Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Did The Dems Impeach Trump For Treason?

That's the contention of Michael Tracy, in a brilliant article at RCP: Democrats' Dubious Impeachment Subtext of Treason. I think Tracy is on to something of supreme importance. Let me first restate and rephrase Tracy's summary conclusion of what the Dems actually did in the first article on "abuse of power." What the Dems assert is this:

1) The U.S. is in a state of war with Russia;  
2) President Trump committed treason by betraying the national security of the United States, to the benefit of Russia;  
3) The President of the United States lacks the constitutional authority.

Let's walk through Tracy's argument. What Tracy contends is that the Dems avoided openly stating that President Trump was being accused of treason because to have done so would have given their game away and could have led to enough defections among "moderate" Dems to actually have defeated the articles. Instead, what they did was issue a mammoth 658 page Judiciary Committee report ("the Report") on the articles, and buried inside that report is a definition of treason as a "betrayal of national security". That phrase was then inserted into the first article as code for "treason." Once the Impeachment Theater in the Senate is finished we will see Dems openly claiming that Trump was impeached "forever" (Pelosi's word) for Treason.

Here's how it works. Tracy quotes the Report:

“At the very heart of ‘Treason’ is deliberate betrayal of the nation and its security. Such betrayal would not only be unforgivable but would also confirm that the President remains a threat if allowed to remain in office. A President who has knowingly betrayed national security is a President who will do so again. He endangers our lives and those of our allies.”

Now let's turn to the first article. You've been told by Dem media ad nauseam that this article on "abuse of power" is all about a quid pro quo involving the conditioning of military aid in exchange for high profile investigations of Trump's political enemies. But there's more to it than that. Here's how the first article reads in relevant part. I've also inserted--in BLUE--a portion of a running commentary by the NYT:

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. ... Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency, in that: 
Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage. President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation. 
President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means:

 An enumeration of Trump's supposed "scheme or course of conduct" is omitted.

(3) Faced with the public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit. 
These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections.6
6. This is a reference to Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign on Mr. Trump’s behalf. While the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said he did not find enough evidence to allege a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, he documented extensive contacts between the two. In 2016, Mr. Trump publicly invited “Russia, if you’re listening,” to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, which Moscow’s agents tried to do later that day. Mr. Trump later said he was only joking.
In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections. 
Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

So we can clearly see that the Report presents a definition of "treason," which is then introduced into the first article, while slyly avoiding the actual word.

But wait, you may object. Doesn't the Constitution itself provide a definition of Treason? Forgive my interpolations:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against [the United States], or in adhering to ... enemies [of the United States], giving [enemies of the United States] aid and comfort. (Article III, Section 3)

When did Trump "levy war" against the United States, or adhere to its enemies, or give aid and comfort to those enemies? As it happens, the Report actually explains that, which means that treason was very much on their minds. I'll let Tracy himself explain how the Report slyly designates Russia as an "adversary", i.e., an enemy nation :

First, in order to have engaged in treason, one must have acted to further the interests of a nation with which the U.S. is in a state of war — thereby “endanger[ing] our lives and those of our allies,” in the words of the report’s authors. Clearly, the “ally” in this scenario is Ukraine, and the “adversary” is Russia. The designation of Russia as an “adversary” is sourced to what the impeachment report’s authors describe as the official “national security policy” of the United States. (Underpinning the logic of the entire impeachment exercise is the notion that Trump defied so-called “official” U.S. foreign policy — a characterization attributed to witness George Kent in the report — as if presiding over “official” policy is the purview of unelected members of the national security state bureaucracy, not the elected president.)

 Thus, it's not the president who determines who a foreign enemy is. Bureaucrats do that, and if the president disagrees a Dem House can impeach him.

