Marco Rubio calls on DOJ to investigate whether John Kerry violated Logan Act

May 15, 2019

With Attorney General William Barr at the helm, the Department of Justice is finally looking into widespread corruption among Democrats who are opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry became the latest Democrat accused of breaking laws this week when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), sent a sharply-worded letter asking the attorney general to investigate Kerry for violating the Logan Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

“The American people deserve to know that U.S. laws are enforced regardless of any individual’s past position,” Rubio wrote to Barr in a letter dated May 13. “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 with Iran potentially violate the Logan Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”

Shadow diplomacy

Kerry has been in secret talks with high-ranking officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran, looking for ways to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted U.S. sanctions on the rogue state if Iran temporarily halted its nuclear weapons program. Former President Barack Obama touted the JCPOA as his finest foreign policy achievement, but many national security analysts viewed the deal as an abject failure, prompting President Donald Trump to repudiate its terms in May 2018.

Although Iran’s Islamist regime made transparent efforts to slow its nuclear expansion after the 2015 agreement, intelligence reports indicated that they continued to seek out technology that “can be used to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons,” and there was “no evidence” of the “complete about-face in Iran’s atomic policies” that Obama imagined.

Indeed, there was no “punishment mechanism” designed to hold Iran’s feet to the fire in the case of noncompliance, explained National Review’s Elliot Kaufman. This allowed Iran to continue meddling in Middle East conflicts from Syria to Yemen without fear of reprisal, throwing the regional balance of power into complete disarray.

A failed deal

Perhaps the most disappointing feature of the JCPOA, however, was that Iran was free to resume nuclearization after 10-15 years when the deal’s restrictions expired, essentially legitimizing the country’s future nuclear aspirations. But while President Trump worked to re-establish security in the war-ravaged Middle East, Kerry worked against the White House by holding secret talks with Iran’s nose-thumbing leadership.  

Rubio’s letter — his second to a Trump administration attorney general — came after Trump told reporters last week that Kerry should be prosecuted for violating the Logan Act, a statute implemented in 1799 that makes it illegal for private citizens to negotiate without permission on behalf of the federal government.

“What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me,” Trump said. “John Kerry speaks to them a lot, and John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act, and frankly he should be prosecuted on that.”

The Boston Globe reported in September that Kerry met with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif “to salvage the Iran deal he helped craft” by engaging “in some unusual shadow diplomacy.” Kerry allegedly crafted a team “of officials who were his top advisers at the State Department” to influence the media’s coverage of the pullout from the Iran Deal, and Kerry openly admitted to meeting with Zarif “three or four” times since Trump took office.

Rubio’s first letter urging a Logan Act investigation followed the Globe’s report and was sent to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. After putting together a team to look into the corrupt origins of the Obama administration’s Russia probe, however, Barr appears much more willing to root out political corruption.

Democratic corruption has been allowed to poison the GOP’s agenda for the past few years. Finally, Republicans are standing up and saying, “No more” to their colleagues across the aisle.

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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.