During an interview with Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) on the January 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer suggested that Dodd was "in effect giving comfort to" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during Dodd's recent visit to Damascus. While discussing the war in Iraq, Blitzer asserted that President Bush "hates the idea that you and several of your colleagues recently showed up in Damascus ... in effect giving comfort to" Assad. Dodd replied that his visit "was hardly comfort, any more than" when "[former Secretary of State] Henry Kissinger or [former President] Richard Nixon were giving comfort to [former Chinese leader] Mao Zedong when they went to China. ... I went there to find out whether or not we could get any cooperation from him" in stabilizing the situation in Iraq.
One of the Iraq Study Group's key recommendations was to "immediately launch a new diplomatic offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region" with "every country that has an interest in avoiding a chaotic Iraq," including Iran and Syria. The Bush administration has rejected the ISG's recommendation.
On December 20, Dodd and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) met with Assad on a "fact finding trip" to discuss, among other things, Syrian support in "[c]ontrolling Syria's borders with Iraq, verifiably and concretely working to stop the flow of funds, insurgents, and weapons into Iraq." Additionally, as Media Matters for America noted, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) met with Assad on December 13 as did Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) on December 26.
The U.S. Constitution defines "Treason against the United States" as "levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." (U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3).
From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the January 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: You know, he hates the idea that you and several of your colleagues recently showed up in Damascus --
BLITZER: -- in effect giving comfort to Bashar al-Assad, the -- the leader of Syria.
DODD: That was hardly comfort, any more than I think that -- that Henry Kissinger or Richard Nixon were giving comfort to Mao Zedong when they went to China, or presidents of all political parties went to the Soviet Union for many years, trying to resolve differences between two enemies. I went there to find out whether or not we could get any cooperation from him.