The report’s authors cite impeachment witness Tim Morrison, the former National Security Council operative under Trump, as saying: "The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here." (Adam Schiff directly cited this quote during one of his trial soliloquies.) Central to the reasoning behind these impeachment articles, then, is the presumption that the U.S. is engaged in direct hostilities with Russia, and taking any steps to interrupt these hostilities — such as temporarily withholding (but not actually rescinding) future dispersals of military aid — constitutes a treasonous betrayal of the American people. Only in the minds of the most hardened and conspiratorial Cold Warriors does that prospect have even the slightest plausibility. 
And the idea, asserted almost in passing by the report’s authors, that the lives of Americans are “endangered” by the temporary withholding of military aid to Ukraine is of course another incredibly fraught proposition, seeing as it conflates U.S. national security with that of Ukraine. Assuming that sending lethal weaponry into Ukraine’s eastern provinces actually does enhance its long-term national security (another disputed premise), the concept that U.S. and Ukrainian interests are one and the same is not some objective statement of fact but a highly ideological proposition devised to justify an interventionist U.S. policy. ...

Tracy then turns to assertion in the first article that Trump’s actions with regard to Ukraine “were consistent with [his] previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections.” Again, that is coded language by which the entire Russia Hoax--as codified by John Brennan's Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)--is incorporated by reference into the first article. See why Barr/Durham are focusing on that ICA? Tracy elaborates on what the Report has to say about the Russia Hoax:

“These previous efforts include inviting and welcoming Russian interference in the 2016 United States Presidential election,” the report reads. So we are now back to the Mueller investigation, which was widely presumed to have been discarded. Far from it: the report’s authors state that Trump’s conduct vis-a-vis the 2016 election confirms that there are “sufficient grounds” for impeachment. Past instances of “inviting and welcoming Russian interference” include the infamous Trump wisecrack on July 27, 2016 about Hillary Clinton’s private email server (“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”). They also include Trump exclaiming, “I love WikiLeaks!” on the campaign trail and the allegation that members of the Trump campaign “were maintaining significant contacts with Russian nationals.” (Yes, Russian “nationals” are supposed to be seen as sinister, even if such “nationals” have no connection to any government body.) There is even a reference to George Papadopoulos and his purported discussion with Joseph Mifsud about “dirt” related to Hillary Clinton.

Article one states that inviting foreign interference in a US election is a betrayal of the Nation. That means that when done by a president (recall, in 2016 Trump wasn't yet president) it's a violation of his oath of office and is Treason. "Maintaining significant contacts with Russian nationals" seems to be treasonous as well--when a Republican is involved.

These were all core tenets of the Mueller investigation and they were all exhaustively analyzed, and summarily debunked as constituting any illicit or conspiratorial relationship between Trump and Russia. But Democrats in their zeal still managed to smuggle Mueller back in. When Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that impeachment was never fundamentally about Ukraine, but about Russia — exclaiming “All roads lead to Putin” as her justification for the endeavor — she wasn’t kidding.

 My bet is that the Dems will be bringing this up on a regular basis from now until November. I'm guessing that once the Senate show is over we may also see increasingly open use of the T word: Treason. The stealth impeachment for treason will give way to the brazenly open claim.


  1. Preemptive defense.

    No former president is ever going to be tried, convicted, and imprisoned for committing standard DC corruption or criminal activity (e.g. spying on an opposing presidential campaign). The worst that would likely result is a fine, censure, and embarrassing stain on one's historical reputation.

    But that calculus changes if a former president was engaged in selling out US military technology and other proprietary information that demonstrably harmed our national security. This would be especially damning if the payoff was in the 8 figure range.

    Does Durham have the gonads to go there? If so, then the defense narrative becomes . . . it's just political retaliation by Trump for being impeached.

    Rocky road ahead.

  2. If you insert the name Obama in place of Trump, you could make a very strong case against him.

    Rob S

  3. This theory--alleging Trump committed (a newly defined) treason, having changed the definition, and then not overtly accusing Trump of treason (wink, wink)--is a couple steps too far-fetched for me to consider plausible.

