Is it any wonder the White House is furious?
President Donald Trump is going on the offensive over an outspoken Democratic senator’s admission that he’d met with the foreign minister of Iran over the weekend in a secret parley at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
The move by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy to have a secretive sit-down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Sharif marked a continuation of apparent Democrat meddling in the kind of foreign affairs that are the province of the presidency.
In May 2018, 17 months removed from being in office, former Secretary of State John Kerry was revealed to have been conducting meetings with Iranian officials in Paris in an effort to save the suicidally stupid Iran nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama that Trump had abandoned that same month.
And it’s safe to say, the president is not happy about it.
Talking to the media on Tuesday, Trump invoked the Logan Act, a never-prosecuted, 220-year-old law that prohibits any unauthorized American citizen from “correspondence or intercourse” with foreign governments that are engaged in disputes with the United States.
He did the same in a tweet Wednesday morning.
Kerry & Murphy illegally violated the Logan Act. This is why Iran is not making a deal. Must be dealt with strongly! https://t.co/RpTW9c09ZY
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2020
“I saw that Senator Murphy met with the Iranians, is that a fact?” Trump told reporters Tuesday before boarding Air Force One.
“I just saw that on the way over. Is there anything that I should know? Because that sounds like, to me, a violation of the Logan Act.”
President Trump: “I saw that…Senator Murphy met with the Iranians; is that a fact? I just saw that on the way over. Is there anything that I should know? Because that sounds like to me a violation of the Logan Act.” pic.twitter.com/qOEwDaRptR
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 18, 2020
The Logan Act has never been tried in a criminal court and is constitutionally questionable, as Scott Shackford, a writer for the libertarian publication Reason, wrote in 2017, when Democrats were making noises about using it against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition period.
So, an actual prosecution might be unlikely.
However, Trump’s tweet adds an important element to the case.
“This is why Iran is not making a deal,” he wrote. “Must be dealt with strongly!”
There’s no way of knowing whether contacts with disgruntled Democrats are really why Iran has expressed no public interest in improving ties with the United States.
The murderous mullahs of Tehran have hated the U.S. since the days of the Iranian Revolution — as four decades of Iranians chanting “death to America” and calling the U.S. “the Great Satan” pretty clearly show.
But it’s a virtual certainty that the hard cases in Tehran are alert to any sign of potential weakness on the part of their greatest adversary, and the overtures of washed-up failures like John Kerry or liberal media hounds like Chris Murphy aren’t helping matters.
From the Iranian point of view, why should they negotiate with Trump seriously when they know an election is coming, and Trump is faced with an opposition party that has no scruples about dealing secretly with the enemy — and has sent every signal possible that Tehran will get a softer deal from the United States if a Democrat is elected in November?
It’s also pretty clear that Murphy would have liked to have kept his visit with Zarif quiet, and he only publicly acknowledged it Tuesday after reporter Mollie Hemingway exposed it Monday in a Federalist post.
On Wednesday, Federalist contributor Heshmat Alavi responded to Trump’s tweet with a lengthy Twitter thread describing Murphy’s connections to the pro-Iranian lobbying group the National Iranian American Council.
“Murphy has ties to with #Iran’s DC-based lobby group,” wrote Alavi wrote at the top of the thread, which was originally published Tuesday.
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) February 19, 2020
Finally, it’s indisputable that Democrats are engaging in exactly the kind of behavior they were denouncing as recently as 2017.
Murphy, the senator who now sees fit to meet in secret with foreign officials, was part of the mob calling for Flynn’s head simply for being in contact with the ambassador from Russia in the days between Trump’s election and his inauguration.
Now, Murphy is a sitting senator of the opposition party conducting would-be secret negotiations with a foreign power with a long history of hostility toward the U.S.
And even if he’s defiant, he knows he’s wrong. He admitted it as much in the whiny, self-serving Medium post he published about the weekend meeting.
“I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so,” Murphy wrote. “But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should.”
Actually, no, someone shouldn’t. Part of diplomacy means not talking when the other side isn’t listening.
Making those decisions is the president’s job. If the Democrats ever win back the office, they’re going to remember that.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.