Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is still facing flak for secretly meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif while attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany last week. Critics insist he violated the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments and officers.
"A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes," he said in defense.
Murphy's meeting has also prompted renewed scrutiny over former Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Iranians a few years ago as Trump was trying to pressure the regime.
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. (The Daily Beast)
"John Kerry violated the Logan Act," Trump said at the time. "He's talking to Iran and has has [sic] many meetings and many phone calls and he's telling them what to do. That is total violation of the Logan Act."
He repeated those claims this week.
John Kerry and Senator Chris Murphy grossly violated the Logan Act with respect to Iran. If a Republican did what they did, there would be very serious ramifications!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2020
When Trump accused Kerry of the same thing this week, he again denied it. This time he deflected to talking about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's behavior toward Ukraine.
“Well, that's once again another presidential lie," Kerry said on Fox News's "America's Newsroom" on Thursday. "A complete effort by the president to distort reality because if he knew anything about the law, he'd know I didn't negotiate with anybody. I did what every senator and secretaries of state in history have done, which is continue to go to conferences abroad or have meetings in order to be well-informed. We engaged in no negotiation. But what he ought to do is focus on somebody called Rudy Giuliani, who's been out there engaged in very direct negotiations in an effort to try to do a subterfuge foreign policy. So let's get real here, which is something the president doesn't like to do.”
Trump, he argued, is the one putting our country in danger by approving the killing of Iranian terror leader Qasem Soleimani without his definition of justification.
“It didn't happen because Iran happened not to kill an American when they responded," Kerry explained. "If they had killed an American, we would have been at war. That means the decision of whether to go to war was in fact dependent on the response of a country that is a regime none of us like. The question is, what do you do about that regime? How do you respond to it? The president has isolated us from France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia, all of whom not only signed the agreement but are trying to keep it alive. And so the president is on his own. If he had gone to war, the United Nations Security Council would not have been with the United States. Our allies would not have been with us. We'd have been on our own. That is not the way to put American soldiers at risk.”
Soleimani, you'll remember, if responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops, orchestrating the recent attack on the U.S. embassy on Iraq, and was plotting more in the imminent future.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters traveling with him in Munich this week, including Townhall's Katie Pavlich, that under Trump the U.S. must never cower to Iran.