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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/3/20

Trump and Treason? Really?"

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

Trump and Putin at Helsinki, 16 July 2018. What WERE they talking about for 90 minutes, after which Trump tore up the interpreter's notes.  Hopefully she stashed away some unofficial ones, for release at a later date.
Trump and Putin at Helsinki, 16 July 2018. What WERE they talking about for 90 minutes, after which Trump tore up the interpreter's notes. Hopefully she stashed away some unofficial ones, for release at a later date.
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Kremlin.ru, Author: Kremlin.ru)
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Earlier this week I published a slightly different version of this column on BuzzFlash. Two days earlier than that (as it happened) the progressive Veterans' organization Vote Vets published a Twitter ad headlined "Traitor." Now, it happens that an increasing number of well-informed observers of the 2020 electoral process, from Joe Scarborough to James Carville and Donnie Deutsch, are predicting that because his prospects for victory are becoming ever poorer, Trump will "pull a Johnson" (Lyndon) and not stand for re-election, while, however, remaining in office. But why would he want to do that? Well, just as if he were to run and then lose, staying in the Presidency while dragging out to-be-unsuccessful legal challenges to the result, if he simply didn't run, there is every chance that immediately upon leaving office he would be deluged with legal problems, both criminal and civil. As I said in the earlier column, they would include:

"The six major investigations at the Southern District of New York that Roy Cohn, oops, I mean Bill Barr tried (and failed) to get covered- up/dropped: 1. Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas; 2. Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew; 3. Deutsche Bank; 4. Turkish bank and Iran sanctions; 5. Irregularities at the 2017 Inauguration; 6. Russia (money laundering). Then there's what the New York State Attorney General and the New York City District Attorney might be coming after him for, to say nothing of what will be found in his Federal income tax returns (which would be sure to be released by a Biden) and in the unredacted version of the Mueller Report which would be released forthwith also (that is after Rep. Adam Schiff and his staff gave it a good going over). To say nothing of the new and old/revived civil suits (sex, money, and other) to which he would be subjected. Oh my!! Lots and lots of trouble."

So, I speculated that rather than simply not running, he would resign, most likely in August before the Republican convention. And then, by pre-arrangement, Pence would pardon him, after which, with as much of his money as he could gather up, he would leave the country for one that has no extradition treaty with the United States, such Bahrain, Indonesia (there are Trump properties there), Morocco (great views of the Atlantic Ocean), or the United Arab Emirates (where Jared had lots of friends).

But now comes the possibility of trouble that would make all of the above look small. That is a charge of treason. Trump likes to wave around the term, in re, say, President Obama, but that is only because he doesn't know what the definition of the Term, in the Constitution (which he has likely never read), is. And so, here it is, Article III, Section 3:

"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. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attained."

Jr., Erik, and Ivanka will certainly be breathing easier because of that last clause.

Why raise this question now? Because of the new "Afghanistan thing," of course. As of now, it is not entirely clear what actually happened in the "Bounty case," how far up the chain of command the information that was apparently produced on the ground in Afghanistan actually got, and what Trump knew and didn't know. But let's say that he did know and that the proof was incontrovertible.

If the latter does prove to be the case, one thing that is clear is that at Trump's behest, or lack thereof, nothing was "done about it vis-a-vis the Russians" (who, by the way, have also denied the validity of the multiple reports alleging that the incident[s] indeed did happen). And then worse yet for him, while Trump, for whatever reason(s) (and the possible list is book length, as in the Mueller Report, Bolton's book, and "other") did nothing, it did happen that on his watch one or more service people died as a result of the Russian "bounty program." In that case, what Trump did and did not do vis-Ã -vis the Russians might well fall under the "Aid and Comfort" section of the definition of Treason, above.

And of course, as of now Trump certainly does know about what is at least the possibility of such as Russian/Taliban plot, and he has still done nothing. The denials from the White House so far have to do with "Trump didn't know" or "the intelligence was foggy." There has been no denial of the possible existence of such a plot and then an announced determination "to get to the bottom of it." Therefore, it is quite possible that there was such a Russian/Taliban operation and that Trump did know about it. And whether he did know and did nothing, or now knowing of the possibility for sure and is still doing nothing, either alternative might well come under the definition of treason as it stands in the Constitution.

So. If none of the presently existing reasons for Trump to resign and run out-of-the-country would be considered good-enough for him to do so, treason (which carries the death penalty) as a reason would surely qualify.


Post-script: If there is indeed such a Russian/Taliban plot, why would the Russians want to do such a thing? As David Ignatius of The Washington Post has said: "A basic truth about Russian President Vladimir Putin, which President Trump evidently [sic] doesn't understand: Putin is in the payback business. He believes the United States destroyed his former country, the Soviet Union. He likes the United States to feel pain, in Afghanistan and everywhere else." It happens that in 1979, when Pres. Carter was considering whether or not to intervene in Afghanistan on the side of Pakistan-based Islamic rebels who were attempting to overthrow the pro-Russian government (which had originally been an elected one, following the overthrow of the former Western-supported monarchy), the then National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (Mika's Dad) urged him to do so on the grounds of "you can give them their Viet Nam." And he did.


An earlier version of this column was published at:

(Article changed on July 4, 2020 at 18:27)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)

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