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Trump Says He Can't Get Anybody to Prosecute Kerry

Iran talks violate Logan Act, president argues
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2019 5:00 PM CDT
John Kerry, center, arrives at the funeral of former Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings last month.   (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
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(Newser) – President Trump said Thursday that John Kerry, who was secretary of state under President Obama, should face charges for talking to Iran after leaving office. Trump told reporters that Kerry told Iranian leaders not to talk with Trump administration officials, the Washington Post reports, saying, "he should be prosecuted on that." Kerry helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, which Trump has dropped. The president said he'd like to talk with Iran, but "John Kerry tells them not to call." The Logan Act forbids private citizens to negotiate on behalf of the government without approval. Trump said administration officials aren't interested in prosecuting Kerry; the president has made the accusation before, but this is the first time he's said that he'd sought prosecution, per the Post.

"Everything President Trump said today is simply wrong," a Kerry spokesperson told Politico, adding, "Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem. The world supported it then and supports it still." Kerry has had this argument with the current secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, as well. Pompeo said last fall that Kerry's meetings were an "unprecedented" undermining of American foreign policy. Kerry argued that, saying that he had briefed Pompeo and State Department officials about his discussions. The Logan Act has been around since 1799, Politico points out, and no one has ever been convicted of violating it. (Kerry worked to save the Iran nuclear deal.)

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