Trump says John Kerry should be prosecuted for talking to Iran
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that John Kerry “should be prosecuted” for allegedly violating the Logan Act through his conversations with Iran, escalating a feud between his administration and the former secretary of State.
“John Kerry violated the Logan Act,” Trump said during a White House press availability. “He’s talking to Iran and has has many meetings and many phone calls and he’s telling them what to do. That is total violation of the Logan Act.”
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In response, Kerry spokesman Matt Summers told POLITICO that “everything President Trump said today is simply wrong, end of story.”
“[Trump’s] wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe,” the Kerry spokesman said. “Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem. The world supported it then and supports it still. We’d hope the president would focus on solving foreign policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.”
This is not the first time Trump has asserted Kerry is in violation of the act. He made similar comments on Twitter in April.
“Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerry and people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal,” he tweeted. “Big violation of Logan Act?”
In September 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kerry clashed over a meeting Kerry had with Iranian officials. In a bitter war of words, Pompeo alleged that, by holding “beyond inappropriate” meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Kerry was undermining U.S. foreign policy in an “unprecedented” manner.
Kerry and his aides dismissed such allegations, pointing out that Kerry had briefed Pompeo and the State Department about his discussions with Zarif. Kerry also took a jab on Twitter by raising Trump’s legal woes, saying the president should “be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s [foreign minister].”
Enacted in 1799, the Logan Act is a federal law that criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. No one has ever been convicted of violating it.