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News Posted on July 14, 2017

What About Claims of Treason Against Trump Campaign? Professor Larson Comments for NPR

Professor Carlton Larson appeared in media including National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Vice, offering commentary and analysis concerning the potential for the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to result in treason charges.

Speaking on Morning Edition, Professor Larson explained that the U.S. Constitution defines treason “exceptionally narrowly.” It is treason “to aid the enemies of the United States,” he said, “and enemies has a very specific definition under historic treason law, and that is a nation that is at war with the United States …. And that is not the situation we are in with Russia.”

Nevertheless, Larson, who is writing a book about treason and the American Revolution, said he understands why numerous commentators have invoked treason in describing the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion. “Coordinating with a foreign government to interfere in American elections is fundamentally wrong, deeply un-American, and, as noted, almost certainly illegal under a variety of federal statutes,” Larson writes in an essay published by the Washington Post. In many other countries, this conduct would “be obviously treason, no questions asked.”

Carlton Larson's research interests focus on constitutional law and legal history, with a strong emphasis on the 18th century.