“TREASON” — A TIMELY ISSUE IN THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Treason is a word loosely bandied about, but it should not be. It should be used circumspectly; and, when properly applied to a person, legal action should be taken against that person. This nation should not suffer a traitor in its midst — not in the streets, nor in the Oval Office.
The public uses the word, ‘treason,’ as a descriptor of individuals it loathes, whether the word is properly applied to a person or not. The public uses the word, informally, as an appellation of disgrace. The public uses the word against a person to damn a person because it finds that person’s words, or conduct, or character to be shameful. Some have said Hillary Clinton has committed treason and a plausible case can be made for doing so whether the grounds were properly stated by those making the claim. Apparently not to be outdone, Clinton has said Donald Trump has committed treason, although the ground for Clinton’s claim against Trump is not only legally invalid, but patently ludicrous. But, then, Hillary Clinton never let sound logic, consistency, or truth stand in the way of her absurd and baseless assertions if she felt she could score political points with those assertions.
Politicians, pundits, the mainstream news media, talk radio show hosts, news analysts, all use the word ‘treason.’ They use the word loosely, cavalierly. They use it as a rhetorical device. They use it as hyperbole, for oratorical flourish. They use it for effect, to get a visceral reaction in their audience. But are they serious? Not always, certainly not invariably.
But, Americans should take the word, ‘treason,’ seriously. One should be careful about calling another person a “traitor”—that is to say, a person who commits treason. It is not something to be trifled with. If the word, ‘treason,’ fits a person, then use it. Otherwise, don’t. To use it in an off-hand, matter-of-fact, lighthearted way, reduces the import and significance of it. It is not a matter of frivolity.
The word, ‘treason,’ appears in our Constitution. It appears in federal criminal Statute. The founders of our Republic do not trifle with words. Our Constitution isn’t comedy. Our criminal codes aren’t slapstick skits. Nothing in the Constitution or in our criminal statutes is to be taken lightly. If treason merits death, as the federal crime of treason provides for, one should reflect upon applying treason carefully before calling a person as a “traitor”—condemning a person for the crime of treason.
Yet, the mainstream media has no wish to enlighten the American public. It plays with the word, ‘treason.’ It turns the word into something frivolous. It turns the word into something frivolous. But the word was never meant to be so taken.
Did Hillary Clinton commit treason? If so we will draw that conclusion from the law as applied to the facts. It is that basic; that clear; that simple. So, let us investigate this word, ‘treason.’
WHAT DOES THE WORD, ‘TREASON,’ MEAN IN LAW AND WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR OR WHAT ARE THE BASES, IF MORE THAN ONE, UPON WHICH A CHARGE OF TREASON EXISTS?
The word, ‘treason,’ is a legal term of art. Treason is an act against the Sovereign. A person who commits treason against the United States is committing a serious crime—the most serious crime imaginable—a crime against our Country as a Sovereign Nation. In recent times, it seems there were plenty of instances when federal prosecutors could have brought a charge of treason against an individual. Yet, when was the last time Government prosecutors brought a charge of treason against anyone? The Government hasn’t done so recently, notwithstanding that crimes committed against American citizens by one group of reprehensible individuals in this Country, Islamic radicals, would demonstrably satisfy the conditions for federal prosecutors to bring a charge of treason against those Islamic radicals or, at least, would provide for a good test case.
Is it difficult to make a charge of treason stick? Or, are there other reasons Government attorneys have been reluctant to bring a charge of treason against those citizens who commit acts that support a charge of treason? We must dig deeply to find answers to these questions. The Arbalest Quarrel will do so.
Foremost, what does it mean for a federal prosecutor to charge a person with the crime of treason? It means that the person, so charged, has committed acts that fit the specific elements of the crime of treason. In the U.S. Constitution and in federal law “treason” is narrowly defined.