    I don't think it moves the needle for anyone--except a few inside the beltway sleuths who make reading tea leaves their life's ambition. For the Dems to succeed in the impeachment gambit, it has to be an exceedingly simple narrative for the public to grasp, i.e. just plain obvious. This is the opposite.

    This theory essentially works from the basis that Congress dictates foreign policy/national security interest, rather than the president. Does this fly with anyone?? (I realize some fringe figures might wish it so--but does anyone actually argue this is how things work?)

    1. The Dems argue that that's how it works when Trump's in the WH. We saw that throughout the Dem House hearings--bureaucrat after bureaucrat, with it all parroted by the MSM. Even now people like Mirengoff and McCarthy suggest that there was something wrong with what Trump did--the famous quid pro quo! There's lots out there who think that way.

  4. The game is now "whack-a-lie"... debunk one and another two pop up.

    Will never end until they're completely destroyed.

  5. It does not matter if he has the gonads.

    The GOP does not want nor desire Trump. They like the setup. They like the constant leftward march all the while collecting $$ and votes opposing.

    I will say this, today, thankfully and after delivering many supposedly GOP wants and desires, it appears that a vast majority of the GOP is for Trump, but a significant number that count like being Democrat servants.

    1. TexasDude,

      Let's look at the new Senators like Hawley and Braun, who are in office since the 2018 election. They are backing the President.

      Yes, I acknowledge Pierre Delecto got in, too.

      But the RINOs are upset that Doug Collins threw his hat in the ring to take on Loeffler. My vote would go to Doug, if I were a GA resident.

      We need a new breed or Rep, not another RINO.

  6. The Dems are throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Trump, and hoping something sticks. They did an ama big job of sliming Romney, and they are trying for a repeat with Trump. I’m amazed at how little they have succeeded, and at such a cost to the Democrats and their allies reputation / credibility. Trump has done an amazing job of counter attacking, think of the reputation of Pelosi, Schiff, Feinstein, and Nadler to name a famous Democratic Politicians.

    1. True. Trump must the courage of his convictions.

  7. Last night while reading this I had a documentary playing concerning the mechanizations of the leadership of the Nazi party during the critical time frame of '30 - '33, during which they consolidated a tremendous democratic following, crushed the communists and then cemented their power by taking out the SA trash. While I was reading the sentence, "These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections," a commentator in the doc. was saying, concerning the Goering/Goebbels/Himmler plot to remove Rohm and destroy the SA,

    "That was the Nazi way, fabricate evidence, throw it at a person, judge them guilty."

    How coincidental.

    So the Big Lie begins to coalesce. The Dem's obviously place great faith in it and the histories of democracies, not to mention observers such as de Tocqueville, would tend to support them.

    Their faith is in the Big Lie backed by the Uber-party media and ours is in the fidelity and resolution of a Republican Senate. What could go wrong?
    Tom S.

    1. "machinations"

      Schiff and Nadler--Nazis for our time.

  8. It has been said here before, but it bears saying again.

    The sliming will not stop (if it ever does) until a Trump-loyal House and Senate majority are in place and the misdeeds (gross criminality) of the Obama years and the Resistance are fully exposed.

    1. Thanks for saying it again. Tell your friends and family. It's shocking stuff. Friends don't let friends vote Dem. Ever. Not even for dog catcher.

    2. The criminality of the Obama years and the Resistance can be fully exposed w/o a GOP House, if Barr/ Durham mean business.

  9. And, by the way, does anybody else here find Pierre Delecto's behavior, influenced by enormous personal animus, to be ... despicable?

  10. Mr. Wauck wrote " My bet is that the Dems will be bringing this up on a regular basis from now until November. I'm guessing that once the Senate show is over we may also see increasingly open use of the T word: Treason. The stealth impeachment for treason will give way to the brazenly open claim. "

    Sounds like the Dems are playing double or nothing. My money's on Trump.

    Oh, by the way, in blue New Jersey, how long was the wait for the President's rally and how many people showed up?

    How many people showed up to Bill and Hill's tour?

    Ponder that question.