President-elect Trump has been accused of many things since he first began his bid to become the 45th President of the United States. He has been called a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, and a liar. None of these accusations paint a flattering picture of the man, but a recent question being raised on social media has even darker implications. The question of whether Trump has ever committed treason is being raised by many of his detractors on Twitter, and the accusations appear to be based on a series of tweets Trump sent out.
Trump continues to cast aspersions on United States intelligence agencies and their handling of investigations into the alleged Russian cyber hacking of the Democratic National Convention. Several intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russian hackers infiltrated the email servers of the Democratic Party and leaked the emails in an attempt to manipulate the election, in one of a series of alleged security breaches created by Russian hackers. Not only did the Russians hack thousands of Democratic emails, but intelligence agencies also believe the Russian government was behind the spread of "fake news" about former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. President Obama responded to the intelligence agencies' reports of Russian hacks by levying sanctions against the country and evicting 35 Russian diplomats from the United States. Lawmakers from both parties praised Obama for his response to the hacks, but not Trump. When Russian President Putin chose not to respond to Obama's imposed sanctions, choosing instead to wait for Trump's administration to take over in January (and reportedly expecting a much warmer reception), Trump praised Putin on Twitter:
Romper reached out to the Trump transition team regarding the treason allegations but did not immediately hear back.
Intelligence officials reportedly told NBC News that not only was Putin aware of the cyber attack, but the former KGB officer was personally involved. The fact that Trump continues to support Putin, a direct enemy of the United States, while simultaneously denying the results of investigations by American intelligence agencies, has many wondering if Trump is committing treason.
Third-party candidate Evan McMullin from Utah tweeted his outrage at Trump's choice to support Putin over domestic intelligence agencies.
While Trump's affiliation with Putin is certainly troubling, can it really be called treason? There are three definitions of treason;
- the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign
- a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state
- the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery
Trump may not have overthrown a government, but his faith in Putin and open lack of faith in the intelligence agencies sworn to protect Americans is most certainly a betrayal of trust. Whether it's treason would have to be decided by a court.