OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Democrat Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is taking legal action against Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney after he accused her of being a traitor.
“Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives,” Romney tweeted on March 13.
Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 13, 2022
Treason is a heavy accusation defined as something that “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.”
And the punishment, if found guilty, as defined by the Constitution could consist of “death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
The former representative defended herself when she spoke to Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday.
“I still serve in the U.S. Army reserves today. I’m a lieutenant colonel, and 19 years ago when I enlisted in the military, I took an oath to support and defend our Constitution,” she said.
“When powerful and influential people basically threaten and intimidate people into silence as Mitt Romney … [is] doing, they’re hoping to achieve that effect that if anybody dares speak out against the government … [or] criticize whatever the washed, permanent Washington establishment narrative is, then you will be smeared … as a treasonous traitor,” the former representative said.
The cease and desist letter from her attorneys accused Romney of “false and defamatory statements” and asked Romney to settle with gabbard before litigation, Newsweek reported.
“While your tweet lacked any context, we surmise that your tweet was made in reference to a video Representative Gabbard published on Twitter that same day,” the letter said.
“In her video, Representative Gabbard called for a ceasefire in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine so that any biological laboratories in Ukraine could be secured,” it said.
Tulsi Gabbard says she sent cease and desist letters to Mitt Romney and Keith Olbermann after she was called a traitor. pic.twitter.com/mcrapG1PnB
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) April 21, 2022
Ukrainian Biolabs has been at the center of an unfounded conspiracy theory that claimed the Biden administration was funding biological weapons labs in the country.
The U.S. has funded Biolabs in Ukraine but not the development of biological weapons. Claims about U.S. funding for bioweapons in Ukraine have been promoted by Russian state media amid the country’s ongoing invasion of its neighbor.
Gabbard, who represented Hawaii’s 2nd district from 2013 to 2021, did not claim that the U.S. was funding bioweapons labs in Ukraine in her March 13 video.
She also said that Biolabs, biological weapons labs, and bioweapons were “very different things” in a subsequent tweet on March 14 and wrote that “there is sometimes miscommunication and misunderstanding when discussing them.”
“Representative Gabbard’s loyalty to the United States is beyond reproach. You knew your claims of treason were false, or, at a minimum, you made your claims of treason with reckless disregard for the truth,” the letter from the attorneys said.
The attorneys requested a settlement that includes “retraction and apology, and other terms to be mutually negotiated.” They have given Sen. Romney until April 27 to respond.
She also said that she sent a cease and desist letter to former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann.
“Truth is the first casualty of war,” Gabbard said in a press release. “When powerful, influential people make baseless accusations of treason, a crime punishable by death, in order to intimidate, silence, and censor those who speak the truth, it has a chilling effect on our democracy. This cannot go unchecked.”