Former Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, referring to the latest revelations regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s contact with Russia vis-à-vis the 2016 campaign, snapped, “We’re now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of what’s being investigated. This is moving into perjury, false statements, and even into potentially treason.”
Treason? In the U.S. Code, Title 18, Part 1, the punishment for treason is delineated thus:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
So Kaine is intimating Donald Trump Jr. might be in prison for at least five years or even killed for what was described in the emails he offered?
Let’s take a look at what truly entails treason:
The phrase “levies war against them, or adheres to their enemies” is a crucial point for the Russia scandal because it limits a treason prosecution to a wartime crime, which law professor Carlson F.W. Larson describes in The Washington Post. Even at the height of the Cold War — an undeclared war — Soviet agents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for espionage, not treason.
Even the political left-wing media backed off from describing Trump Jr.’s actions as treason. Left-wing Slate added:
Treason against the United States, as defined in the Constitution, “shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Nobody I spoke to on Tuesday was talking about treason. To the extent there is a credible criminal claim to be made against Trump Jr., it’s likely under campaign finance law.
Dylan Matthews of left-wing Vox pointed out:
UC Davis law professor Carlton Larson told me then that there are two broad categories of treason charges: “aid and comfort” prosecutions, and “levying War” prosecutions. The latter is rare, and typically involves someone who’s literally using an army to fight the government of the US or one of the 50 states.
… Obviously, Trump Jr. did not actively conspire to wage a literal war with armies and troops and stuff against the United States … “Aid and comfort” prosecutions are also difficult. The typical defendant is someone like American-born al-Qaeda member Adam Gadahn (the first treason indictment since World War II and its aftermath), or Nazi propagandist Robert Henry Best, or Tomoya Kawakita, a joint US-Japanese citizen who abused American prisoners of war who were forced to do labor at a mining plant he worked at in Japan. What unites these cases is that they concern countries or organizations with which the US was at war, or at least a de facto state of war.
Here’s the video of Kaine:
Via Daily Wire