Former Assistant Secretary of State and international human rights expert John Shattuck said this week that President-elect Donald Trump must welcome a thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election because the questions it raises leave him vulnerable to charges of treason. “A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump,” Shattuck wrote in the Boston Globe
. “He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”
With evidence piling up that forces within Russia worked to tip the election in Trump’s favor, Shattuck said that it’s unwise for Trump to bat aside the accusations as if they’re unimportant.
Shattuck — who was appointed by Pres. Bill Clinton and currently serves as a professor of diplomacy at the Fletcher Center of Law and Diplomacy and as a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy — quoted the director of U.S. Cyber Command Admiral Mike Rogers.
“This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance,” Rogers said. “This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
“There are several possible explanations for Trump’s position” in avoiding an investigation, said Shattuck. “They are not mutually exclusive.”
In each of these scenarios, the president-elect is engaging in behaviors that fall under the definition of treason, Shattuck wrote, which is committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who…adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort.” The crime of misprision of treason is committed by a person “having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose.”