Following the press conference between Trump and Putin, the internet was filled with cries of “Treason!”
Today, congressional Democrats have been shouting loudly for the president’s head; remarkably, so have congressional Republicans. CNN and MSNBC talking heads have echoed this; even Fox News has criticized Trump’s statements. Everyone seems to agree: Heads should roll.
As with every other issue, it’s not that simple. Consider what we know: It’s now certain that there was and is hacking, news-bots, active interference in our elections, and all sorts of unpleasantness. And it’s evident that this came about as a result of a deliberate policy choice by the Russian political leadership. Moreover, it’s plain to see that Mr. Trump’s campaign and organization benefited, and that the loser was the American people and our confidence in our form of government. Likewise, it is entirely probable that certain people working for Trump’s election in fact did so in service to a foreign power.
I believe these things are beyond reasonable dispute. Let us accept them as fact and move forward.
Let us also leave aside the hypocrisy of American outrage toward actions which we ourselves have taken repeatedly and even habitually under the pseudo-benevolent auspices of USAID and its siblings. Similarly, what has been called the “DNC conspiracy against Bernie Sanders” — the contents of those files published by the hackers — is, while objectionable, not treasonous (the Democratic Party is made up of Americans, and the DNC’s job is to influence the course of elections). Using either to deflect attention or blame away from the Russian espionage is invalid, disingenuous at best.
Nevertheless, I would say it is enough to call treasonous those acts and people directly involved in this espionage, and they only if they are American citizens.
Let me be plain: I find Donald Trump to be odious and repulsive, an egoist and a Narcissist, at best somewhat incompetent and at worst a rampant sociopath in high office. However, him choosing to engage in diplomacy with Russia rather than — what, invading them? What other course of action should we pursue here? — is not an act of treason.
Rather, I would call your attention to the timing of the recent indictments. The petty partisan motivation here could be called suspicious only if it weren’t so damnably transparent. There would appear to be officials in the Justice Department who wish to undermine our president’s diplomatic efforts in a time of direct conflict with a foreign power.
And yet, we call Trump a traitor. Why? Because we hate him already, and that’s easier for us than thinking.
Justice is impartial or it is not justice.