Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld said during an interview Monday President Donald Trump had committed treason and would be fortunate to leave office as an "alternative" to receiving the death penalty.
Weld said on MSNBC's Morning Joe Trump's reported pressuring of Ukraine's president to investigate Democratic hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter constituted a treasonous offense, and there was only one remedy in the U.S. penal code.
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"Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with and control a U.S. election," Weld said. "It couldn't be clearer, and that's not just undermining democratic institutions. That is treason. It's treason pure and simple, and the penalty for treason under the U.S. code is death. That's the only penalty. The penalty on the Constitution is removal from office, and that might look like a pretty good alternative to the president if he can work out a plea deal."
Weld was joined on the MSNBC program by fellow GOP primary challengers Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh to discuss the canceling of Republican primary elections in several states, most recently Alaska.
Trump has acknowledged discussing Biden in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine but denied any inappropriate action. He accused former vice president Biden and his son of being linked to corruption in the country, the New York Times reported.
Morning Joe contributor Elise Jordan noted Weld's strong language and asked him to expand on his treason point later in the interview.
"The only penalty for treason is death. It's spelled out in the statute. Under the Constitution, as you know, grounds for removal from office … are treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," Weld said. "We don't have to worry about other high crimes and misdemeanors, although I think he's committed many, he's such a lawless man. We've got treason and we don't have to dribble around the court. We can go right for the hoop."
Weld added Senate Republicans have "no chance" of winning in 2020 without denouncing Trump.
Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, was the vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian party ticket in 2016.