FACT CHECK: Have James Comey And John Brennan Been Charged With Multiple Counts Of Treason?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A viral Facebook post shared over 2,200 times claims former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan have been charged with multiple counts of treason.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence to suggest Comey or Brennan have been charged with multiple counts of treason.

Fact Check:

The viral post reads, “I’m hearing that James Comey has 50 counts of TREASON And John Brennan has 48 counts of TREASON.” (RELATED: Did Richard Nixon Pardon John McCain For Treason?)

While Comey was FBI director, the bureau launched an investigation into the Trump campaign for potentially colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to CNN. Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, assisted with the Russian collusion investigation in his capacity as CIA director until he left office in January 2017, per BBC News.

Article III section 3 of the Constitution outlines treason as follows: “Treason against the United States, 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.”

Neither Comey nor Brennan, however, are facing treason charges. Had they been charged with such crimes, it would almost assuredly be covered in the media, yet no news reporting could be found. There is also no mention of such charges being levied against the either of the two on the Department of Justice’s website.

In August, Brennan was questioned for eight hours on the origins of the Russia investigation, though “he was not the target of any criminal inquiry,” The New York Times reported.

Despite its narrow definition, the president and others in the political sphere have accused people of treason. In May 2019, Trump suggested that Comey and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe had committed treason, according to The Washington Post. And Brennan once said that a joint press conference Trump held with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2018 was “nothing short of treasonous.”

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,'” Brennan’s tweet read. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Comey and Brennan are not currently facing any charges of treason. We rate this claim false.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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