Trump for months has publicly accused Obama of committing crimes, but has repeatedly declined to say which crimes in particular when asked by reporters. But speaking with CBN News in an interview that aired Monday, Trump offered, without evidence, that Obama had committed treason for spying on his campaign.
“It’s treason,” Trump said. “Look, when I came out a long time ago, I said they’ve been spying on my campaign. I said they’ve been taping, and that was in quotes, meaning a modern day version of taping, it’s all the same thing. But a modern day version. But they’ve been spying on my campaign.”
In reality, there is no evidence that the Obama spied on Trump’s campaign or committed any acts that reach the definition of treason. Under the Constitution, treason is narrowly defined: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
His comments fit into a years-long pattern of claiming, without proof, that Democratic partisans within the Justice Department and the FBI abused their powers to investigate members of his campaign and undermine his presidency. In recent months, Trump has floated the term “Obamagate” as an attempt to paint himself as the victim of a supposed “coup” by Obama and rewrite the reality of the Mueller investigation.
While some misconduct related to the Russia investigation has been uncovered, and several former FBI officials have been chided for their handling of certain aspects of the probe, Trump has repeatedly exaggerated the breadth of the wrongdoing or latched onto unproven accusations that even some members of his own administration have struggled to publicly explain or defend.
Expanding on his unfounded claim Monday, Trump went on to say that members of the Obama administration could have been executed for their alleged crimes.
“If it was the opposite, two years ago, 25 people would have been convicted and they would be sent to jail for 50 years. And by the way, if it were 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, they would have been executed, but we’re in a different time,” he said.
“We’re in a different time. You understand what I mean by that. They spied on the opposing party’s campaign and we caught them.” Trump continued, “I just hope I get tremendous evangelical Christian support.”
CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Marshall Cohen and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report