Turley: ‘Dangerous’ for Both Sides to Throw Around Treason Charges – Both Trump and Dems ‘Ridiculous’

On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” George Washington Law Professor Jonathan Turley argued that it’s “ridiculous” for Democrats to accuse President Trump of treason and for Trump to say Democrats are treasonous for not applauding during the State of the Union. He added that it’s “a dangerous thing for both sides to use this term.”

Turley said, “[T]he framers had an interesting position on treason. They tried to take this word off the table in our political discussions. Because when our country was formed, it was very common for the Crown to accuse people of being traitors and to take their land and imprison them. And people like James Madison wanted to stop it. He wanted to create a standard, to put it in our Constitution. It’s one of the few occasions of this type of action where the crime is defined in the Constitution itself, and it’s there to make it more difficult to allege that someone is a traitor.”

He continued, “And so, a traitor under the United States law and Constitution is really someone who’s involved with a country who — with which we are at war, someone who is doing something that is truly undermining, like a wartime treasonist act. The problem we have today is that people seem to mean it. You know, the rhetoric of treason has been around a long time. It’s irresponsible. It’s reckless. But, people increasingly seem to mean it. They’re saying that, you know, Trump should be charged with treason, which is facially ridiculous. And Trump is responding by saying, you know, maybe the Democrats are treasonous for not applauding, which is equally ridiculous.”

Turley concluded, “The one thing that we have, fortunately, is a Constitution that wasn’t just written for times like these, it was written in times like these. I mean, when they wrote the Constitution, these people weren’t just pretending like they wanted to kill each other. They were trying to kill each other. They had the Alien and Sedition Acts. They — people like Adams [were] eager to arrest people with differing views. So, our Constitution has really been able to weather these types of periods, but it’s a dangerous thing for both sides to use this term.”

(h/t Grabien)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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