What Is Treason and How Is It Defined? Following the alleged China phone call, calls for Mark Milley’s firing have increased.
If claims that General Mark Milley called his Chinese counterpart and stated he’d give advance notification if Trump authorized a military strike against China are true, former President Donald Trump and several Republican leaders believe he committed treason.
If the allegations against General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are true, did he commit treason—and what would that imply for him?
Treason is defined by the US Constitution as an American citizen “waging war” against the US, “or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Treason has traditionally been used only in times of war when someone acts against the country’s interests.
“No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court,” the Constitution adds.
According to the upcoming book Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley spoke on the phone with General Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army.
Milley spoke with Li twice, according to Woodward and Costa. The purported initial phone contact was made just days before the October 30th presidential election in the United States. Milley and Li allegedly communicated again on January 8, two days after the rioting at the US Capitol, according to them.
“General Li, you and I have been acquaintances for the past five years. I’ll call you ahead of time if we’re about to attack. It won’t come as a surprise,” Milley assured Li in one of their chats, according to the writers.
Milley was helping and comforting China, according to the theory, and thus committing treason if he made such a promise to Li. Trump, for one, has stated that while such would be treason in his eyes, he also doubts the veracity of Woodward and Costa’s reporting.
What would be Milley’s punishment if it was proven that he made the pledge to Li and he was later found guilty of treason?
Anyone found guilty of treason, according to 18 U.S.C. 2381, “will receive death, or shall be imprisoned for not less than five years and fined under this article but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of.” This is a condensed version of the information.