22 percent of our readers foresee charges of treason. 18 percent aren’t sure what constitutes treason, and 60 percent don’t see any charges in the future.
One of the biggest questions concerning the emails and meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russians is whether Trump Jr., or President Trump himself should or will be prosecuted for treason. Many Americans are waiting to see how the emails and meeting really impacted the election before making their own decisions, but the end results may not matter as much as they think.
In a recent interview, Chief Ethics Lawyer for George W. Bush, Richard Painter, and former Federal Prosecutor and current Professor of Law, Paul Butler, agreed that it isn’t the outcome, but the intent that matters.
Laws Concerning Treason
When it comes to elections, federal law prevents either party from soliciting foreign parties for contributions. In this context, solicitation means anything of value — not necessarily money. If the Trumps were trying to gather information concerning Hillary Clinton in an effort to prevent her from winning the election, and were doing so by approaching foreign parties, that could be grounds for impeachment.
Taking things one step further, if that information was obtained through illegal means such as hacking Clinton’s emails, the legal implications only get more complex and involve charges of treason. In fact, that may be the very thing that any sort of prosecution hinges on.
President Trump’s Involvement
For President Trump himself, it has to be proven that he was in any way involved in obtaining this information. In at least one of the emails, it was noted that the information had been sent to Trump when he was a presidential candidate, but the meeting itself did not include Trump Sr.