For the 24th time in his presidency, Donald Trump is using the word “treason,” and this time the target is the free press and a major American newspaper. The president didn’t like a New York Times story that alleged, “The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.”
After reading (or hearing about the article) Trump accused the paper of treason. The New York Times took the rare step of responding to the accusation. Here’s the back and forth.
Trump went on to say, “Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
From The Daily Beast:
“The Times report relied on three-months worth of interviews with several current and former government officials, who described the deployment of American computer code into Russia’s electrical power grid in a move meant partly as a warning to Russian intelligence and partly as a pre-emptive strike in case of a cyberattack. Trump himself reportedly granted new authorities to the United States Cyber Command last year, and is also said to have personally signed off on an operation to take Russian internet troll farm Internet Research Agency offline during the 2018 midterm elections.“
As Axios reports, treason against the United States is a crime that is punishable by death.
The big picture: Trump has most frequently used “treason” or “treasonous” to describe the investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia, which he has claimed are politically motivated. He has also used the term to attack Democrats for their policies on immigration and various media outlets for reporting on his administration.