Did Donald Trump Commit Treason? | NBC Southern California
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Did Donald Trump Commit Treason?

Many have wondered if his comments Wednesday about Russia and Hillary Clinton's emails counted as a crime



    Getty Images
    Donald Trump holds a press conference at Trump National Doral Golf Course on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, in Doral, Florida.

    After Donald Trump urged Russia to find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, there was a 76-percent spike in people searching the word "treason" on Merriam-Webster's website, NBC News reported.

    Trump and his campaign have said he wasn't encouraging anyone to hack into anything, though he did say at one point Wednesday, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."

    There is nothing to hack into now as the clintonemail.com server was decommissioned long ago. Trump seemed to be saying, if anyone did hack into it in the past and still has the e-mails it contained, turn them over.

    But suppose he was urging a foreign government to hack a political candidate? Would that be a crime?

    Carl Court/Getty Images

    According to Carlton Larson, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law and one of the nation's few experts on the law of treason, what Trump said "does not amount to treason." Only a country or entity that has declared war or is in a state of open war constitutes an enemy, Larson said.