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The word is not collusion. It’s misprision and it’s just as bad.

Yes, oh best beloveds, it’s time to learn yet another SAT word we never thought we’d ever use in a a sentence. Collusion seems so nebulous. What does it mean? Is it even illegal? Fuck if I know.

But misprision definitely is illegal and it’s a remarkably low standard to meet. Let’s take a look at the Wikipedia entry, shall we?

Misprision (from Old French: mesprendre, modern French: se méprendre, “to misunderstand”) is a term of Englishlaw used to describe certain kinds of offence. Writers on criminal law usually divide misprision into two kinds: negative and positive.

It survives in the law of England and Wales and Northern Ireland only in the term misprision of treason.

Ok, from this paragraph we learn that it is a legal term that in the UK refers only to treason these days. That means there are still ordinary non-treasonous varieties of misprision that the law doesn’t use but the original meaning that is still maintained refers specifically to treason. It doesn’t say that misprision is treason. It’s more like knowing that treason or a traitorous act is going on. For example, Donald Trump didn’t have to be the traitor. He only had to know that Paul Manafort, Don Jr. or <one of the other indicted campaign officials or administration members of Mueller’s investigation> were.

Let’s take a deeper dive into misprision. There are two types of misprision:

Negative misprision is the concealment of treason or felony. By the common law of England it was the duty of every liege subject to inform the king’s justices and other officers of the law of all treasons and felonies of which the informant had knowledge, and to bring the offender to justice by arrest (see Sheriffs Act 1887, s. 8). The duty fell primarily on the grand jurors of each county borough or franchise (until the abolition of grand juries in 1933[1]), and is performed by indictment or presentment, but it also falls in theory on all other inhabitants.[2] Failure by the latter to discharge this public duty constitutes what is known as misprision of treason or felony.[3]

Misprision of treason, in the words of Blackstone, “[consists] in the bare knowledge and concealment of treason, without any degree of assent thereto: for any assent makes the party a principal traitor”.[4]

In the United States, misprision of treason (18 U.S.C. § 2382) is defined to be the crime committed by a person owing allegiance to the United States, and having knowledge of the commission of any treasonous crime against them, who conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the president or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor, or to some judge or justice of a particular state. The punishment is imprisonment for not more than seven years and a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

The United States Code also includes misprision of felony (18 U.S.C. § 4).[5]

So, negative misprision would be like knowing a hostile foreign power was trying to interfere with your government with the help of other Americans and not informing the FBI. Or something like that.

What about positive misprision?

Positive misprision is the doing of something which ought not to be done; or the commission of a serious offence falling short of treason or felony, in other words of a misdemeanour of a public character (e.g. maladministration of high officials, contempt of the sovereign or magistrates). To endeavour to dissuade a witness from giving evidence, to disclose an examination before the privy council, or to advise a prisoner to stand mute, used to be described as misprisions (Hawk. P. C. bk. I. c. 20).

Did you notice the inclusion of the word “misdemeanor”?
Now, I am not a lawyer but here’s what I think is going on here with respect to Russiagate and the fate of this president. The Constitution allows the citizens of the United States to remove their president in the case that he or she has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors”

High crimes are obvious. It would be like Trump opening the front door to the Russians to let them do what they wanted or helping its army hit targets with the intention of overthrowing the government. Or human right violations. Mass murder. Incarceration of political opponents as an act of suppression. Shutting down the media. A coup using the military. Something like that might be considered a high crime.

A misdemeanor would be like misprision. That would be knowing that the hostile foreign power is doing something against the country with the aid of American traitors but looking the other way instead of reporting it. It should be noted that English law makes a big deal of forfeiture of land or fortune as a punishment of this kind of misprision which suggests that the guilty party may have benefitted materially from the act of betrayal even if he didn’t directly participate in it.

Positive misprision is like witness tampering or interfering with an official investigation or prosecution.

So, misprision is a misdemeanor, a very serious one, and I don’t think there is any doubt whatsoever that Trump has and is currently engaging in it.

The Republicans know this and in a very real sense are also guilty of misprision because they continue to look away and allow it.

The recourse is impeachment. The acts meet the threshhold of the misdemeanor of misprision beyond a reasonable doubt. But impeachment is a political act and relies on the will of the people. The majority of us do not want Trump as our president. We were full of trepidation when he won his party’s nomination and horrified when he won the office. He couldn’t be worse for our standing in the world. In spite of the economy, it won’t be long before we start feeling the effects of his stupidity and most of us will find ourselves robbed when we are ready to retire. He needs to be impeached and removed.

I’m not interested in hearing from the Trump voters who think this old, fat, soft, stupid man is some kind of strong leader. He’s not. He’s just a petulant child and bully. But more importantly, winning the electoral college is not like a cloak of invisibility or some other super power for a president. He can and *should* be removed from office if he is found to have committed high crimes and misdemeanors. The fact that he is unfit for office is irrelevant here. Elections can be overturned when a bad, corrupt man of low character wins the White House, especially if his win subverts the will of the majority of voters and is accomplished with the help of a foreign power. There are few instances wherei it would be more appropriate to impeach a president.

Yes, we are trying to get him out of office. We have a right to abort his presidency if he has committed impeachable offenses and if the current Congress won’t do it, the next one most definitely will.

And now a recap from John Oliver on where we are with respect to the Mueller investigation. What I think Oliver leaves out is the reason Trump’s PR campaign appears to be effective is that the other candidate’s voters have been made invisible over the last two years by people like Oliver himself who never misses an opportunity to take a gratuitous swipe at Hillary and by extension all of the rest of us who voted for her. If Oliver is alarmed by Giuliani’s attacks, he might want to stop muting and insulting the majority of us who didn’t vote for Mr. Softy and outnumbered his supporters by over 3 million votes.

If you’re listening, John Oliver, fix your own damn attitude first.

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