The FBI is now investigating Donald Trump’s role in aiding Vladmir Putin‘s SVR intelligence agency in influencing American politics. If he has been colluding with Russia, has he committed treason or sedition? Before I discuss that, the elephant in the room: What happens to Little Hands if he ends up being accused of one of these high crimes? Would the DOJ have the balls to even charge an angry Fascist who wields Twitter like an assault rifle?
OK. The difference between Treason and Sedition. I hand this section off to Greg Boulware. He wrote a great blog on the subject in 2012. I would have just linked to it, but it was in reference to media, politicians, supremacists, and other “Obama Haters” vilifying our President with endless disgusting character assassinations — the “degrading and heinous travesty” that was at the time being waged against our Commander In Chief. Ah, the good ol’ days before actual Sedition was an actual campaign strategy.
Below is a re-print of Greg’s article:
Let us take a moment and examine the difference between Sedition and Treason:
In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.
Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act, and the overt acts that may be prosecutable under sedition laws vary from one legal code to another. Where the history of these legal codes has been traced, there is also a record of the change in the definition of the elements constituting sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological definition of sedition as well, within the study of state persecution.
The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace. Sedition does not consist of levying war against a government or of adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort. Nor does it consist, in most representative democracies, of peaceful protest against a government, nor of attempting to change the government by democratic means (such as direct democracy or constitutional convention).
Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one’s state. Sedition is encouraging one’s fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one’s country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition laws somewhat equate to terrorism and public order laws.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one’s sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a lesser superior was petty treason. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.
Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].” In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavor.
Outside legal spheres, the word “traitor” may also be used to describe a person who betrays (or is accused of betraying) their own political party, nation, family, friends, ethnic group, team, religion, social class, or other group to which they may belong.
Often, such accusations are controversial and disputed, as the person may not identify with the group of which they are a member, or may otherwise disagree with the group leaders making the charge. See, for example, race traitor.
At times, the term “traitor” has been leveled as a political epithet, regardless of any verifiable treasonable action. In a civil war or insurrection, the winners may deem the losers to be traitors. Likewise the term “traitor” is used in heated political discussion – typically as a slur against political dissidents, or against officials in power who are perceived as failing to act in the best interest of their constituents. In certain cases, as with the German Dolchstoßlegende, the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a unifying political message.
In English law, high treason was punishable by being hanged, drawn and quartered (men) or burnt at the stake (women), or beheading (royalty and nobility). Treason was the only crime, which attracted those penalties (until they were abolished in 1814, 1790 and 1973 respectively).  The penalty was used by later monarchs against people who could reasonably be called traitors, although most modern jurists would call it excessive. Many of them would now just be considered dissidents.
In William Shakespeare’s play King Lear (circa 1600), when the King learns that his daughter Regan has publicly dishonored him, he says They could not, would not do ‘t; ’tis worse than murder: a conventional attitude at that time. In Dante Alighieri’s
Inferno, the ninth and lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors; Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, suffers the worst torments of all: being constantly gnawed at by one of Lucifer’s own three mouths. His treachery is considered so notorious that his name has long been synonymous with traitor, a fate he shares with Benedict Arnold, Marcus Junius Brutus (who too is depicted in Dante’s Inferno, suffering the same fate as Judas along with Cassius Longinus), and Vidkun Quisling. Indeed, the etymology of the word traitor originates with Judas’ handing over of Jesus to the Roman authorities: the word is derived from the Latin traditor, which means “one who delivers.” Christian theology and political thinking until after the Enlightenment considered treason and blasphemy as synonymous, as it challenged both the state and the will of God. Kings were considered chosen by God and to betray one’s country was to do the work of Satan.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia