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Trump's act of treason

Trump's act of treason
Bill Bramhall editorial cartoon about Donald Trump's summit with Vladmir Putin. (Bill Bramhall/New York Daily News)

Those who termed President Donald Trump's behavior last week shameful are right — but to stop there understates the seriousness of what happened (“Trump’s treason, confirmed,” July 20). The U.S. Constitution in Article III Section 3 states in part, “Treason against the United States, shall consist ... 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 Act ...”. The American Heritage Dictionary further defines treason as “the betrayal of one's own country ... by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.”

The U.S.'s top intelligence advisers have concluded that the Russian dictatorship is our enemy and even Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that Russia is “not our ally” and “remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.”

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Over the past five years, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has grabbed the Crimea, established a foothold in the independent state of Ukraine, turned the Syrian strife into a victory for Bashar Assad (another U.S. enemy), and has, through cyber-warfare, worked to have Mr. Trump elected president. A nice string of wins — and, clearly, Russia is our enemy! No matter how President Trump has ignored, denied, and now halfheartedly acknowledged Russian meddling in American politics (he can't get his story straight), he threw the U.S. under the bus in Helsinki.

Before not just two witnesses but millions watching and listening to the joint press conference in Finland, Mr. Trump groveled and made his views clear: he takes Mr. Putin's “powerful” denial of meddling as true over anything national intelligence director Dan Coats and his team have warned him about. Now, compounding his treasonous statements (and, by the way, keeping secret what he and Mr. Putin discussed behind closed doors), Mr. Trump announces that he has invited the Russian dictator to the White House in the fall.

Such a meeting, on our soil, would be a further insult to the U.S. and must not be allowed to happen. As willing as President Trump was to believe North Korea's Kim Jong Un, he will likely be charmed into overlooking Mr. Putin's continuing interference in American democratic processes (they are ongoing) and the possible occupation of the whole of Ukraine and, perhaps next, of the Baltic states which have felt threatened. Mr. Trump cannot be permitted to host Mr. Putin, who has lied, ordered killings, rigged his own re-election, trampled human right within his nation, and now uses cyber-warfare to influence Americans' opinions.

It's past time for some backbone here. President Trump's own people can't control him and the objective media pitch him mostly softball questions, failing to focus on his actions that betray and embarrass our nation. The president has revealed his true stripes which violate his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Now, members of Congress — and more than a few need to let their conscience override lip service to this president — must quash White House plans for the follow-up meeting here with Mr. Putin. Beyond that, proceedings for impeachment can and should begin.

Bruce Knauff, Towson

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