When I was a young college student, there was a book that using modern parlance had gone “viral” several years before entitled None Dare Call It Treason by an anti-communist, Protestant pastor, John Stormer. The website Goodreads, provides a fairly accurate description of the book: “is a careful compilation of facts from hundreds of congressional investigations of communism and dozens of authoritative books on the communist-socialist conspiracy to enslave America. It dissects the failures of the Eisenhower Administration just as effectively as it details the blunders of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson. It documents the concurrent decay in America’s schools, churches, and press which has conditioned the American people to accept 20 years of retreat in the face of the communist enemy. You won’t finish None Dare Call It Treason without concluding that America is in serious trouble.”
For the Young Americans for Freedom on campus, Stormer’s book was their bible of proof the country was in rapid decline and imminent peril of ceasing to exist as a democracy. Not being inclined to embrace the “truths” of the YAF’s argument, I nonetheless read the book for no other reason than my general interest in politics and the fact that my declared majors were in history and political science at the time.
Fast forward to today and the chaos surrounding the current state of affairs in our democracy. It got me thinking about Stormer’s book and his premise that liberal political ideology and policy were responsible for the imminent decline of the nation and by extrapolation the cause of the present-day chaos and the ascendancy of the extreme right wing in American politics.
The chaos, the shock of traditional norms no longer honored, the total disregard for truth, “fake news”, the polarization and division, the loss of civility in political discourse and the nation teetering on the brink of a constitutional crisis has nothing to do with liberal versus conservative political ideology. It is the malignant use of power taken to the extreme and it rests solely on President Trump, his administration and his Republican minions in Congress.
It would seem with some reservation that most thoughtful Americans would not call the actions of the Trump administration treasonous. However, for the argument that these actions may in fact be treason; consider the following thesis.
President Trump and his administration have committed wanton acts of treason against the United States by failing to defend the nation against a hostile foreign enemy and willfully weakening the nation’s democratic institutions.
The Constitution of the United States is rather brief in its definition of treason. It is found in Article 3, section 3, clause 1 and states: “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.”
For the purposes of this argument several definitions of terms are required.
- Enemy = a hostile nation or state.
- Hostile = of, relating to, or characteristic of an enemy: a hostile enemy.
- Aid and Comfort = to render assistance or counsel. Any act that deliberately tends to strengthen the enemies of the United States or weakens or tends to weaken the power of the United States to resist and attack such enemies is characterized as aid and comfort. Article III, section 3, clause 1 of the Constitution of the United States specifies that the giving of aid and comfort to the enemy is an element in the crime of Treason.
Aid and comfort West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. (2008). https://legaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Aid+and+Comfort
- An Act of War = an act of aggression by a country against another that is nominally at peace.act of war. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged.Random House,Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/act-of-war
Russian interference in the 2016 elections
Four intelligence agencies of the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have confirmed with “high confidence” that Russia conducted a cyber-attack on our 2016 elections. Furthermore, intelligence officials have ddetermined that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin personally ordered the attack. According to The New York Times, the report described a broad campaign that included covert operations, including cyber-activities and “trolling” on the internet of people who were viewed as opponents of Russia’s effort. While it accused Russian intelligence agencies of obtaining and maintaining “access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards,” it concluded, as officials have publicly, that there was no evidence of tampering with the tallying of the vote on Nov. 8.
Citation: Rosenberg, M. (2017, January 6). Trump misleads on russian meddling: why 17 intelligence agencies don’t need to agree. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
Citation: Sanger, D.E. (2017, January 6). Putin ordered ‘influence campaign’ aimed at u.s. election, report says. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
Given the almost universal consensus of credible sources that the Russians at the direction of Putin cyber-attacked the United States, it is incredible that the president of the United States has not formally acknowledged the attacks and at the very least taken some form of punitive action against Russia.
In an effort to essentially have it both ways, Trump, on his Asian tour in November 2017 did state in a news conference in Hanoi, Viet Nam “I believe that he feels that he (Putin) and Russia did not meddle in the election.” Trump later went on to say, “Every time he sees me, he says: ‘I didn’t do that. And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. That’s very important for somebody to believe.” Why is that “very important” and who is “somebody?” It sounds more like the height of naiveté on Trump’s part. Did Trump actually think Putin would admit to the cyber-attack he ordered on the United States in the first place?
However, as typically is the case with Trump, he confused the issue of Putin and Russia interference in the 2016 election by stating “As to whether I believe it, I’m with our agencies,” Trump said. “As currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies. Things have obviously changed since November. Now Trump seems to have quite a different opinion of our intelligence agencies. Responding to the much hyped Nunes memo, he groused on CNN cable news “I think it’s a disgrace,” he said. “What’s going on in this country, I think it’s a disgrace.” He added, “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.” That is a far cry from what he said in November. Evidently, he is no longer “with our agencies.”
Trump’s unwillingness to forcefully acknowledge the Russian inference in our election and the failure to aggressively call for punishment of Putin and Russia for not only their interference in the election of 2016 but also Russia’s continued cyber-attacks on our country, would appear that he is offering aid and comfort to our enemy.
I will continue my argument for treason in Part 2 and 3 of this discussion.