A federal judge today asked a prosecutor whether President Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, might be charged with treason. He stated that Flynn had sold his country out and openly lied to the FBI while on the grounds of the White House.
He was angry at Flynn and candidly, he should have been. As a general, as a senior intelligence official, and as a citizen Flynn should have known better. The chorus of partisans who have somehow argued that he was trapped or mistreated by the FBI, were shut down today.
Flynn, didn’t just act as the agent of a despotic govt during the presidential campaign & while serving as national security advisor. He didn’t just lie to the FBI. He also repeatedly sought to undermine the policies of the Obama Admin during the transition – a violation of the law.
He sought to profit from his position and was willing to ignore US national interests and the law in so doing. And throughout he was uncomfortably cozy with a Russian regime that he knew was using covert measures to actively seek to tip the election to Donald Trump.
(He knew that, because we all knew that. Because it was public record. And surely, as a former head of DIA, he knew even more than the average American.)
He did all that while accepting one of the most important jobs in the US government and swearing, again, an oath to the US.
Think back. Not in Iran-Contra nor in Watergate, will you find acts of a similarly high placed official that so betrayed his country and his oath. The prosecutor said in response to the judge that they did not consider charging Flynn with treason.
While the Constitutional definition of treason speaks of aiding and abetting an enemy–and Flynn certainly did that–there are legal technicalities concerning declared wars and more that make it impossible to charge him with that crime.
But while saying he “sold out” America is strong, it is also somehow not enough. What do we call these people–like Trump and Flynn and Manafort and the others in the Trump orbit who sought the help of our enemies to win office, to defraud the American people?
What do we call them who regularly and reflexively lied about their Russian contacts–who clearly therefore knew what they were doing was wrong? What do we call those who put personal profit or power ahead of the interests of the people they were sworn to serve?
It is betrayal. And there is a word for a “person who betrays a friend, a country or a principle.” It is traitor. And whether technically guilty of treason or conspiracy or collusion or not, it is clear that they have betrayed both their country and principles central to our existence. And we must use the term because lesser words do not convey sufficiently the gravity of their wrong-doing. Never in our history have we had an official as senior as Flynn who was a traitor.
But now it is not just him but the president and the circle around him. Traitors. History will treat them and their crimes with contempt. But there is no reason to wait for history to call out them and what have they have done with the proper language.
Traitor and traitors. Betrayers. Criminals. Enemies of America. That’s not hyperbole. That’s what the facts show. And it is high time that they face justice and that they are removed from public life to face the consequences of their crimes.