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. Wow: Seth Warner, By The Book, et. al are going to have a heck trying to disagree with Mr. Turley on this one. If JT is always wrong, that would me Mr. Giuliani is correct?? Maybe they’ll spare us, and not post to this particular thread.

    One can always hope.

    1. Is to “disagree” with Turley a mortal sin? What punishment is due those who “disagree?” Burn them at the stake? Draw and quarter them?

      Are you a spoilt 12 year old? Such is your logic.

      Turley may be right on treason, but “sedition” is not even a stretch.

      1. Of course it is not a sin (mortal or otherwise) to disagree with anyone. Your strawman punishments are rather “spoilt 12 year old […] logic.” in their own right.

        Mr. Warner and BtB are long time posters on this site who seem to live for the moment when Mr. Turley publishes a new post…just so they can take the contrary position. They do this. All. The. Time. I have nevrer–and I do mean, never– seen them agree with any single stance of Turley’s, yet they seem oddly compelled to post their disfavor with anything and everything he says. Indeed , it’s almost as if they cannot think for themselves and *NEED* Mr. Turley to post just so they know exactly what they oppose (if’n he’s fer it, I must be a’gin it!).

        That is the context of my comments.

        We do seem to agree that the least difficult case to prove would be sedition.

  2. BETRAYAL OF TRUST

    In similar fashion to the development of Articles of Impeachment, officials may be creative.

    Clearly, Merriam Webster knows that James Comey et al. committed treason.
    _____________________________________________________________

    treason noun

    trea·​son | \ ˈtrē-zᵊn
    \
    Definition of treason

    1 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family

    2 : the betrayal of a trust
    ____________________

    Treason and high treason, aka treason in and/or of high office, has taken various forms historically.

    Certainly, conduct of the Obama Coup D’etat in America, by any and all participants, co-conspirators, accomplices and accessories, would have been considered treason in Great Britain (i.e. the United Kingdom) in the not-too-distant past.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    “Under the law of the United Kingdom, high treason is the crime of disloyalty to the Crown. Offences constituting high treason include plotting the murder of the sovereign; committing adultery with the sovereign’s consort, with the sovereign’s eldest unmarried daughter, or with the wife of the heir to the throne; levying war against the sovereign and adhering to the sovereign’s enemies, giving them aid or comfort; and attempting to undermine the lawfully established line of succession. Several other crimes have historically been categorised as high treason, including counterfeiting money and being a Catholic priest.[1]”

    – Wiki

  3. When you have someone like Trump who is so indefensibly unfit for the office he cheated to get, who is consistently failing in such a spectacular way, and when you can’t explain away the 18,000 or so lies he’s told so far, and when pivoting to blame someone else doesn’t work any more, the only thing you can do to defend this creature is to attack those who try to do something about the lying and cheating–the media, patriotic members of law enforcement–accusing them of being in a “deep state conspiracy” to “bring down this president”. I nearly puke every time I head one of the Fox pundits call this TV performer “this president”.

    There is not, and never will be, any “lawfulness” to Trump’s occupation of our White House. He is not, and never will be, viewed as legitimate. He does not belong in the White House. He cheated, with Russia’s help, in spreading lies about his opponent, and his campaign colluded with Russian hackers to direct them where the lies would sway enough votes to get the Electoral College plurality he needed, despite losing the popular vote. If anyone is treasonous, it is Trump. He lies every single day. He is impeached because he tried to leverage our tax money that our lawfully-elected Congressional representatives appropriated for military aid to help out in his campaign. Forty-eight U.S. Senators voted to remove him from office. He will go down in infamy, just like he deserves.

    1. So, you’re saying you *agree* with Mr. Turley…..right?

      Truly strange times in the kingdom.

    2. Natacha – speaking of cheating and lies, we still don’t have your BMI, GRE and LSAT scores.

    3. Natacha – Trump failing? – really you and yours didn’t win any of your coup attempts and are failing to keep your sanity as you cling to your delusions. You come across as majorly sore losers. And to think people were suggesting it would be Trump, not Clinton who would refuse to accept the results of the election.

      You say “ his campaign colluded with Russian hackers to direct them where the lies would sway enough votes. Can you provide any evidence of this collusion or what “lies” they hacked?

  4. Well, would Comey not be more inclined to be charged with Sedition against the lawfully elected government of the United States??
    A felony with up to 20 years of imprisonment if found guilty.

    1. See, effer, when you’re talking about Comey, which is ancient history, you’re not talking about Trump, his lying, the number of daily new cases and deaths, the bad economy, and Trump’s dismal polling numbers. It’s all a pivot. Just like Trumpy Bear accusing President Obama of committing crimes.

      1. “…effer…?”

        Seriously?

