Take a seat. Put your feet up. Relax. There is no evidence anyone is committing treason in America right now. No one. Not happening. I would not think I’d have to say this, but lately that word – “treason” – has been tossed around this town like Halloween candy.
President Donald Trump is the chief purveyor – spitting the accusation at the whistleblower who triggered the avalanche of impeachment talk, and at the Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. He’s previously floated the word over Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and – well, you get the point.
And in every single case, Trump has been definitively, categorically, utterly wrong. Because treason is a real crime defined by the US Constitution, and it in no way matches up to Trump’s bitter accusations. Specifically, the law says “when a person owing allegiance” to the United States is “levying war against them or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort…” that person “…is guilty of treason…” As commonly considered by legal experts, this is a law explicitly written for people who betray their country and/or help the enemy during an actual, declared war. Not for people who get into political spats, no matter how nasty.
Of course, we all know what’s happening here. The fury of partisan politics has reached such intensity, precise accusations just don’t seem extreme enough, and treason is such a lovely, sizzling term! But it is not even vaguely correct. (And btw, the same goes for Democrats who have goggled at Trump’s actions, like asking foreign powers to intervene in American politics, and howled, “Treason!” That’s not accurate either.)
Being insulted, being investigated, having your phone conversations shared, or your feelings hurt – I’m sure that’s terribly unpleasant. And maybe Trump can find someone breaking some law amid all the umbrage he takes, but we won’t find a reason for treason, no matter how loudly he howls. Not even close.