President Trump on Iran: “I’d like them to call me. You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. @JohnKerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act. And, frankly, he should be prosecuted on that.” pic.twitter.com/Y145xDnb3g— CSPAN (@cspan) May 9, 2019
The remarks to reporters during a medical billing event from the White House came in response to a question regrading the tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
He explained that he would like to see Iran call him, but adds, that Kerry “speaks to them a lot and John Kerry tells them not to call that’s a violation of the Logan Act.”
The Logan Act
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.Logan Act Cornell Law
The President goes on to say that Kerry “should be prosecuted on that,” he adds, “my people don’t want to do anything, only the Democrats do that kind of stuff.”
Kerry Spokesman Matt Summers told Politico, “[Trump’s] wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe. Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem. The world supported it then and supports it still. We’d hope the president would focus on solving foreign policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.”
Kerry and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed over a meeting between Kerry and Iranian officials last September.
Pompeo explained at the time that he believed Kerry was undermining U.S. foreign policy, but Kerry dismissed the accusation explaining that he had briefed “Pompeo and the State Department about his discussions with,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
This isn’t the first time that President Trump has accused Kerry of violating the Logan Act, having tweeted just this past April that Kerry was giving Iran “VERY BAD advice.”
Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerry and people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal. Big violation of Logan Act?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
On Sunday National Security Adviser John Bolton announced in a statement that the U.S. was “deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
He added that the U.S. was not seeking war with Iran.