        Them’s fightin’ words!
        __________________

        NUTCHACHA, you would do well to confine yourself to the pen.

        Your attempt to project the power to “strike fear in the hearts of men” with your sword is delightful and charming but futile.

    1. War is underway. And not with Russia but with the PRC and its Chicom leadership

      This war will end either with civil war in China or the US. That’s how this one will play out. Cassandra has spoken

      1. March 20, 2020

        “Two months ago, January 20, 2020 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Communist People’s Republic of China.

        “The United States was at peace with that nation and, wittingly or unwittingly, through criminal dereliction and negligence and attempting to obtain the cloak of plausible deniability, the People’s Republic of China released on the world the COVID-19 biological weapon.

        “China has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the World. The Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy has directed his entire Cabinet that all measures be taken for the defense of the United States.

        “With confidence in the United States Center For Disease Control and with the unbounding determination of the American people the Untied States will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God.

        “Congress must declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by China on January 20, 2020, a state of war has existed between the United States and China.”

        – President Donald J. Trump

    2. So true.

      The co-conspirators in the Obama Coup D’etat in America constituted the enemy and commenced acts of sedition against the duly elected president and, therefore, government of the United States, “…levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

  5. “Indeed, some Federalists referred to the Jeffersonians as “Jacobins” — a reference to French radicals that the English often used as synonymous with traitors.”
    *****************************

    It’s not treason but it might be “sedition” which is defined as:

    “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.” 18 USC Sec. 2384.

    Most commenters feel that the sine qua non of the statute is “by force.” It’s interesting to note that the “by force” clause is disjoined by the word “or” from the phrase “conspire to overthrow.”

    Maybe old Richmonder John Marshall can help here:

    “The rule that penal laws are to be construed strictly, is
    perhaps not much less old than construction itself. It is
    founded on the tenderness of the law for the rights of
    individuals; and on the plain principle that the power of
    punishment is vested in the legislative, not in the judicial
    department. It is the legislature, not the Court, which is to
    define a crime, and ordain its punishment.”

    ~U.S. v. Wiltberger, 18 U.S. 76, 95 (1820) (analyzing whether statute’s language of
    “on the high seas” granted federal court jurisdiction over manslaughter committed on a
    ship anchored in a river).

    So given this pack of Jacobins, I’d give it a shot.

    1. “…conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States,…”

      – 18 USC Sec. 2384
      ________________

      “…force of his character…”

      “capacity to persuade or convince the force of the argument”

      Merriam Webster
      force noun

      \ ˈfȯrs
      \
      Definition of force

      1

      a (1) : strength or energy exerted or brought to bear : cause of motion or change : active power – “the forces of nature” – “the motivating force in her life”

      (2) capitalized —used with a number to indicate the strength of the wind according to the Beaufort scale – “a Force 10 hurricane”

      b : moral or mental strength I was impressed by the force of his character.

      c : capacity to persuade or convince – “the force of the argument”
      ____________________________________________________

      “This court is adjourned.”

  6. True it did not rise to Treason. Just a collection of garden variety crimes the worst of which was misprision of office and uttering a false document (or by speech) and conspiring with others to commit a crime. Which of course makes him a candidate for being charged under the RICO act.

    The worst was that charade to get Clinton off the hook by lying about the ‘intent’ defense as in that same set of National Security laws one part, most often use to jail people like the Navy guy it clearly removes ‘intent’ as a required element. Comey is just a garden variety criminal who in fact by his act of planning and carrying that out DID commit a felony.

    the rest of them Strzok etc are much the same.

  7. If Emmet Sullivan thought Flynn’s actions were treasonable, then certainly Comey’s are treasonable. For goodness sake, he has co-conspirators.

  8. Mr. Turley,

    You may be right that it legally isn’t treason but for so long people like Comey have been getting away with things and no one has called them on it that to a lot of people not in the D.C. environment it is in spirit one hundred percent treason. People like Comey are betraying the ideas behind the United States.

    People are frustrated. They see people in the federal government in D.C. who seemingly can do whatever and never pay a price. That’s where the charges of treason come from.

    1. So is Seditious Conspiracy: “18 U.S. Code § 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.”

      When high officials in the FBI and Obama administration conspired to have Michael Plynn arrested because he was doing his job (and thus enforcing government policy), they were using implicit and explicit force against Flynn for purely political and illegitimate ends.

      As the late Nixon critic Nat Hentoff asked, “Why hasn’t Obama been impeached?”

  9. Prof Turley,

    With all due respect, people can play whatever legalese word salad games they wish, treason, traitors, etc. but at the end of the day when people like the Traitors Obama, Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Brennan, etc, open up live fire against the rest of us Americans there will likely “be most people justified some sort of defensive fire returned.”

