Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe drew the ire of social media commentators after casually suggesting that Tucker Carlson be branded an “enemy” of the United States and treated accordingly. Tribe’s implication is that Carlson and many members of the Republican Party should be tried for treason for opposing Biden’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine situation.
“Led by Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, the GOP’s Trump wing appears to be throwing its weight behind Putin. If Putin opts to wage war on our ally, Ukraine, such ‘aid and comfort’ to an ‘enemy’ would appear to become ‘treason’ as defined by Article III of the U.S. Constitution,” Tribe wrote Monday morning in a now-deleted tweet.
According to Article III, Section 3 of the United State’s Constitution, treason is defined as follows:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
While targeting his tweet at Carlson, who has dedicated numerous segments urging the United States not to intervene in matters some 8,000 miles away, while the situation at the U.S-Mexico border continues to deteriorate — along with a host of other problems local to the United States.
“Is [intervention in Ukraine] what Republican voters want?” Carlson asked in a segment earlier this month. “Let’s see. If you asked them, they’d probably say ‘Well, why don’t we send as much military equipment to the Texas border as we’ve sent to the Russian border?’ If someone said that out loud, then maybe the entire country could assess how grotesque Washington’s priorities are.”
Carlson has also made fun of U.S. media personalities for their simple-minded takes on the geopolitical situations in Eastern Europe. In a monologue, Carlson said “If you’re not terrified about the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the [the media’s] question is, ‘whose side are you on here? Whose side are you on?'”
He added: “And we know [the media’s] answer to that question: ‘you’re on Vladimir Putin’s side.'” Carlson then joked that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was a Russian agent, but that he could relate, “because as you know if you watch the media, we’re agents of Putin too.” Carlson then played a compilation of clips from mainstream media calling him a “propagandist,” “dangerous,” and “committed to tearing down American embrace and support…of the world’s democracies.”
“Let’s be clear about what the terms are,” Carlson said. “In the United States…if you raise any questions about the wisdom of siding, in a war in eastern Europe, with one country over another, you are, by definition, an agent of the single greatest threat to democracy on this globe, Mr. Vladimir Putin himself. You’re treasonous.”
Social media commentators said that Tribe has simply gone too far in painting Carlson as a traitor to the U.S. and that there is no constitutional argument to bring treason charges against him or any other commentator.
“This is completely false. Constitutional text, history, and precedent say this is false. It’s not even in the same ballpark as the truth,” said The Dispatch Senior Editor David French in response.
“Please be advised that any questioning of US policy or the prevailing US narrative during this sensitive time constitutes the crime of treason, according to Harvard Law Professor @tribelaw,” wrote left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald. “Treason is punishable by death, so it’s probably best to tread *very* carefully.”
“Fffs, this is sad and ridiculous,” The Dispatch Editor-in-Chief Jonah Goldberg added.
When even Biden’s biggest supporters say you’ve gone too far, then clearly you’ve gone too far.
The Harvard professor tried to walk back his comments following the verbal thrashing, by insisting that he did not mean to use the word treason in a literal sense. “Sorry if I misled you,” he said.