President Donald Trump blasted former Secretary of State John Kerry for engaging in “possibly illegal shadow diplomacy” concerning the Iran nuclear deal.
“The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal,” Trump tweeted Monday.
The president added, “He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!”
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
Trump was referencing a Friday report in the Boston Globe of Kerry meeting twice with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss ways to save the Iran nuclear agreement.
According to the Globe, Kerry also reportedly met with French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and has been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini.
Kerry helped negotiate the 2015 Iran deal in conjunction with representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany.
In exchange for relief from economic sanctions and the release of more than $150 billion in frozen financial assets, Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear weapons program for a 10-year period.
Trump has been highly critical of the agreement and has signaled that he may decide to pull the United States out of it, as a May 12 deadline to re-certify the deal approaches.
During White House visits last month, both Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Trump to remain in the agreement.
A Kerry spokesman said the former secretary of state disputed the notion he was engaged in criminal conduct, as Trump suggested.
“Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous secretary of state,” the spokesman said.
“Like America’s closest allies, he believes it is important that the nuclear agreement, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective as countries focus on stability in the region,” he added.
Some, including the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, noted that then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates launched a criminal investigation into former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn in early 2017 based on his contact with a foreign government official during the presidential transition.
“At least Michael Flynn was the incoming NSA, engaged in the common practice of transition officials setting up for governance. Waiting for Sally Yates to Tweet her dismay and grave concern,” Strassel tweeted.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton wondered if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be launching a criminal investigation into Kerry’s conduct.
Fact, we have a special counsel targeting @RealDonaldTrump in part due to the fanciful notion, made up by Yates/Comey/Lynch/McCabe that General Flynn violated the Logan Act. Will Mr. Rosenstein appoint a special counsel for John Kerry? https://t.co/mIZvhATpOC
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) May 6, 2018
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York argued in an Op-Ed late last year that Yates, an Obama administration holdover, knew it was common practice for incoming White House officials to speak with their foreign counterparts, but used the Logan Act as a pretext to target Flynn in order “to entangle the new administration in a criminal investigation as soon as it walked in the door of the White House.”
The Logan Act, passed in 1799, prohibits private citizens from acting on behalf of the United States government in disputes with foreign governments.
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