The media in the United States has spent the last few weeks lurching from one ‘big story’ about how terrible President Trump was to another. They moved quickly from caring about ‘illegal immigrant children separation’ to caring that Donald Trump got a second nomination to the United States Supreme Court and had picked Brett Kavanaugh. This week, they seem to be interested in talking about Russia.
They also seem to be interested in getting the opinion of executive appointees from the Barack Obama administration like John Brennan, formerly the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (and a man accused of lying to Congress, an admitted former communist, and who oversaw an organization that illegally accessed the computers of elected officials). According to Brennan, President Donald J. Trump’s press conference in Helsinki amounts to “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and were “treasonous.”
His wording suggests the alleged ‘crimes’ could be grounds for impeachment. It seems like Brennan may not spend much time reflecting on his own record, really.
On Monday, President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin had their first summit together. During the meeting, the president pointed out that the only reason American-Russian relations were so bad was due to the last administration.
To quote the president, he blamed “years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity.”
He also pointed out that the ongoing Mueller investigation (which recently produced 12 more indictments, all targeting Russian citizens), which he called the “rigged witch hunt,” wasn’t helping improve that relationship.
According to statements made by President Trump himself, he did not have high expectations for his meeting with the former Komitet Colonel. However, many speculated that he hoped to establish the kind of rapport that he had with Kim Jong Un in North Korea.
He said that before the summit and the press conference that came afterward, he believed that there was nothing President Donald J. Trump could do to surprise him.
Brennan claimed that the president didn’t hold Russia accountable for anything, and that he instead took shots at the American people, and Hillary Clinton, instead of talking about how ‘unacceptable’ Russia’s behavior was.
Apparently, Brennan believed that a friendly summit trying to calm tensions was the time to publicly condemn Putin and his nation for nerve agent attacks, interfering in elections (something which America does as well, incidentally), and more.
However, the former CIA Director says that he shirked that duty, and that he can only conclude that the president is in Putin’s ‘pocket.’
In his tweet, Brenna also accused him of treason.
Treason is talked about in 18 U.S. Code 2381. It basically means that someone, who properly owes allegiance to the United States (basically, a U.S. citizen), attempts to wage war against the nation or adhere to its enemies, giving said enemies aid and/or comfort within the nation or elsewhere, is guilty of treason.
The punishment for such a conviction is the death penalty, or imprisonment in a federal penitentiary for five years or more and a fine not under $10,000. A person convicted under 18 U.S.C. 2381 also becomes invalid for holding any sort of political office under the United States.
So, Brennan’s blustering aside, did Donald Trump provide aid or comfort to an enemy of the nation?
Not likely, no.
Simply put, while the United States and Russia may not be allies, that does not make the nation’s enemies. America is not actively at war with Russia. In fact, since the end of the Cold War, the United States military has assisted the Russian military repeatedly, including patrolling borders during the Bosnian War with mixed American/Russian Army units.
Furthermore, there’s a time and a place for every discussion. When President Donald Trump is trying to establish relations with Russia is not the time to call them out for various misdeeds.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton outright kowtowed to Russia during the ‘Russian Reset,’ and took steps including planning to remove missile defenses from the region… not to mention orchestrating a deal that sold one-fifth of America’s uranium to the country.
By comparison, refusing to call out the man who has led the country for 18 years over allegations that his nation used a nerve agent to kill a number of people, or hypocritically complaining that his nation likely tried to interfere in our elections as the United States has done to elections all around the world, doesn’t even matter.
If Brennan is going to complain about behavior that deserves punishment, he should be careful that doesn’t lead to too much scrutiny on his tenure as head of the CIA. The things he was accused of allowing to occur, by members of the Democrat Party, no less, far outstrip anything that Donald Trump has done trying to mend fences.