Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe has charged in a series of tweets this week that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s invitation to Russia to engage in cyberwarfare against American interests is flatly a violation of federal law.
The celebrated liberal constitutional law professor also suggested that Trump’s statements could rise to the level of treason — a crime punishable by death.
Tribe’s first tweet was on Thursday morning. In a tweet a few hours later, he elaborated by suggesting that Trump has lobbied for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, to engage in a what amounts to warfare against the United States.
On Friday, Tribe suggested that Trump has broken two other criminal laws, the Espionage Act and the Foreign Agents Act.
On Tuesday, Tribe noted that U.S. intelligence agencies have pointed to Russia as responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.
U.S. intelligence agencies have told the White House they now believe with “high confidence” that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s email server. (RELATED: US Intel Agencies Have ‘High Confidence’ Russia Hacked DNC Emails)
On Wednesday, Tribe suggested that the Watergate scandal pales in comparison to allegations that Russia has mounted a cyberwar in order to influence a U.S. election for its own benefit.
The law professor also suggested that the founders of the United States would be shocked at Trump’s comments.
Trump made the comment urging Russia to release hacked Hillary Clinton emails during a Wednesday news conference.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
On Thursday, Trump told “Fox and Friends” that he was joking when he said a foreign country should act illegally to release stolen emails from a former U.S. secretary of state.
“Of course I’m being sarcastic,” Trump said.
The Logan Act, one of the laws to which Tribe and other Trump critics have alluded, was enacted in 1799 — It reads, in pertinent part:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
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, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
Earlier this week, Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said she believes Trump’s invitation to Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email may have violated U.S. law. “The notion he would invite a foreign nation to conduct and attack against our country, it’s just beyond the pale,” McCaskill told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “And I believe it violates the Logan Act, and I think he should be investigated for that.” (RELATED: Dem Senator: Criminally Investigate Trump Over Russia Comments)
Tribe, a famous mentor of young Barack Obama, has argued a slew of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was also among Tribe’s students at Harvard.