By Jon Dougherty
Treason is in season if you’re a former Obama administration official, as they continue to test the boundaries of the Trump administration — and U.S. law — by continuing to remain in contact with arch-nemesis Iran.
As our readers are aware, former Secretary of State John Kerry was busted — again — earlier this month for continuing his contacts with the terrorist-sponsoring Iranian regime in a bid, ostensibly, to ‘save’ the nuclear deal he and Obama negotiated.
At the time, POTUS Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers called on Kerry to be investigated (and charged) under the 18th-century Logan Act:
Last year Kerry, Obama’s second secretary of state after the chronically criminally investigated Hillary Clinton left the position, admitted to having secret discussions with the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, “three or four times” to talk about the nuclear deal that POTUS Trump exited.
“John Kerry violated the Logan Act, plain and simple,” the president said Thursday. “He shouldn’t be doing that.”
The act is little-changed since its passage and has never been used. It’s short; here’s what it says, for the most part:
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.
While it’s not known what Kerry and Zarif discussed, it’s fair to say it had nothing to do with hockey scores or ‘the grandkids.’ To be sure, what Kerry did sure sounds like a textbook violation of the Logan Act.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) thought so too. He called on an increasingly busy Attorney General William Barr to investigate Kerry’s interference.
As the Trump administration builds up forces in the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence indicating that Tehran may have been planning an attack against American forces, the senator from the Sunshine State sent a letter to Barr asking he investigate Kerry’s ties to Iran and find out just exactly what his secret talks were all about.
“The American people deserve to know that U.S. laws are enforced regardless of any individual’s past position. The Department of Justice should therefore make a determination on whether or not former Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s recent actions related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran potentially violate the Logan Act or the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” Rubio wrote.
Now, thanks to The Daily Beast, we learn that a group of former Obama officials not only have been talking to Iranian leaders, but they did so again recently to tell them, essentially, not to react to the president’s military build-up.
Giving advice to a foreign power who is a stated adversary of the United States, in other words. That’s not a “Logan Act” violation, that is straight-up treason.
The Daily Beast:
As the Trump administration sent warplanes and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, a small group of former Obama administration officials reached out to their contacts in the Iranian government, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Their message to Iran: Don’t take Trump’s bait. Stay calm.
…lawmakers on Capitol Hill pressed for details about the threat, at times turning to former Obama officials for answers.
Three Obama officials who worked closely on the Iran nuclear deal, one of whom is still in touch with Iranian government officials, traveled to Capitol Hill to brief congressional Democrats about the situation. Those former officials said would not say if they passed information from Iranian government officials to members of Congress. Rather, they said they focused on educating members about their experience working with Iranian leaders and how Tehran reacts to economic pressure.
Several former officials who spoke to The Daily Beast stressed that their discussions with their Iranian contacts were “normal.” But in other corners, these kind of talks cause alarm. A Republican congressional aide who works on Iran policy told The Daily Beast the conversations may run counter to the Trump administration’s messaging to the Iranian government.
One former official who worked on the Obama administration’s Iran policy told The Daily Beast he spoke with Iranian government officials as recently as a few weeks ago, as tensions were cresting. His message, he said, was simple: The Trump administration can escalate things plenty all by itself; the Iranians shouldn’t take the bait, fuel the fire, and move things from bad to worse by, for example, pulling completely out of the nuclear deal.
Another former senior Obama administration official, who said he was not himself aware of the conversations, called the talks “neither unusual nor particularly consequential.”
“Exaggerating their significance lends undue credence to those cynically blaming others for their own failing approach,” the ex-official said.
‘Cynical?’ Is this clown serious?
There isn’t anything more ‘cynical’ than undermining a U.S. administration as it conducts foreign policy with the aim of protecting 312 million American citizens — even bozos and Democrats who are more willing to provide political aid and comfort to an adversary than their own government.
The 2018 National Security Strategy [.PDF] adopted by the administration clearly identifies Iran as a threat:
China and Russia challenge American power, infl uence, and interests, a empting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people…
Iran supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction….
The United States is deploying a layered missile defense system focused on North Korea and Iran to defend our homeland against missile attacks….
The United States also works with allies and partners to deter and disrupt other foreign terrorist groups that threaten the homeland—including Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanese Hizballah…
The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism around the world. It is developing more capable ballistic missiles and has the potential to resume its work on nuclear weapons that could threaten the United States and our partners…
And so on.
Iran is a declared enemy of the United States. It doesn’t matter whether John Kerry, Barack Obama, Democrats, or other former Obama administration officials think so. POTUS Trump is president now and he gets to make those determinations.
If what these people are doing — apparently in cooperation with Democrats on Capitol Hill — doesn’t amount to treasonous behavior or some other violation of U.S. law, there is no such thing.
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Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10