Under the United States Code and under the U.S. Constitution, a person’s actions are treasonable if and only if at least one of two conditions is satisfied. The first condition is levying war against the sovereign United States. The second condition is adhering to the Nation’s enemies, giving them aid or comfort. On the surface the two conditions seem straightforward. But, they aren’t. We must ask: What does it mean to levy war against the U.S.? This goes to acts that amount to carrying out war against the United States? But, what act, overt or covert, amounts to levying war against the Nation? We pointedly will consider whether Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, designed and carried out foreign policy that amounted not to the safeguarding of our Nation, but to levying war against it.
What does it mean to give aid and comfort to the Nation’s enemies? To answer that question, we must ask: What does the phrase ‘aid and comfort’ mean? How far does it go? To what does the phrase extend? And, what does the word, ‘enemy’ mean’ in the legal sense? Does the word, ‘enemy,’ refer only to a Nation State or group of Nation States? Or, does the word extend to a group of actors that comprise no nation? Does the word, ‘enemy,’ refer to a Nation, a group of Nations, or groups of actors with whom the United States is actually at war? Or does the word, ‘enemy,’ as used in the legal sense, extend to any Nation, or group of Nations, or to any group of actors with whom our Nation is simply not allied and with whom the Nation operates on a confrontational basis other than through war.
Once we answer these questions, we may then ask this: If Hillary Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State did not rise to the level of actually overtly levying war against this Nation, did her actions have the effect of harming this Nation to the extent, at least, of covertly levying war against the United States, or, otherwise, did her actions amount to adhering to our Nation’s enemies, giving them aid and comfort?
Tangentially, we ask: If a person isn’t a citizen of the United States but lives within the United States and commits an act that includes elements of the crime of treason, can that person be lawfully charged with treason? Similarly, if a citizen, living outside the United States, commits an act that includes elements of the crime of treason, can that person be lawfully charged with treason if that person has not otherwise renounced his or her citizenship? Also, what are the implications of the requirement that at least two witnesses must testify to the act?
We should consider, too, why the founders of our Nation, who, in 1787, drafted the Constitution, consciously saw need to draft the treason clause so narrowly. Even so, if our Nation’s leaders devise and implement policy damaging to the well-being of our Nation, should we not hold them accountable for their action, charging them with treason? And, if our Nation’s leaders serve a secret master—a master, not clearly identified but who, on the basis of harmful policies, is other than the American People and other than the Constitution upon which they take their oath—must they not answer to the American People for treason? If our Nation’s leaders—with the power, under the Constitution, to destroy a Nation through misuse of that power—do misuse that power, should not the American People hold them to account for deleterious decision-making by charging them with treason? If so, when might such harmful decision-making rise to the level of treason? Further, must acts of treason be actual? Can a person, including our Nation’s leaders, commit constructive treason?
If our Nation’s leaders operate treacherously, duplicitously, heinously, hypocritically, deviously, should they not suffer to answer for the crime of treason? When, if ever, can we say, or ought to say, that a Nation’s leaders’ dereliction of duty or misuse of power and authority entails adhering to our Nation’s enemies, aiding and abetting this Nation’s enemies? We will ascertain how far even a narrow reading of the Constitutional and Statutory crime of treason extends.
If there is a legal basis to charge Hillary Rodham Clinton with the crime of treason, or with other crimes against this sovereign Nation, including crimes of sedition, espionage, conspiracy to commit treason, and, yes, terrorism, the Arbalest Quarrel will adduce those. In dealing with the misconduct of Hillary Clinton, the impact of our findings may also extend to that of the U.S. Department of Justice.
By failing to indict Hillary Clinton on several criminal counts—by failing to indict a person who should have been indicted on charges amounting to extremely serious criminal wrongdoing against this Nation, against this Nation’s Constitution, and against this Nation’s citizenry—thus paving the way for the very real possibility of planting a likely criminal in the highest Office in the Land—did Justice Department Officials commit treason too?Copyright © 2016 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.
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