Trump's Ukraine Call Was 'Treason, Pure and Simple,' President Could be Executed Says GOP Primary Challenger

Republican presidential challenger Bill Weld has labeled President Donald Trump's recent Ukraine call an act of "treason" and noted the penalty for treason is death.

The former governor of Massachusetts, who in April announced he would run against Trump in the 2020 Republican primary election, also told MSNBC's Morning Joe that the president could be removed from office under the U.S. Constitution, claiming that "might look like a pretty good deal" compared to the penalty for treason under the U.S. Code.

Weld made his comments on Monday as the president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have been accused of pressuring the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the leading Democratic 2020 primary challenger Joe Biden.

Trump has now confirmed he raised the topic of Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden during the July phone call with Zelensky after the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that he told the Ukrainian president to work with Giuliani on an investigation into the Bidens "about eight times."

The president has attempted to redirect attention to claims that Biden, while vice president, pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor probing an energy company that was paying his son. But Ukraine's prosecutor general has said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden or his son.

Speaking to Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, Weld said: "[Trump] has now acknowledged that in a single phone call, right after he suspended $250 million of military aid to Ukraine, he called up the president of Ukraine and pressed him eight times to investigate Joe Biden, who the president thinks is going to be running against him.

"Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with, and control, a U.S. election. It couldn't be clearer, and that's not just undermining democratic institutions, that is treason. It's treason, pure and simple. And the penalty for treason, under the U.S. Code, is death.

"The penalty under the Constitution is removal from office, and that might look like a pretty good alternative to the president if he can work out a plea deal."

"That's not just undermining democratic institutions. That is treason. It's treason pure and simple." -- @GovBillWeld

— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) September 23, 2019

Newsweek has contacted the White House for a response to Weld's allegations but has not yet received a response.

The former governor's allegations of treason on Morning Joe follow increased pressure to push for the president's impeachment among Democrats, following revelations about Trump's July 25 call with Zelensky. The call was the subject of a complaint from an unidentified whistleblower.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter on Sunday that the Trump administration would be "entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness" if it kept blocking the whistleblower from making a disclosure to Congress.

Pelosi's comments came after Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet Saturday that the Democratic Party was part of a "bigger national scandal" than Trump because it was not aiming to impeach him.

Joe Biden pushed for the transcript of the Ukraine call to be published on Saturday.

President Trump has since said he will consider releasing the transcripts, according to Politico.