Robert Mueller testified before Congress today (7/24), the big takeaway being that his report didn’t exonerate Trump of, well, something.
From what I’ve seen, there’s no evidence that proves Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election in 2016. There is evidence Trump tried to obstruct Mueller’s inquiry, but his own subordinates disobeyed or ignored him, thereby protecting him from his own stupidity.
So, Trump didn’t collude with Russia and Mueller was able to complete his investigation, therefore Trump is essentially in the clear, especially on the damning charge of treason. Right?
Not so fast. I recently read Sebastian Junger’s fine book, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (2016), and the following passage resonated:
“politicians occasionally accuse rivals of deliberately trying to harm their own country–a charge so disruptive to group unity that most past societies would probably have just punished it as a form of treason. It’s complete madness, and the veterans know this. In combat, soldiers all but ignore differences of race, religion, and politics within their platoon. It’s no wonder many of them get so depressed when they come home.”
Junger nails it. Accusing your political rivals of deliberately trying to harm America, which Trump routinely does when he denounces Democrats at his rallies, could be construed as a form of treason. Seeking to divide Americans on the basis of race, religion, and other qualities, which Trump also routinely does, is another behavior that could be construed as treasonous to American ideals and treacherous to our ability to come together and govern ourselves.
Trump’s treason (if you want to call it that) is in plain sight. It’s in the way he divides Americans and denounces his opponents as putting America (and Israel!) in danger. His treachery is blatant. The problem is that roughly 40% of Americans seem willing either to follow Trump or to look the other way as he rules through denunciation, disdain, and divisiveness.
Trump will use any tactic to protect his power and privilege. He is an unprincipled and rank opportunist who works for his own self-aggrandizement.
Perhaps that’s not the legal definition of treason, but it is the defining characteristic of a man who should be voted out of office in 2020.