Did the Trump Campaign Commit Treason?

Let me begin by stating that, as a member of the public, I have seen no evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone in the Trump campaign committed a crime more serious that perjury and obstruction of justice. However, it seems that no week goes by without a revelation that someone in the Trump campaign including Donald Trump himself lied about the campaign’s communications with Russia.

The latest revelation is that Donald Trump junior met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, a meeting that he did not disclose until the press reported it. When knowledge of the meeting was first revealed in the press, Mr. Trump Jr. insisted that it was an innocent meeting to discuss American adoption of Russian orphans. After that statement was shown to be false, Donald Trump Jr. admitted that he agreed to meet with Ms. Veselnitskaya, because she claimed to have compromising information about Hillary Clinton, but he now claims that she had no useful information to impart. What will his next story be?

It is difficult to believe that there was no illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government when Donald Trump himself and members of his staff make denials about the campaign’s contacts with representatives of the Russian government that, denials that later prove to be boldfaced lies. Why falsely deny that the campaign had repeated contact with people representing the Russian government if those meetings were innocent? Donald Trump and the people surrounding him are certainly giving the impression that they are covering up something much more serious.

In the unlikely event that it turns out that the Trump campaign received no illegal aid from the Russian government, a premise that becomes more difficult to believe with each new revelation, it wasn’t for lack of trying. The very fact that Donald Trump junior had a meeting with a person whom he believed to be a Russian government attorney and who claimed to have information from the Russian government that would compromise Hillary Clinton shows that he and the other two members of the Trump staff who attended the meeting were willing to break the law.

The meeting also conforms with the Russian government’s method of compromising foreign nationals. Step one is to suggest to the foreign national that Russia can provide some benefit if the “mark” is willing to overstep legal bounds. Donald Trump junior and the other two members of Trump’s campaign staff — Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort — showed themselves willing to do that. Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump Jr. may claim naivete, but Mr. Manafort has extensive experience dealing with the Russian government and certainly knew that the meeting was improper, but he attended anyway. He is a man who is addicted to risky behavior.

President Trump’s assertion that he knew nothing about the meeting strains belief. The meeting took place in Trump Tower while then candidate Trump was also there. It is improbable that not one of these three men, all very close to Donald Trump at the time, mentioned the meeting to the candidate. President Trump is almost certainly lying. The news today is that President Trump will make no more comments on the Russian meeting. Perhaps some of President Trump’s advisers have convinced him that a person in a deep hole should stop digging.

To repeat what I wrote at the beginning of this article, the evidence available to the public at this time does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Donald Trump at the people around him committed treason. However, each week brings more circumstantial evidence suggesting that they did. The FBI, CIA, and NSA know much more than the public does. Someday what they know will be made public and we will know the answer to the question: did Donald Trump and his associates commit treason?