What is Treason? Donald Trump Faces Accusations, Trolling From Dictionary.com, After Defending Putin

President Donald Trump faced accusations of treason after a press conference alongside Vladimir Putin, in which he repeatedly refused to criticize the Russian president and instead cast doubt on the unanimous findings of his own intelligence community.

Among those lambasting Trump was former CIA Director John Brennan, who said the performance from the United States president was “nothing short of treasonous.”

Meanwhile, Abby Huntsman, a Fox News host and daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman, said that “no negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”

Soon after the press conference, which was also criticized by some leading Republicans, the word “treason” was trending on Twitter.

The definition of “treason,” according to Merriam-Webster, is “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family.”

A secondary definition is “the betrayal of trust.”

Dictionary.com, meanwhile, appeared to make a pointed statement about Trump’s performance. Shortly after the president's press conference in Helsinki, the website tweeted out definitions of both “patriot” and “traitor.”

“Patriot: A person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

"Traitor: A person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.,” the tweet read.

In U.S. federal law, "treason" is defined as "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere." 

The summit between Trump and Putin came just three days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 12 Russian military officials, accusing them of hacking Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Despite that, Trump slammed the Russia investigation Monday, blaming it for damaging relationships between the U.S. and Russia. When asked whether he had anything to criticize Russia over, he said both countries were to blame, and refused to call out any individual action by Russia. Trump also declined to mention Russia’s annexation of Crimea or its invasion of Ukraine.

“President Trump failed America today,” former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal also said Trump had failed the American people.

"American Presidents take an oath to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic. President Trump unequivocally failed to defend the United States today when he refused to hold Russia accountable for aggression,” he tweeted.

 



The strongest condemnation of all, though, arguably came from Republican Senator John McCain.

 

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory," the representative from Arizona said in a statement. "The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake."

He added: "No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary."

This story has been updated to include a statement from Senator John McCain.