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Plans for a Coup d’etat

May 3, 2020

President Trump worries me when he cites some actions as “treason” or “treasonous.”

As Trump uses the  term he means acts or words contrary to his person or policies.  I usually don’t cite The Atlantic in support of arguments, but that is the subject of an essay in the April 11, 2019 edition.

The “treason” clause in the Constitution of the United States (Article III, Section 3) is  quite specific:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. 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.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Under English Common Law, a treasonous act was any act contrary to the king’s will.  The Founders proscribed treason to waging war against the United States or giving “Aid and Comfort” to its enemies and applies only to acts during a time of war.

That loophole, plus Trump’s limited knowledge of the Constitution of the United States, may encourage him to declare Impeachment Proceedings “treasonous.”

Congress must immediately assert that exercise of the Congress’ powers of Impeachment is in keeping with the principle of Congressional Supremacy.

 

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