Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said Wednesday that he hopes Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails. In the moments that followed, Google saw a spike in searches for “Donald Trump treason.”
Take a look at the jump in search queries, which coincided with a press conference in which Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Searches for the term were proportionally much higher than any day in the past week...
... and the past month:
Google Trends data only shows search volume at a certain time relative to another moment. In other words, if one person searched “Donald Trump treason” every day in July and then five people searched the term today, that would account for such a spike.
Google’s advertising tool paints a more specific picture, showing that only about 30 people search for the phrase every month.
Still, one thing’s clear: Trump’s combative remarks led to at least some increased interest in whether or not the Republican nominee is actually, well, treasonous.
Questions have been building for some time about Trump’s precise relationship with Russia, and whether it has anything to do with his ongoing refusal to release his tax returns, something every Republican presidential nominee going back to Ronald Reagan in 1980 has been happy to do.
If you’re curious, here’s the definition of treason, according to Cornell University Law School: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason.”
Notably, the definition also mentions that anyone who commits treason “shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”