A tweet by President Trump on Monday morning accusing John Kerry of violating the Logan Act has raised the ire of liberals. The President is correct about John Kerry violating the Logan Act, a law BTW that has nothing to do with the Marvel character Wolverine. The Logan Act is a federal law that criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. Violating the Logan act is a tradition for both John Kerry and the Democratic Party.
Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. 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. Big violation of Logan Act?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
During interviews to promote his new book this past September Kerry told an interviewer that he has met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif three or four times since leaving office and that their talks touched on the international nuclear agreement which Kerry negotiated and President Trump withdrew from because it was such a bad deal or America. This was the first time Kerry admitted this violation, but in May of this year, the Boston Globe reported that he had been secretly meeting with the Iranian foreign minister and European leaders, advising them on how to save the flawed JCPOA. The President is saying that Kerry’s meetings were a violation of the Logan Act. And the stepfather of the Heinz Ketchup fortune has violated the Logan Act before.
In 1985, Senator John Kerry traveled to Nicaragua for a friendly get-together with the Sandinista president, Daniel Ortega. The position of the Reagan administration was to support the opposition Contras. Kerry wasn’t much interested in the administration’s position. Upon his return to the United States, Kerry met with President Reagan to convey a message from Ortega. Reagan “wasn’t thrilled,” Kerry later told the New York Times.
In 2006 Kerry went to Syria to meet with Assad over the objections of President Bush #43, who was trying to isolate the Syrian despot at the time.
In January 2018 Israeli Newspaper Ma’ariv reported that John Kerry had given a message to Palestinian Authority Pres. Abbas, “that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he should not break and will not yield to President Trump’s demands,” because Trump will be out of office within the year.”
There are those who say Senator Tom Cotton’s March 2015 open letter to the Iranian regime was an example of breaking the Logan Act. But the message wasn’t a negotiation, it didn’t even discuss possible terms of a deal. The Cotton letter signed by 47 Senators simply explained how the constitution worked and that any agreement that wasn’t ratified by the Senate could be overturned (which is precisely what happened).
Ironically Kerry objected to the Tom Cotton letter, “During my 29 years here in the Senate, I have never heard of—nor even heard of it being proposed—anything comparable to this,” Kerry said. “If I had, I can guarantee that no matter who was president of what the issue was and no matter who the president was, I would have certainly rejected it.”
John Kerry wasn’t the only Democrat who went rogue. When Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, before Bush’s invasion, the former peanut president Democrat Jimmy Carter wrote to members of the United Nations Security Council and asked them not to support the use of force against Hussein.
When Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, before Bush’s #41’s invasion, former the peanut president Jimmy Carter wrote to members of the United Nations Security Council and asked them not to support the use of force against Hussein that Bush was trying to get approved by the Security Council.
The U.S. government under President George H.W. Bush learned of Carter’s missive only from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada. Brent Scowcroft, Bush’s National Security Adviser, called it “unbelievable” that Carter would “ask . . . the other members of the Council to vote against his own country. . . . [I]f there was ever a violation of the Logan Act prohibiting diplomacy by private citizens, this was it.”
(…) But this was not the end of the ex-President’s efforts. Just days before the announced deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, Carter wrote to the rulers of America’s three most important Arab allies in the crisis—Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia—imploring them to break with Washington: “I urge you to call publicly for a delay in the use of force while Arab leaders seek a peaceful solution to the crisis. You may have to forgo approval from the White House, but you will find the French, Soviets, and others fully supportive.”
Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008, Carter met with Hamas against the wishes of President Bush. After days of negotiation, he announced to the world that Hamas was just a peace-loving bunch of good guys and they were ready to recognize Israel. In a few hours, Hamas responded: they would never recognize Israel.
Even Barack Obama! Five months before the 2008 Election, Barack Obama secretly told Iraq to stall on the Status of Forces Agreement they were negotiating with Bush #43. Amir Taheri reported in the NY Post, “
Here is how NBC reported Obama’s position on June 16, after his conversation in the US with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari: ‘Obama also told Zebari, he said, that Congress should be involved in any negotiations regarding a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq. He suggested it may be better to wait until the next administration to negotiate such an agreement.’”
