Now that we’ve learned that Paul Manafort reportedly met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 election, the mainstream media is finally beginning to cautiously use the word “treason” to characterize the Trump-Russia scandal. After all, we’re talking about Donald Trump’s campaign boss conspiring with a foreign enemy to try to alter the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor – and it’s difficult to imagine that Trump wasn’t in on the plot. Now Trump is the one throwing around the word “treason” – in typically deranged fashion.
This morning, after Donald Trump finished hyperbolically comparing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Joseph McCarthy, he then retweeted a post which said “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials begin for treason?” Included was an image which depicted Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, James Comey, and a number of other people in prison.
With this retweet, Donald Trump – the supposed President of the United States – unquestionably accused all of his political opponents, and the people investigating his crimes, of committing “treason.” This is, of course, egregious beyond characterization, and should result in immediate impeachment and ouster. But the real upshot here is that Trump now feels compelled to preemptively accuse his adversaries of treason because he knows that’s what his own people – and eventually himself – are going to be accused of having committed.
We can spend all day parsing the legal definition of the word treason. Many people mistakenly think treason charges require a declaration of war, when prosecutorial history reveals that such charges only require an act of war, and that the definition of an “act of war” has tended to be pliable. For instance, the Russian hacking of the elections could be defined as an act of cyber war.
But regardless of whether the charges ultimately end up being “treason” or merely “conspiracy against the United States,” the bottom line is that the public is going to come to view the actions of Donald Trump and his campaign as treasonous. Trump seems to know it’s coming.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report