By Robert Reich
Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was a betrayal of the nation he has a sworn duty to protect.
Under Article III Section 3 of the Constitution, the crime of treason is defined as “giving aid and comfort” to enemies of the United States. Trump has betrayed the American people in 5 ways we already know of:
1. He ignores attacks on our democracy. According to American intelligence, there’s no doubt about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. And no doubt they’re continuing to attack, and planning further attacks, on our democratic institutions and even our energy infrastructure.
Yet Trump casts doubt about the conclusions of the intelligence community, blames past presidents, and turns a blind eye to safeguarding America from current and future attacks.
2. He publicly undermines U.S. intelligence officials – taking the side of Putin, a former KGB officer, when Putin claims Russia didn’t interfere in the election. And Trump accuses his own government officials of being part of a so-called “deep-state” conspiracy out to get him.
3. He attacks our closest allies, weakening America’s standing in the world and playing into Putin’s hands. During his trip to Europe, Trump insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, mocked British Prime Minister Theresa May, and was rebuked by the French President. His unreasonable demands on NATO – that members increase their military expenditures to 4 percent of their GDPs – have frayed our most important security alliance.
4. His campaign knowingly sought help from a Russian agent. In June, 2016, senior members of Trump’s campaign, including Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, met with a Russian lawyer who, before they met, had promised them damaging information on Clinton.
5. Then in July 2016 Trump publicly encouraged Russia to meddle in our election, asking Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server and release the emails to the public. That same day Russian operatives initiated their cyberattack, and weeks later released the emails.
Never before has a President of the United States so brazenly sided with a ruthless dictator intent on destroying American democracy.
If this is not treason, what is it?