This should be the season of betrayal.
At the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon, President Trump gave a lesson on US justice to the South Korean president visiting the city. Speaking about Mueller's investigation and its origins, Trump said, "That's really treason."
That was not improbable. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the investigation was a "treacherous betrayal" and that "what Democrats are doing with the border is TREASONOUS." On the same day, he embarked on Marine One, reaffirmed what the Democrats and Justice Department officials did at Mueller. probe "was treason."
On April 6, he declared that "it is time for the perpetrators to begin to defend their dishonest and traitorous acts." He added an injunction associated with the Holocaust: "Never forget!"
This has become routine. Trump told Fox News's Sean Hannity: "It was really a betrayal. … You're talking about bigger and bigger betrayal. "Is less betrayal one thing?
Trump publicly invoked "betrayal" or "betrayal" on 26 occasions, according to the Factba.se compilation of Trump's statements. This is beyond several and various "treacherous" references. He began by accusing Bowe Bergdahl, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, then including Univision executives and Macy's, Republicans who did not support him, Democratic lawmakers who did not applaud him, the failed New York Times. and Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, James Abadin, James Comey, James Clapper, Rod J. Rosenstein, Robert Mueller, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
The Constitution specifically says that treason "will consist only in waging war against" the United States "or in joining its enemies, giving them aid and comfort," and requires two witnesses. The US Criminal Code requires those guilty of treason "to suffer death or be imprisoned for not less than five years."
Strict definition and severe punishment make cases of treason rare: only about 30 in US history. Trump must know this, because he has promised to protect all 12 articles of the Constitution, even if he has only seven. He seemed to recognize the seriousness of the charge of treason when he was raised against him. "When they say" betrayal, "you know what betrayal is? That's Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for giving the atomic bomb, "he said in 2017. (Actually, the charge was a conspiracy to commit espionage.)
As Trump knows the seriousness of the accusation, he must be interpreting treachery the way King Henry VIII did, in the Greater-Thie sense: betrayal is anything that offends the dignity of the sovereign. Disagreement with Trump is an offense against the state, just as Henry executed unfaithful wives for treason.
This means that the following people committed capital crimes: All journalists and hosts at dawn. Anyone who leaks. All Democratic members of Congress and people working in Democratic administrations. Anyone who ran against Trump. Anyone who criticizes Trump in social media. Someone who voted against Trump.
That means that 65,853,514 Hillary Clinton voters will have to be arrested or executed. The US criminal justice system can not handle much more than the 2.3 million people it already owns.
This unfortunately argues for mass execution – unless exile is a possibility? Imagine the size of this caravan going south toward Mexico.
In the beginning, Trump was relatively contained in his talk of betrayal. He even criticized Kim Jong Un's liberal use of the charge of treason. (Trump now calls Kim "friend.") He started applying the label more to Mueller's investigation and to the FBI in 2018. He ruled that "leakers are traitors" and said the critical coverage of his conversations with Kim was "He almost said that an anonymous writer and the New York Times committed treason. He said the Democrats who did not applaud in his State of the Union address were "non-Americans." Someone said, "traitor."
Democrats continue to commit treason by disagreeing with Trump on immigration, although most of the current betrayal is committed by justice. An image that Trump retweeted in November, showing various law enforcement officials and former senior law enforcement officers (incwuding Trump's nominee, Rosenstein) behind de bars, asked, "When do de judgments for treason begin?"
Trump's new attorney general, William Barr, has fueled Trump's paranoia. His statement last week that police were "spying" on Trump's campaign provoked a new shout of betrayal.
During their confirmation hearings, Barr said that "Barr and Muellers were good friends and would be good friends when that was all over." Maybe they can remember his friendship while Mueller waits his turn on the gallows.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.