    We the people do/have put up with to much crap already, Sorry, so sad, they’ve lost! Now they need to get Lost!
    I’m thinking…. lol

    What is it they hate the American people so bad because we are the only people left in the world with a small amount of Freedom from the tyranny of govts???

    1. Will you read what’s said on these comment boards? Democratic voters who pay attention are perfectly happy with the conduct of these crooks. Other Democratic voters are not paying attention and have only idle and stupid things to say about public affairs. This isn’t the 5% v. the rest of us. It’s more like 12% vs. about 1/2 of us, with another 35% part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

      1. Having once considered myself a “Democrat in the classical liberal sense as Thomas Jefferson/Madison/etc…” Today I do not in the least consider any hiding under the democratic banner anything other then Progressive Commie/Fascist/Authoritarian American Hating Human Scum that needs to displace themselves from the rest of us.

        1. My dad was a JFK Democrat. He voted for the party his parents did, and his immigrant grandparents did. He voted a straight Democrat ticket, with a little variation on the most local level, from 1944 to 2008. He was a Truman guy, based on his parents’ love of FDR, an Adlai Stevenson guy, a JFK guy, and a Clinton guy. He enjoyed using the Reagan quote, “I didn’t leave the Democrat party, the Democrat party left me,” John McCain was the first Republican he voted for president. Even though he wasn’t a “big political guy”, the trajectory of the Democrat party troubled him. I have to imagine that the Democrats of the day would embarrass him even more than the 2008 version that led him to what was for him a seismic transformation.

  10. There is a difference between treason, as narrowly defined by the Constitution, and treason as broadly defined by common usage. Here is another example of the latter by Merriam-Webster:
    ———-
    treason noun

    trea·​son | \ ˈtrē-zᵊn
    \
    Definition of treason

    1 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family
    2 : the betrayal of a trust : treachery
    ——————–
    It was pretty obvious to me that Rudy was speaking in the broader sense.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. The problem is Rudy cited his position as an “experienced prosecutor”. He did so, presumably, to give give the impression he was speaking from a position of legal authority on what treason is.

  11. These guys need to dial it back. Treason is defined in the Constitution itself and such a charge cannot be sustained except in wartime.

    No clue about the federal criminal code. The New York Penal law allows a prosecutor to charge a public official with ‘official misconduct’, which covers malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance in office. The FISA applications and the doctoring of the 302 forms might also fall under the lesser offenses associated with perjury. It would be agreeable if analogous offenses were defined in the federal code. The conduct of Sztrok, Page, McCabe, Comey, Yates, Brennan, Clapper, Van Grack et al was certainly criminal in a literary sense if not a precisely legal sense. Ditto Schiff, a sociopath you likely cannot touch with the law. Short prison terms, time on parole, loss of any franchise to work for the federal government, disbarment, loss of a franchise to work in any licensed occupation which has a character-and-fitness screen, and loss of that portion of their pension which is derived from cross subsidies out of the Treasury would be appropriate.

  12. The comments on this thread have become disturbing, angry, and sometimes almost incoherent. It used to be a legal thread.

    1. “Disturbingly angry” is progtrashspeak for what ordinary people would understand as ‘seek to hold Democrats in the apparat responsible for their misconduct’. In the progtrash mind, that’s a no-no.

    2. “The comments on this thread have become disturbing, angry, and sometimes almost incoherent. It used to be a legal thread.”

      Justice, Maybe you should look carefully at your own words “Trump doesn’t care who dies. The charge should be depraved heart murder!” That comment sounds disturbing, angry and almost incoherent.

      “we have met the enemy and he is us.” __Pogo

  13. In a broader sense, Rudy Giuliani is correct:
    ————–
    trea·son
    /ˈtrēzən/

    the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.
    “they were convicted of treason”
    h
    Similar:
    treachery

    lese-majesty
    disloyalty
    betrayal
    faithlessness
    perfidy
    perfidiousness
    duplicity
    infidelity
    sedition
    subversion
    mutiny
    rebellion
    high treason
    Punic faith

    Origin
    Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French treisoun, from Latin traditio(n- ) ‘handing over’, from the verb tradere .

    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=treason
    ————–
    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  14. If the Steele Dossier was intentional Russian misinformation with the goal of influencing our election against Trump, and the FBI and DOJ knowingly and willingly fulfilled that objective by leaking it prior to the election, using it to spy on the Trump campaign with the purpose of derailing it, and continued to use it as a basis for a goal of impeachment of a duly elected POTUS, then isn’t that “adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort”?

  15. I think with Comey, eave TREASON in the charges, let him defend this with all the other charges. He did this to so many, ruined them with crazy charges and etc. Why not let Comey suffer, he deserves it.

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