*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
For too long in America the idea of patriotism, and indeed, national security was claimed as the sole property of the Republican Party. And although it has never been true in the past, it is certainly a fallacy today in 2016. Over the course of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, Republicans have shown their allegiance to America is often secondary to the interest of our allies. Today, by virtue of the Republican Party’s fascist standard bearer, it appears that there has been a monumental shift in their allegiance away from our allies to the country’s main geopolitical rival, Russia. This is inherently true for most Republicans who are terrified of standing up to a reality television celebrity and calling out his devotion to the former Soviet Union; a devotion that not long ago would have garnered an accusation of high treason.
Now, there are some who claim that Republican presidential candidate and avowed fascist Donald Trump was “only” requesting hackers who might be Russians to commit espionage on an American citizen, but they are Republican liars. Trump specifically called on his BFFs under Vladimir Putin’s control to commit cyber espionage on American soil. He said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Notice that Trump didn’t call on hackers to commit espionage on an American citizen, he specifically summoned “Russia,” the government and as many shocked Americans have noted, he likely committed a felony, and treason, by violating the Logan Act.
As the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack said, Trump could have violated the Logan Act which prohibits Americans from “siding with the enemy.”
“That’s a no-no. You can’t do that. That’s not legal, that’s not right. Yesterday, Donald Trump sided with Russia and not with us.”
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) also believes Trump violated the Logan Act. The Missouri senator said,
“The notion he would invite a foreign nation to conduct an attack against our country, it’s just beyond the pale. And I believe it violates the Logan Act and he should be investigated for that.”
The Logan Act (1799) was enacted specifically to prevent private citizens from interfering with U.S. government business by negotiating directly with hostile governments. Trump was certainly reaching out to a government hostile to America calling on “Russia,” and not simply hackers that might be Russians. He specifically called out, “Hey Russia” and not “hey hackers.” He is just too full of his own hubris to comprehend that Americans may be stupid, but they aren’t so stupid as to not see a deliberate outreach to a hostile foreign government.
There is already strong evidence that the cyber-spies who illegally hacked the DNC were in fact agents of Vladimir Putin’s government. And, an independent investigation found the cyber-spies used the Russia-based Elite VPN service to communicate and leak documents directly with the media. “This discovery strengthened [the private group ThreatConnect’s] ongoing assessment that [the cyber-spy] is part of an elaborate Russian propaganda effort and not an independent actor.” Whether Trump knew about Putin’s propaganda machine is unclear as of yet, but even if he didn’t, he still likely violated the Logan Act, and it is different than the previous two times Republicans in Congress came precariously close to committing a felony.
Remember when then-Speaker of the House John Boehner went behind the President’s back, and far outside of normal diplomatic channels, to call on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress and lobby against American involvement in a United Nations deal with Iran, many pundits accused him of violating the Logan Act. Of course nothing happened because Republicans control Congress and claimed Boehner was simply appealing to a close ally to interfere in American foreign policy.
Not long after Boehner’s seemingly treasonous action, a group of 47 Republican senators led by neo-conservative warmonger Senator Tom Cotton (R-ARK) signed on to a letter to the Supreme Council of Iran informing them that America was deceitful and would not honor its commitments in the nuclear agreement. Once again there were suggestions that the GOP senators were guilty of violating the Logan Act and again nothing happened; because they were acting on behalf of America’s ally, Israel.
Now though, the leader of the Republican Party, and a man indebted to Russian oligarchs intricately connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is being accused of violating the Logan Act. It remains to be seen if anything will happen to Trump, but there can be no doubt that in calling for a foreign government, and America’s chief geopolitical rival, to commit espionage against the interest of the United States government, Trump violated the Logan Act.
That being the case, Trump needs to be investigated, indicted, and charged with a felony for being a traitor to America and willing actor on behalf of the Russian government and its leader Vladimir Putin. And yes, Trump has signaled that if elected he will act and govern according to the demands of Vladimir Putin to advance the interests of America’s chief geopolitical rival. Remember, Putin hates NATO, so Trump dutifully pledges to step away and not honor its commitment to defend our allies. Putin also hates that Russia was hit with several sanctions for its invasion and annexation of part of Ukraine. Again, Trump dutifully pledged to Putin that if elected he will unilaterally remove the international sanctions against Russia and give Putin official American permission to annex Crimea.
The Clinton campaign’s senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said:
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
Now what remains is to wait and see how many patriotic Republicans step up and call for an investigation into Trump’s apparent collusion with a hostile foreign government. They are, so they claim, super-patriots most concerned with national security and holding America’s enemies in check, but they have been silent. It means they either support Trump’s allegiance to a hostile foreign government and America’s chief geopolitical rival, or are no more American patriots than Vladimir Putin; common sense and logic informs they are frightened of crossing Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin making them cowards as much as Donald Trump is pro-Russia.