America is slowly awakening to the fact that we are awash in treason. If we go by the word’s standard definition – a traitor being someone “attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance” – then pretty much every Republican who isn’t Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger is a literal traitor. Any Republican not actively working to remove “The Big Lie” from Republican thinking – “The Big Lie” being a vehicle for treason – is therefore a traitor. After all, the whole point of the lie is to “justify” overthrowing the results of a free and fair election – the bedrock of our democracy. To overthrow an election you lost is a criminal act and everyone not actively opposing it is a collaborator in that act. For the moment, let’s think of the January 6 insurrection and everyone who plotted it, enabled it, arranged it, financed it or carried it out in any way, shape or form as “domestic traitors”.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump – and the Republican Party – continue their “odd relationship” with Russia and, in particular, with Vladimir Putin. The fact that Trump and pretty much the entire GOP have an “odd relationship” with Russia to begin with – that’s “odd”. I’m old enough to remember when a Republican would view anyone with an “odd relationship with Russia” like they were a criminal (or worse, a traitor) but, hey, IOKIYAR (It’s OKay If You’re A Republican) apparently.
While the “odd relationship” started way earlier than the 2016 election, the 2016 election is when that odd relationship suddenly became “a thing”. I hope we learn some day how deeply involved Russia was in helping Trump cut through his Republican competition for the nomination like a hot knife through soft butter. Not that any of Trump’s competition really presented much competition. The GOP bench has exactly zero talent on it. As for traitors?
On June 25, 2016 – with their nominating convention fast approaching – with Trump being their nominee-to-be – current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy strode into a meeting of GOP leaders and announced: “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!”. No one at that meeting questioned that fact! There was “nervous laughter” – which prompted McCarthy to add the “Swear to God!” He wanted the rest of the GOP leaders in the room to believe him! He wanted them to understand that he wasn’t making it up that the man they were all about to nominate to be President of the United States was, going into the job, a grave national security threat to the very government he was trying to run. That is the stone cold fact every Republican leader in that room accepted – that Trump wasn’t just a “normal nominee”. He was compromised before he walked in the door – not just by anyone, but by Russia – a country everyone in that room knew was at cyber war with us.
On July 27, 2016 – a day before the Republican National Convention began, Donald Trump said “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” He said that with the entire GOP leadership KNOWING that Russia was likely to listen to Trump since – as they all knew – “Putin pays Trump”! In other words – On July 27, 2016, when Donald Trump addressed Russia, in addition to any other crime he was committing, he was committing treason. And everyone in Republican leadership KNEW IT.
I’m going to repeat this again because, it is the bottom line: the Republican Party knew for a fact that Donald Trump posed a grave national security threat before they nominated him. Even after Trump directly addressed Russia – and asked them for campaign assistance BEFORE THEY NOMINATED HIM, the Republican Party refused to change course. The GOP nominated Trump knowing he was a traitor.
See something? SAY something. See something, say nothing? We need to know why. And we need to know why not a single Republican – to this day – has ever acknowledged what the Republican leadership knew before they made Trump their standard bearer. That they made him their standard bearer KNOWING he was a traitor? That instantly attached TREASON to the GOP brand.
That treasonous co-branding has simmered at a low boil since 2016. It’s about to explode from its cooking vessel and destroy the whole kitchen. All those Republicans who’ve cozied up to Russia since Trump, have gotten away with it because we’re not at “literal war” with Russia – “literal war” being the old fashioned way of defining “war”. Alas, anyone who still thinks wars demand bombs and bullets to fly before it’s a real “war” is going to lose every war they ever wage going forward. If Russia could figure out how to crash our entire power grid today, they’d do it. And we might be compelled – as we sit in the dark – to sue for peace as that quick cyber war’s losers. Bombs and bullets fired: zero. And yet a war will have been won.
If Russia invades the Ukraine – and engages us in a hot war – then all the fuzziness of a cyber war instantly falls away. We’ll be left with America (and patriotic Americans) on one side and pro-Russian traitors on the other. Guys like Mitch McConnell will have to explain their coziness with guys like Oleg Deripaska – who was sanctioned by our government for his involvement in helping skew the 2016 election to Trump but whose sanctions Mitch got lifted in trade for an aluminum factory in Kentucky that never got built! The Moscow Eight (who dined in Moscow on July 4, 2018 as Vlad Putin’s guests) will have to divulge what treason they promised between the ice cold vodka shots and the fresh-as-can-be borscht.
“Treason” is a mighty big concept. To call someone a traitor is to cast them from the group – forever. We understand – as social creatures – that betrayal burns hot because it undermines our sense of security. Whether we’re a country or just a baseball team, the last thing we want is one of us stealing our signals and giving them to the team that’s trying to beat us.
America will have its “treason moment” where we realize full on just how deeply one of our two political parties went off the deepest part of the deep end. But the acts of treason themselves won’t have started at the moment we realize they happened. Those acts started happening before Donald Trump was president. They happened in the lead up to that event.
For the Republican Party, their “Treason Moment” started the moment they chose to keep that secret from America – that “Putin pays Trump”.