(National Sentinel) Logan Act: President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter on Monday to warn off former Secretary of State John Kerry following reports late last week that the Obama administration diplomat had engaged in backdoor “shadow diplomacy” with Iran.
According to the Boston Globe, Kerry “engaged in some unusual shadow diplomacy with a top-ranking Iranian official” who was also involved in the original negotiations, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
In addition to the Iranian official, Kerry has also met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French President Emmanuel Macron, and European Union official Federica Mogherini.
In his tweet, Trump warned Kerry that he may have violated the law.
“The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!” he wrote.
The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
The law Trump is referring to is called the Logan Act. Passed in 1799, the law makes it a crime for private citizens to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the U.S.
The act reads in full:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
The law remains largely intact since its passage, but it’s never been applied.
Now might be the perfect time to do so, argue critics of Kerry’s efforts.
“OMG! Logan Act violations!! Send in the G Men…” tweeted House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on Friday.
OMG! Logan Act violations!! Send in the G Men… https://t.co/FA1dydJGQb
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) May 4, 2018