When Is Treason … Treason?

There’s a story that has people on Twitter going absolutely nuts. Because it’s a weekend, I want make sure it’s gets seen because it explains a whole lot about a whole lot of things. Someone in the Executive Branch, or maybe Congress, seems to have committed treason. Yes, I know we need another scandal/something else to worry about like a hole in the head, but, boy-howdy, this is a scandal.

Here’s the story: Apparently, Vladimir Putin, leader of the Russian state, put a bounty on American servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan. He paid members of the Taliban a fee for killing Americans. In war, this may or may not be a standard practice. I don’t know. Nothing surprises me anymore. That’s horrible enough, but that’s not where the issue ends. It seems to end in Washington D.C., with our government. That’s where the treason part starts.

At some point this year, the CIA informed the White House about this. As near as I can tell, the response was… crickets. During the time the White House (and some Senators? The Gang of Eight? Unknown) the Trump administration sold PPE to Russia, Mr. Trump pushed for Russia to rejoin the G-7talks, and, in general, acted buddy-buddy with Putin’s Russia.

What seems to infuriate military folks is that Trump made a big deal of speaking at the graduation ceremony of cadets at West Point and talking about his support of our troops while knowing this information. You may remember that Trump forced the cadets to get together in the midst of the pandemic so he could tell them how proud he is of his own work in getting them the things they need. As Commander-In-Chief, he had both the right and the ability to make that happen, even against the protestations of his generals. He made it happen. They did what they were ordered to do. If he actually knew this at the time, then having bounties on their heads wasn’t something he saw as conflicting with what he was saying.

So, what is the White House saying about this? The White House Press Secretary has just today said that “the President and Vice-President knew nothing of the ‘alleged’ incident”. So, there it is. The New York Times said that the White House was briefed on this “in late March”.

There are a bunch of problems with this. 1) Did the briefing happen or not? 2) If it did, why was there no response against the Russians? 3) If the White House knew and did something about it, why not say so? 4) If the President was briefed and did nothing, did the CIA tell Congress? 5) If they told members of Congress, who were they and why didn’t they say something? 6) What did our Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who used to run the CIA, think of all of this?

The bot/spin wars are already starting. Most people on Twitter seem to be calling this treason, but one guy split hairs by saying, “no it’s not. We’re not officially at war with Russia, therefore, it’s not treason”. We’ve heard enough splitting of legal hairs in the last 3+ years to know that this might actually be legally true. Still, if cozying up to a regime that you know is actively trying to kill our troops isn’t “legally” treason, what is?

The chaos brought on by this has just begun. I just don’t want it swept under the rug on a weekend in June. Yes, Black Lives still Matter. Yes, there still is a pandemic. But our President may be a traitor. He may be pursuing policies that actually hurt Americans, while helping our enemies, enemies who want to sow discord among us. Does that sound like Donald Trump to you? And if it does, what should we do about it?

Resisting with Peace,

John

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