What is treason, exactly?
In U.S. law, it’s a very narrow set of crimes — so narrow that only a couple of dozen people have been charged with it since the dawn of the republic.
But it’s serious business, so much so that it’s the only crime specifically described in the Constitution itself: “Treason against the United States,” says Article III, “shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. 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 word “only” — that treason shall “consist only” of certain specified acts — was crucial to the drafters of the Constitution. In England, treason was “abused as a way of getting at the King’s enemies,” Columbia Law School’s Richard Briffault told Business Insider. “And so I think