Is collusion the same as “aid and comfort?” Congress and the media have adopted the code word, “collusion” to address the unprecedented relationship between Trump and Russia. We avoid addressing “treason” head-on by a legal fiction that the element of the offense, of an “enemy” only exists in the context of a declared war. To quote the great legal orator Michael Cohen, “says who?”
The framers defined few statutes in the Constitution. They took the time to define treason. If the framers intended it only to apply to a declared war, why didn’t they just say so? They meticulously set out how pardons could not stop impeachments. They clearly defined what a “declared” war was. Reference to that section would have been simple. Why do we presume that they chose not to make it an element of the offense for a jury to decide? We should respect that decision.
So hypothetically, under the “declared war” view, a US Minute Man missile crew could be turned to become loving Kim/North Korea followers, and prepare to shoot a nuke at NYC, but, if caught, they could not be charged as traitors. Says who?
Every day courts put questions to juries to decide. There is no logical or legal basis for not letting a jury decide when an attacker is sufficiently a known “enemy” to look at the other elements of the offense of “aid and comfort” and “adheres to” that enemy.
First “adheres to.” Does anyone seriously doubt that a jury could find Trump “adheres to” Russia and Putin? It’s reported frequently by the press and members of Congress constantly say it. Trump won’t criticize Russia or Putin. Surely a jury could agree that he “adheres” to them.
Second, on “collision” or, as we should call it, “aid and comfort,” if Russia’s purpose in the hack and attack was to harm our election and Trump helped them do it, couldn’t a reasonable juror find that was “aiding” Russia? That’s a simple jury question. But what about “comfort?”
The continued lies and subterfuge can all be argued as providing “comfort” for Russia by way of concealment. These lies and subterfuge also establish evidence of the seriousness of the adherence to Russia.
What could it mean for the Mueller investigation? It puts life in prison clearly on the table. That means anyone charged with faces a presumption they won’t make bail.
By my count, seventeen state treason statutes. So building those case and sharing under Rule 6(e), allows those states to proceed if Trump attempts any pardons.
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon want to play hardball? Treason charges are the “high and tight” fastballs the framers meant them to be. Now these charges are clearly available for Mueller to throw.
Treason is the charge that should start being discussed. Put collusion away until Congress makes it a separate crime. This is treason. And we owe it to the framers to use their terms.