No, James Comey Did Not Commit Treason

225px-rudy_giulianiGiuliani also said that he saw a conspiracy to take down Trump and at least noted that this was a “guess,” an “experienced prosecutor’s hypothesis,” but added “I do this pretty well.”

Giuliani started by hedging on treason and then plunged head first in the claim.  He first told the host “I don’t say that it’s treason, but it’s as close to treason as you can get.” He then added

“They wanted to take out the lawfully elected President of the United States, and they wanted to do it by lying, submitting false affidavits, using phoney witnesses — in other words, they wanted to do it by illegal means . . . What is overthrowing government by illegal means? It’s a coup; treason; and it’s also treason.”

As we discussed previously, this is a return to the types of politics practiced by the Federalists and Jeffersonians were not just acting like they wanted to kill each other, they were actually trying to kill each other. John Adams was more than eager to use the Alien and Sedition Acts to arrest his opponents and subject them to possible death penalties for political speech. Russian collusion was not a thing but collusion with England (by Federalists) and France (by Jeffersonians) was all the rage as treasonous associations. Indeed, some Federalists referred to the Jeffersonians as “Jacobins” — a reference to French radicals that the English often used as synonymous with traitors.

The Framers sought to limit such accusations.  Article III, Section 3, says “treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” The framers went even further to limit the use of this charge by stipulating that “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

This is not treason or even “close to treason.”  Comey has many allegations to address (and likely will soon face additional allegations with the Durham investigation), but treason is not one of them.  Let’s focus on real legal controversies and leave treason out of it.


68 thoughts on “No, James Comey Did Not Commit Treason”

  1. Pingback: Acts of Treason
  2. Mr. Turley: do you ever get exhausted being the only adult in the room during these debates? Thank you for you sober analysis of both sides.

  3. Marky Mark Mark – I am surprised that after all this time you are finally expanding you cut and paste.

  4. You have also stated previously that the President doesn’t have the right to fire the head of the FBI (Comey). I agree that “treason” doesn’t sound as appropriate in Comey’s case (not as appropriate as “Sedition”), but let’s remember that Giuliani spent much of his time on behalf of Trump diving into the Ukranian involvement of the Obama administration, something you haven’t reckoned with quite yet.

    This “coup” (as Trump’s supporters have called it) involved extensive uses of foreign assets and foreign intelligence agencies to frame individuals like Flynn, Popadopolous, and Carter Page — and used a dossier containing Russian disinformation, all to the benefit of our global enemies, though we are not at war.

    Certainly, it might have involved deals made with foreign entities to commit these seditious domestic political crimes. The spirit of treason is obvious in that respect, and perhaps we’ll find out that Comey did, in fact, “come as close to treason as possible” in the process of sedition; sedition certainly “comes very close” to treason. Both crimes share a common spirit.

  5. Marky Mark Mark – Obama had “access” to the white men, too.

  6. Comey wasn’t working for the Russians? The initial evidence and his mendacious acts seem to point, at least, to undermining the nascent presidency. What do you call that?

  7. Article III, Section 3, says “treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

    The US is, and has been, at War since 9-11.

    They conspired to take out the Commander in Chief, to destroy the duly elected President during Wartime. They took at a 3-Star General National Security Advisor during War!

    This isn’t a theoretical exercise about the meaning of War, we have active combat operations happening around the world.

    Lincoln had the right idea, military commissions, and hang them.

    This goes far, far beyond a political disagreement.

    1. “This isn’t a theoretical exercise about the meaning of War, we have active combat operations happening around the world.”

      So your theory is that James Comey is working for the Taliban?

  8. Professor Turley, wouldn’t you agree that James Comey, and many others in and out of government, are guilty of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115, Section 2384 – Seditious Conspiracy and/or Section 2385 – Advocating Overthrow Of Government?!

  9. Professor Turley, even more egregiously, James Comey et al. committed treason and betrayal against the Constitution and Bill of Rights, according to Merriam Webster.

    Treason by Comey may be inferred by his allies to be at some value of variance with the constitutional description, but it is treason nonetheless.

  10. I had considered this at the time and what I concluded was that Guiliani was technically correct. There are only two questions we need concern ourselves with: Who are “their enemies” and did Comey “adhere”? I would say that those who unlawfully attempt the overthrow of a duly elected president are justly labeled “their enemies” (United States, however discerned)). Also that Comey did in fact “adhere”.to enemies. Is this merely subjective, did this occur perhaps, hypothetically? No.

    I understand what Turley is saying, also that everybody has to extract their daily millions someway, somehow, but I don’t think we can justly criticize Guiliani here. I would also add that preface as “an experienced prosecutor” does not in any way prohibit dismissal as political hyperbole; in fact, that in fact, is precisely what it is. While technically correct – yes, Comey IS a traitor – it is political hyperbole nonetheless.

  11. He may not be a literal traitor, but I sure wouldn’t call Mr. Comey a patriot.


    If weaponizing the Intelligence Services for 8 years continuously, against one’s political enemies is not a capital crime, or at least a 20 years to life crime, then no further proof is needed that this is nothing more than a 3rd world banana republic.

    I generally believe Comey, Mueller, Obungo, et. all shall all get away with literally (the literal meaning, not figurative) tens of thousands of felony illegal data searches solely for political research against persons like Trump (but many others too). But there’s a slim hope and it’s this: Trump is a winner. Winners only exist in the context of losers. IOW Trump needs a loser to win.

    I can only hope and pray that toward the goal of winning, Trump and Barr do indeed besmirch Obungo and utterly grind Biden into rotten hamburger meat (metaphorically), which should be easy considering Biden’s advanced, obvious and undeniable dementia. I hope they get a warrant for Susan Rice, and barge into her bedroom with machine guns, after alerting Fox News, and haul her arse to jail, just like Obungo did to Roger Stone. Even better if it happens to Obungo.

    Obungo richly deserves to go into history as the all time most corrupt POTUS; one expects nothing more or less from a quasi-black Chicagoan “Community Organizer.”

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