After Obama became President the negotiations failed (some say on purpose) which opened up the door for ISIS to grow in Iraq.
Some Democrats claim Michael Flynn violated the Logan Act by dealing with the Russian ambassador during the Presidential transition of Donald Trump. However, as the incoming national security advisor, his contact was entirely justified.
But perhaps the most egregious example when Ted Kennedy told the USSR he would help them with negotiating with Reagan if they would help him become President in 1988.
In the Early 1980’s President, Ronald Reagan was isolating the Soviet Union, while rearming the US at a pace that the USSR could not keep up with. His strategy, eventually resulted in ending the cold war, destroying the Soviet Union and bringing down the Communist dictatorships across Eastern Europe.
As explained in an August 2009 issue of Forbes Magazine,
“Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.”
” On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow. The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov. Here in the U.S., Sebastian’s story received no attention. [Anyone surprised?]
In his 2006 book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, historian Paul Kengor reprinted the memorandum in full.
“The document,” Kengor reported, “has stood the test of time. I scrutinized it more carefully than anything I’ve ever dealt with as a scholar. I showed the document to numerous authorities who deal with the Soviet archival material. No one has debunked the memorandum or shown it to be a forgery. Kennedy’s office did not deny it.”
” Here are the details of Kennedy’s approach to America’s No. 1 enemy – long before glasnost and perestroika, way back in the dark days of bellicose nuclear standoff – according to the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee’s secret files.”
“In that report by KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov, Kennedy is represented as suggesting ‘that in the interest of world peace, it would be useful and timely to take a few extra steps to counteract the militaristic policies of Ronald Reagan. Kennedy also offered to arrange a U.S. television interview with Andropov in which he “would have the chance to address directly the American people with their own explanation of peaceful Soviet initiatives.”
“The memo says Tunney and Kennedy U.S. senators involved were motivated to make the secret contact because they wanted to reduce the threat of nuclear war, Chebrikov wrote in his report that Tunney indicated Kennedy was “directing his efforts at becoming president of the U.S. in 1988,” a time by which he would be 56 and his personal problems would be behind him.”
What did the Soviet think of the overture? Not much. Andropov was not impressed with Kennedy. He suggested it would be better to meet with a more viable Democratic presidential candidate for 1988.
Paul Kengor, described the incident this way:
“The thrust of the letter was that Reagan had to be stopped, meaning his alleged aggressive defense policies, which then ranged from the Pershing IIs to the MX to SDI, and even his re-election bid, needed to be stopped. It was Ronald Reagan who was the hindrance to peace. That view of Reagan is consistent with things that Kennedy said and wrote at the time, including articles in sources like Rolling Stone (March 1984) and in speeches like his March 24, 1983 remarks on the Senate floor the day after Reagan’s SDI speech, which he lambasted as “misleading Red-Scare tactics and reckless Star Wars schemes.”
“Even more interesting than Kennedy’s diagnosis was the prescription: According to Chebrikov, Kennedy suggested a number of PR moves to help the Soviets in terms of their public image with the American public. He reportedly believed that the Soviet problem was a communication problem, resulting from an inability to counter Reagan’s (not the USSR’s) ‘propaganda.’ If only Americans could get through Reagan’s smokescreen and hear the Soviets’ peaceful intentions.”
However, instead of being seen as a traitor who tried to ruin what eventually became a successful strategy to win the cold war, Ted Kennedy is seen as a great senator, “The Lion of The Senate,” he should be called the “Lying of the Senate.”
The truth is that only two people have ever been indicted on charges of violating the Act, one in 1802 and the other in 1852. Neither was convicted of violating the Logan Act. So it is doubtful that John Kerry will be charged for his Iranian negotiations or any of his other violations of the Logan Act.