President Donald Trump spent much of Wednesday morning’s “executive time” tweeting his own thoughts on myriad issues, as well as retweeting the opinions of other conservative pundits that match his viewpoints. Yet one retweet the president made, disseminated by a Trump fan account, seems to imply that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein both deserve to be punished for crimes related to treasonous activities.
The meme image sent by user account @The_Trump_Train is a photoshopped picture of several prominent liberals, progressives, and Trump critics, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, former Secretary of State (and Trump’s opponent during the 2016 presidential election) Hillary Clinton, and others, according to reporting from Politico. The picture includes all of the individuals behind what appear to be prison cell bars, with a caption included that reads, “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?”
Notably included in the picture, however, are two individuals who are not Democrats, one of which is even a member of the Trump administration. Special counsel for the Russia investigation Mueller is seen in the upper-left-hand side of the image, and close by is Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, an individual who was appointed by Trump himself. Former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May 2017, is also in the photo.
It’s unclear to what evidence that no “collusion” occurred the meme seems to be referring to — such assertions have not been stated by anyone close to the investigation, which is still ongoing. The meme seems to echo sentiments made by Trump earlier in the week when he tweeted that “There was NO Collusion & Mueller knows it!” That statement from the president, too, is not based on any evidence yet made public.
Trump doesn’t directly say it himself, but the implication of sharing the meme seems to indicate he believes these individuals are guilty of the crime of treason. It’s not the first time that he seemed willing to put out the idea that individuals critical of his beliefs, including members of his administration, were guilty of the crime, which is punishable in some cases by death.
In September of this year, following the publication of an op-ed in which a member or members of Trump’s inner-circle sought to assure readers that they were “thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office,” Trump responded, according to reporting from Vox, by putting out a single word in a tweet, writing in all capital letters, “TREASON?”
Investigating the president of the United States or any of his associates for crimes they may have committed is not a treasonous offense, and the definition of the law is so narrow that even abuse of power within an investigation like that wouldn’t fit the bill. Treason, according to reporting from the New York Times, is generally any action or act that an individual within the United States performs that gives aid to America’s foreign enemies.