- President Donald Trump suggested an anonymous New York Times op-ed criticising his presidency amounts to treason.
- Trump tweeted the question after the op-ed was published on Wednesday, and after he delivered televised remarks about it from the White House.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and close ally to Trump, slapped away that idea: “This is not a treasonous act against the nation. This is a disloyal and cowardly act against the president,” Graham said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
President Donald Trump suggested that a bombshell New York Times op-ed criticising his presidency amounts to treason.
The article, published on Wednesday, features an anonymous author who declared themselves as part of an internal “resistance” group in the Trump administration, focused on protecting America from Trump’s worst impulses.
Trump remarked about the op-ed, calling its author “gutless,” and rebuking The Times for running it. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released an official statement echoing the same. Not long after, Trump tweeted a single word about the opinion article: “Treason?”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and one of Trump’s close allies, was commenting on the op-ed during a CNN interview when the president’s tweet came out. Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services committee, had an immediate response.
“This is not treason under the Constitution. This is not a treasonous act against the nation,” Graham said. “This is a disloyal and cowardly act against the president.”
The US Constitution defines treason as a criminal act:
“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or on confession in open court.”
A federal appeals court previously said the framers of the Constitution intentionally applied a narrow scope to the definition of treason in order to keep it from being used as a political weapon.
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