I have read several opinion pieces lately describing why our President’s collusion with Russian intelligence cannot be treason. Most focus on the second term in the conjunctive clause within the definition of Treason in Article III, Section III, Clause 1:
“treason consists only in levying war against the United States or adhering to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort.”
Opinion writers that I have read note that courts have ruled and defined what is meant by “enemies” or providing “aid and comfort.” Pointing out that the United States and Russia are in a formal period of peace, not a declared war, these writers then suggest there is no case for treason.
However, the Russian cyber attack on the US electoral process is an act of war, as none other than Dick Cheney has maintained. Does anyone honestly believe that a US citizen who on December 6, 1941 assisted the Empire of Japan with planning and conducting the attack on Pearl Harbor would not be guilty of treason because the US was not formally at war with Japan until December 7? Nonsense.
The treason clause also defines treason as “levying war against the United States.” Countries who initiate the levying of war rarely send a formal invitation to the party, yet the conduct of US citizens who are complicit in an attack on the US is not therefor less treasonous (see Arnold, Benedict). That courts may have had fewer (if any) opportunities to discuss this portion of the definition is likely due to how reprehensible and rare such conduct is. Yet it appears increasingly likely that this is the situation we as a country are confronted with today with individuals in very high positions within the Trump Administration.
The Russian meddling with the heart of our Constitutional system is an act of war and it should be treated as such. The US Ambassador to Russia should be immediately recalled, the Russian Ambassador to the US should be tossed out and relations between the US and Russia should be ended until such time as Russia has a responsible government in place. There is no need for a shooting war. Isolating Russia in this manner will bring that country’s government to its knees, Russia needs the West far more than the West needs Russia, and this is particularly true for the multi-billionaires running that oligarchy. That we as a country are not pursuing this path is a testament to the success to date of the Russian attack and the treason of those US citizens complicit in that attack.
It is up to all of us to see that the success to date of this attack upon our democratic republic and the treason that enabled it is reversed through lawful, Constitutional means. That is happening in Congress, with the work of the Special Prosecutor and citizen activism. I am confident the United States, as it always, has, will survive and repel this foreign invasion despite the unprecedented and disgusting treason of our political leaders and the weak Russian appeasement of so many GOP leaders.