By Tank Murdoch

(TNS) On Monday, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway reported that a group of Democratic senators secretly met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in defiance, obviously, of the Trump administration.



“Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and other Democratic senators had a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference last week, according to a source briefed by the French delegation to the conference. Murphy’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment by press time,” she reported.



Mind you, Zarif was designated for sanctions by the Treasury Department last summer for sponsoring terrorism around the world. Senator Murphy, along with other Democrats, have repeatedly worked to preserve the deeply flawed Iranian Nuclear Agreement. The United States officially left the deal, struck during the Obama administration, in 2018.

So has Obama’s former secretary of state, John Kerry — and again, in direct defiance of Trump administration policy.

On Tuesday during a joint press conference with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to the report.

“I have seen that piece about some senators meeting with Foreign Minister Zarif. This guy is designated by the United States of America. He’s the foreign minister for a country that shot down a commercial airliner and has yet to turn over the black boxes,” Pompeo, a former U.S. congressman and CIA director, said.

“This is the foreign minister of a country that killed an American on December 27. And it’s the foreign minister of a country who is the largest world sponsor of terror and the world’s largest sponsor of anti-Semitism,” Pompeo said. “If they met, I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy and not their own.”

Yes, well, realistically speaking, there isn’t much chance that Murphy & Co. were there to talk up the Trump administration and its Iran policies.

But that said, it’s long past time to test the constitutionality of the 18th century Logan Act, which criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.

In fact, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called for Attorney General William Barr to investigate Kerry’s Iran meddling a few months ago.

“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 in a May 2019 letter to Barr.

“As you know, the Logan Act is a statute that imposes consequences against any U.S. citizen 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,’” Rubio noted.

“And the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as described by the Justice Department, is ‘a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.’”


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Frankly, if what Kerry, Murphy, and the others have done is no violation of either law Rubio cited, then no such violations exist and they ought to simply be taken off the books since no one’s going to enforce them.


 

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