Punishment for Treason – the latest statute I could find, (September 13, 1994), states the following:
“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.”
That statement is ambiguous, to say the least. The range of punishment is, quite frankly, idiotic, and a lawyer’s paradise. It was undoubtedly written by lawyers, so why am I surprised.
I looked it up to determine what might happen to Donald Trump if it’s proved he is complicit in the massive Russian hacking of U.S. Institutions. Also if he is complicit in aiding and abetting Vladimir Putin in any way. Complicit, I should add, includes doing, and saying nothing to condemn the situation. Trump has amply demonstrated his envy of Putin. Significant rumors also place Trump in Putin’s debt, financially. Part of the envy is certainly financial, Putin is reportedly worth between $70 and $200 billion. However, most of the envy centers on Putin being President-for-life, or as close to that as makes no difference.
If a solid connection is be established between Trump and Putin, that would be treason.
The question then becomes, “what is a suitable punishment for treason?” How do you address a crime where the elected president of a country supports the president of another country against the interests of his home country?
Traitors, in recent times, have been jailed, or summarily shot, but that has usually been for selling military secrets. How do you punish someone who was in a position to sell out his entire country, and, then, did. I think that five years in jail, and a $10,000 fine, hardly seems sufficient.
This creates a dilemma in terms of Trump. Should his crimes be announced publicly? The subsequent prosecution would turn into a media circus that would divert attention from everything else. Trump would bathe in the publicity and, inevitably, the case would drag on for years. He would be on the front pages for the rest of his life.
It would also provide Russia and China with opportunities they could not have imagined in their wildest dreams. The whole world distracted to a level where they could expand their empires with little consequence.
We need the type of leader who is capable of following this type of analysis, and deciding to not to publish any findings and, thus stifle this inevitable consequences. Time to take the long view, even though it might be extremely tempting to think of a short trial for treason, followed by a public hanging in Time Square, New York.