his opponent of that same exact thing, using the same words. Trump just gave away that he thinks treason charges are on the table when it comes to his Russia scandal.
It might be presumptuous to interpret anyone else’s one-off use of a trigger word in this manner. But you can never go wrong by interpreting Trump’s accusations as projections. Shortly after he and his campaign began conspiring with Russia to rig the election, he began accusing Hillary Clinton of rigging the election against him. When his constant sniffing led to accusations of cocaine use, he demanded that Clinton be drug tested. When he learned that his son’s collusion with Russia was about to be exposed, he began accusing the Democrats of “collusion” with Russia. He’s just that consistent with it.
When Trump gave a speech today in Ohio, he began attacking the Democrats in Congress for having failed to applaud during his State of the Union address. This isn’t a surprise; he always whines about things like this. But he made a point of accusing their failure to applaud as having been “treasonous.” The word was bizarrely out of context for his speech. But just hours later, Trump’s attorneys announced that they’ll try to block Trump’s upcoming interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
So the Russia probe was obviously on Donald Trump’s mind during his speech today, and that explains why he was suddenly talking about treason. His lawyers have surely explained to him that because his Nunes memo gambit failed, he’s stuck with the no-win situation of testifying or invoking the Fifth Amendment. Trump is suddenly accusing the Democrats of “treason” because he now thinks he’s going to face treason charges. To be clear, treason is a wartime crime, and if it can’t be demonstrated that Russian election hacking was an act of cyberwar, Trump would be charged with the peacetime equivalent, conspiracy against the United States.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report