Billionaire environmental activist and “Need to Impeach” founder Tom Steyer said Monday that President Donald Trump had committed “treason” for trusting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials about interfering in U.S. elections.
“Today, Americans and our allies around the world have witnessed the most disgraceful and appalling performance by a U.S. president in our history. The entire world has seen that Vladimir Putin has full control over Donald Trump,” Steyer said, following Trump’s meeting with Putin.
“Trump’s defense of Putin—a known tyrant—at the expense of our intelligence agencies and democratic institutions is nothing less than treason and fully meets the criteria of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump must be impeached to preserve the fabric of our democracy and the safety of our republic,” he insisted.
Trump drew criticism from Beltway politicians and pundits for his response to a question from an American journalist about whether he trusted American intelligence officials.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said during a joint news conference in Helsinki, Finland, after meeting with Putin for two hours.
Steyer said last month that Democrats need to promise to impeach President Trump if they are to win the midterm elections.
Many seemed to warm to that message on Monday, with former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan tweeting that Trump’s remarks were “nothing short of treasonous.”
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
Treason is a capital crime under the U.S. Constitution; “high crimes and misdemeanors” are the standard for impeachment.