Trump and treason; longing for Jim Webb and John Kasich

Our great leader.

Our great leader.


Given Donald Trump’s pathological lying, record of personal and business corruption, narcissistic rapaciousness, and his hiding of the sort of financial information that previous presidents have provided to the public, we may never know the full extent of his ties to Russian murderer and kleptocrat–in-chief Vladimir Putin. (Some estimates put Putin's fortune as high as $100 billion.)

But given the extent of Putin’s relentless and successful effort to throw the presidential election to his fan Mr. Trump, we must start asking whether Mr. Trump is a traitor, perhaps because his organization has received massive loans from Russian figures close to the dictator. How much coordination was there between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin? How much will there be when our new maximum leader takes over?

One hint might be Donald Trump Jr.’s remark in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.’’

And then there is Mr. Trump's sleazy and very close associate Paul Manafort, with his very tight ties with the Kremlin. Much of the Trump entourage, including some members of his family, makes one want to take a bath in disinfectant. A creepy, immoral bunch.

John Shattuck, a lawyer and an assistant secretary of state (1993-98) in the Clinton administration and now at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, wrote for the Dec. 17  Boston Globe a column headlined “Trump raises specter of treason, '' about the Russian hacking to get Donald Trump elected. Among his comments:

“Why does Trump publicly reject these intelligence agency conclusions {on the Russian assault on our electoral system} and the bipartisan proposal for a congressional investigation? As president-elect, he should have a strong interest in presenting a united front against Russia’s interference with the electoral process at the core of American democracy.

“There are several possible explanations for Trump’s position. They are not mutually exclusive. First, he may be trying to shore up his political standing before the Electoral College vote on Monday. Second, he may be attempting to undermine the credibility of US intelligence agencies in advance of his taking office so that he can intimidate them and have a freer hand in reshaping the intelligence product to suit his objectives. Third, he may be testing his ability to go over the heads of intelligence professionals and congressional critics and persuade the American public to follow his version of the truth about national security threats. And finally, he may be seeking to cover up evidence of involvement or prior knowledge by members of his campaign team or himself in the Russian cyberattack.

“In each case the president-elect is inviting an interpretation that his behavior is treasonous. The federal crime of treason is committed by a person ‘owing allegiance to the United States who . . . adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort,’ and misprision of treason is committed by a person ‘having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose’  the crime. By denigrating or seeking to prevent an investigation of the Russian cyberattack Trump is giving aid or comfort to an enemy of the United States, a crime that is enhanced if the fourth explanation applies — that he is in fact seeking to cover up his staff’s or his own involvement in or prior knowledge of the attack.’’


Meanwhile, many of us say: “If only the Democrats had nominated someone like Jim Webb as their presidential candidate and the Republicans John Kasich!’’ Honorable and able men with remarkably little bad baggage.

For a trip down Memory (or is it Amnesia) Lane, take a look at this show.

-- Robert Whitcomb