The Definition of Treason

18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

 

True to form, Obama has been careful and measured in characterizing the political and legal implications of Russia’s scheme to put Trump in the White House.  But while Obama may feel constrained by the weighty obligation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, neither the media nor we citizens are similarly limited.   If Trump or members of his campaign had knowledge of or where complicit in Russia’s scheme, we can and should call that by its rightful name:  treason.

Here’s what is known to date.

Russia illegally hacked the DNC and selectively released content to Wikileaks with the intent of promoting a Trump win in the US presidential election.   The CIA, FBI and Director of National Intelligence agree on this.

At the same time, Trump has taken surprising steps — surprising especially coming from the historically anti-Putin GOP camp — to soften the US position on Russia.  Indeed, due to influence of the Trump team, a softer position on Russia was even made part of the GOP’s platform.  Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, has had extensive political dealings with the Russian government, as have Trump surrogates Carter Page and Jack Kingston.  Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s future National Security Adviser, has appeared as a commentator for Russian state television and sat with Vladimir Putin at a Russian gala.  Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also is quite simpatico with Putin, even having received Russia’s Order of Friendship award from Putin. Trump himself has openly praised Putin and Donald, Jr. has touted Trump Inc.’s extensive business interests in Russia and the “money pouring in from Russia.” Russia’s deputy foreign minister stated that Moscow had contacts with members of the Trump campaign during the election and that Team Trump folks have been staying in touch with Russian representatives since then.  The latest news is that a former Trump surrogate is in Russia preparing American businesses operating there for the soon to come lifting of the US sanctions against Russia. (Sorry, Ukraine!)

In other words, the connections between Trump & Co. and Russia are known and multiple.  How then can we ignore the obvious possibility that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with the Russians on their scheme?  And how can we deny what appears to be a possible quid pro quo in which Russia is receiving benefits due to its help in getting Trump elected?

Given the seriousness of these implications, it would be fully justified for the Electoral College to delay its vote until this matter can be fully investigated.   In any case,  we who love this country, regardless of party affiliation, should insist that the Obama administration thoroughly investigate not just what happened in regard to the Russian hacking, but why and with whose knowledge.  In the end, saving our democracy may be the greatest legacy of the Obama administration.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/12/16/trump-raises-specter-treason/zdwgXRuJBMChEXmX5kchhP/amp.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-blames-putins-personal-grudge-against-her-for-election-interference/2016/12/16/12f36250-c3be-11e6-8422-eac61c0ef74d_story.html?utm_term=.201d27bbbc8c

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/14/505581348/trumps-men-in-moscow-trump-disciples-suddenly-showing-up-in-russia

http://www.newsweek.com/rex-tillerson-warm-relationship-putin-chills-kremlin-critics-hopes-533329

Blackmail, Russian Style

Not worried about the whole Russiagate thing yet?  Then read this Daily Beast article and see how truly plausible it is that the next POTUS will be a puppet of Russia.  The DB article has many details and sources, but here’s the gist:  (1) RNC emails were hacked by Russia, but (2) have not been disclosed like the DNC emails were, (3) meaning that whatever dirt — ranging possibly from merely embarrassing to illegal — might be in the RNC emails is in Putin’s possession, and (4) Putin could well be exacting cooperation and concessions from Trump and the GOP with whatever dark secrets lurk in those emails as leverage.  Note that it was separately reported by the WaPo, LA Times and others back in July that it was Trump’s team who pressured the GOP into softening its anti-Russia/pro-Ukraine platform language.  Suddenly Trump’s consistently pro-Russia stance (which threatens NATO) takes on a whole new, terrifying light. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/10/how-russian-hackers-can-blackmail-donald-trump-and-the-gop.html?via=desktop&source=facebook

The Storm is Brewing, Yet the Media’s Missing It

Is it just me?  I keep looking for media coverage of what I think is a “yuge” story about how many people are newly minted activists in the wake of the Trump win. But the media seems to be asleep at the wheel — again.

Pieces of the puzzle have been covered, yes — the protests, the donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, the increase in NYT subscriptions. But there’s something so much bigger out there that I haven’t seen covered in the press.

Here’s the thing:  I personally know of dozens of people — like myself — who are, historically, politically interested, but not really activists in general, but who are now actively using words like #TheResistance and #NotMyPresident. Not 20 year olds either (no offense, 20 year olds), but middle aged professionals like me — lawyers, scientists, professors, business people, healthcare people, many of us parents.  In other words, people with a lot on their plates already who are prioritizing this issue, every single day, to stay active and outraged, and to absolutely reject what Trump ran on and stands for.

The talking heads on the Sunday morning talk show I saw this week were all smug grins and normalization.  I could barely stand to watch because it is increasingly clear every day that Trump is #NotNormal.  For christsake, I read today that since being elected Trump has spoken to Putin twice per day — two times per freaking day!  — more than to any other world leader.

I guess our journalist friends — who I generally admire tremendously — are not seeing what I’m seeing.  Example: soon after the election, I joined a new private FB group for progressive lawyers; 20 days later that group has over 120,000 members!  The media kinda missed white rural outrage, so we know they can be clueless.  But how can they miss this level of activity and outrage and resistance? How can they miss the fact that many empowered and educated people are now getting activated in full blown opposition to Comrade Drumpf and his band of cronies and haters?

Of course, I realize there’s an echo chamber with like-minded people rallying each other on.  I live in an echo chamber, too.  But because I live here, I can tell you that I know my people and I have NEVER seen anything like this tidal wave of opposition from my peers and cohorts.  People who have been more or less on the sidelines are now attending organizational meetings, making daily phone calls, writing letters, planning strategies — and not just for today, but for the long haul.

I’ll say this:  though Trump’s election is a travesty and reflects horribly on our country, the people who are standing up to oppose him make me incredibly proud.  And hopeful.