Brad Woodhouse, president of the pro-Clinton group Correct the Record, said Tuesday that National Review editor Rich Lowry's criticism of President Obama's foreign policy was "almost treasonous."
"Rich, you sound like an apologist for Putin and almost treasonous against the United States," Woodhouse said on Fox News. "I mean, my God."
"Treasonous? It's 9:30 in the morning and I've already committed treason?" Lowry said.
Lowry had said that President Obama was being "pushed around" in Syria by Russia, a "second-rate power."
"Russia is a second-rate power and will never be a first-rate power again, but Russians love the idea of defying and pushing back against the United States. So this is an enormous benefit, a wonderful play for Vladimir Putin kicking around the president of the United States, who is passive and weak, let's face it."
Russia announced Monday it was sending "volunteer" troops to Syria, the latest sign of its commitment to protect Bashar al-Assad. Russia's campaign to protect Assad runs contrary to the U.S.'s stated interest in seeing the dictator removed.
Woodhouse said that Lowry's criticism of Obama amounted to support for Vladimir Putin's aggression.
"It's like you're cheering on Vladimir Putin," Woodhouse said.
"For the record, Putin is a thug, what he's doing in Syria is disgusting, but he's humiliating the president of the United States," Lowry said.
"Good. I'm glad I shamed you into saying that," Woodhouse said.
The two later joked about the testy exchange on Twitter, with Woodhouse walking back his treason charge and Lowry thanking him for his "clemency."
Rich – you're no traitor – you just sounded a little too happy about what Putin is up to. https://t.co/r0qHF7iBox
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) October 6, 2015
.@woodhouseb thanks for the clemency. but it's true that Putin is humiliating the president of the United States, and enjoying it
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) October 6, 2015
Rich Lowry is not the first high-profile individual to be accused of treason in 2015.
In March, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and 46 of his Republican colleagues were accused of treason—and specifically of violating an obscure 18th-century law called the Logan Act—for sending an open letter to the leaders of Iran explaining the U.S. Congress’s role in approving treaties with foreign powers.