Prosecute Trump for Treason

The Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland must do their sworn duty and charge Donald Trump with the extremely serious crimes the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has documented and alleges that the ex-president committed in order to subvert democracy. The DOJ, AG Garland and Biden administration must not make the same mistake that Pres. Gerald Ford did when he granted a full and unconditional pardon to Richard Nixon on Sept. 8, 1974, shortly after Tricky Dick resigned the presidency. Not prosecuting Trump for the heinous crimes he purportedly perpetrated will, in effect, be the same as Ford’s Proclamation 4311, which let Nixon get off Scott free for the crimes he committed as part of the Watergate Scandal and set a deplorable precedent of unaccountability.

The rich, powerful and famous must be held to account, the same as the rest of us. They must pay the consequences for their actions, just like ordinary people are expected to. There must not be a double standard for the high and mighty; NOBODY is above the law, not even a president or ex-president.

During its 10-month, comprehensive, far reaching fact-finding mission, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has researched 140,000-plus documents and interviewed 1,000-plus witnesses. The DOJ has separately charged 800-plus insurrectionists with crimes.

Trump must be prosecuted in a court of law and given a fair trial for allegedly committing the following crimes (among others), and if he is found guilty and does not win appeals, Trump must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. After Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Jan. 6 Committee, gaveled the hearings into order on June 9, pulling no punches, Thompson boldly asserted that after losing the presidential election, Trump perpetrated:

“a sprawling multistep conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election, aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans, your votes, your voice in our democracy, and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended. Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy, and ultimately Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.

“Any legal jargon you hear about seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States boils down to this. January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6th, to overthrow the government. The violence was no accident. It represents seeing Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”

With prosecutorial panache, the Select Committee’s Vice Chair Liz Cheney also took the gloves off and put the blame squarely where she thought it belonged, insisting: “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.” During the hearing footage of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol Building by filmmaker Nick Quested and closed-circuit TV was screened. Testimony by Quested and Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was heard, documenting what the injured officer called the “carnage,” “chaos” and “a war scene” that unfolded for hours at the seat of America’s political system, where the 31-year-old “slipp[ed] in people’s blood.”

According to Cheney, the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building was “to halt Congress’s count of electoral votes that day,” as a bloody part of “a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the Presidential election and prevent the transfer of Presidential power” that “Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated” to prevent then-president elect Joe Biden from taking office.

Furthermore, on March 28, 2022, Federal Judge David Carter ordered rightwing attorney John Eastman to turn over a trove of documents to the Jan. 6 Committee and wrote: “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021… If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution.” In Carter’s 26-page ruling, Judge Carter referred to some of Trump and Eastland’s activities as “crimes.”

Enrique Tarrio and four other members of the extremist Proud Boys group plus Oath Keepers leader Stuart Rhodes and 10 other adherents to that rightwing organization have already been charged with Seditious conspiracy in connection the Ja. 6 attempted insurrection. Trump, who ordered the Proud Boys to “standby” during a national televised presidential debate, should likewise be charged with this serious crime. According to §2384. Seditious conspiracy of The United States Code, this is:

“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. ”(See: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2020-title18/html/USCODE-2020-title18-partI-chap115-sec2381.htm .)

The U.S. Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States, published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Here are other crimes Trump should be charged with under the U.S. Code:

§2381. Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2020-title18/html/USCODE-2020-title18-partI-chap115-sec2382.htm

§2382. Misprision of treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any treason against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both.

“Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy,” a seven-part plot subvert the 2020 presidential election and

“I’m watching and I will be watching all the hearings, although I may not be able to watch all of it live. But I’ll be sure that I’ll be watching all that. And I can assure you that the January 6 prosecutors are watching all the hearings as well,” Garland said at a [June 13] press conference about a separate enforcement action.

Cheney – “Dishonor” – Garland

18 U.S.C. § 2384

§2384. Seditious conspiracy

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, §1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2020-title18/html/USCODE-2020-title18-partI-chap115-sec2381.htm

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CREC-2019-09-27/html/CREC-2019-09-27-pt1-PgH8060-4.htm

[Congressional Record Volume 165, Number 157 (Friday, September 27, 2019)]

[House]

[Page H8060]

From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

TREASON

(Mr. [Rep. Peter] DeFAZIO asked and was given permission to address the House for

1 minute.)

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, well, I saw an extraordinary clip of

President Trump at a fundraising event where he is accusing the

intelligence agents who rightly reported his conduct of committing

treason.

Let’s see. Russia has invaded Ukraine, Ukraine is dependent upon the

United States for military assistance to defend itself, Trump is

withholding the aid, at the same time asking them for dirt on his

political opponent.

He is jeopardizing the national security interests of the United

States.

If anybody is committing treason, and I believe that is an

impeachable offense, it is the President of the United States, Donald

Trump.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Cuellar). Members are reminded to

refrain from engaging in personalities toward the President.

____________________

TREASON: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/search/%7B%22query%22%3A%22treason%22%2C%22offset%22%3A0%7D

https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/USCODE-2011-title18/USCODE-2011-title18-partI-chap115-sec2384

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/leader-proud-boys-and-four-other-members-indicted-federal-court-seditious-conspiracy-and

Ed Rampell is a contributor to the new book on America’s former Poet Laureate “Conversations With W.S. Merwin” and co-author of “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book“.