The editor of a liberal online publication is claiming that President-elect Donald Trump is "in the neighborhood" of committing treason by siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his decision not to eject U.S. diplomats.
"Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always new he was very smart!" Trump tweeted Friday, praising the Russian president's decision to reject his own foreign minister's recommendation to expel the diplomats.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1483126893.0
The post came just hours after Putin stunned the world by not continuing to engage in the U.S. and Russia's recent "tit-for-tat" Cold War-like actions. The Obama administration on Thursday announced new sanctions against Russia, including the closing of two of its U.S. intelligence compounds, as well as the ejection of 35 Russian intelligence operatives currently in the country.
It didn't take long for Judd Legum, an editor at the liberal blog ThinkProgress, to pounce on the president-elect's most recent public statement.
"I don't think Trump committed treason with this tweet, but he's in the neighborhood," Legum tweeted.
I don't think Trump committed treason with this tweet, but he's in the neighborhood https://t.co/SFErJLBlnH— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1483128491.0
Legum then cited official 18 U.S. code 2381, which defines 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.
The provocative post prompted a reply from one of Legum's fellow liberal journalists, Daily Beast politics reporter Olivia Nuzzi, who encouraged Legum to "take it down like one or two notches."
Legum, though, doubled down by pointing out that Trump was "siding with an enemy over the U.S., which is a component of treason."
@Olivianuzzi I said it wasn't treason. But he is siding with an enemy over the U.S., which is a component of treason— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1483130685.0