President Trump floated the idea that former Secretary of State John Kerry could face criminal charges for lobbying to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal.
Trump made the statement on Monday morning through Twitter, in reference to a Boston Globe article published last week.
The publication revealed on Friday that Kerry has been in touch with Iranian and European officials in a bid to protect the deal — the most significant international accord signed by the US government under the Obama administration.
“The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal,” Trump tweeted. “He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!”
According to the Globe, Kerry met two weeks ago in New York with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif — to discuss “ways of preserving” the nuclear deal.
The former top US envoy has met to have similar conversations with French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He also spoke via phone about the Iran Deal to the European Union’s chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini.
Kerry and his allies are quietly conducting the outreach, without engaging President Trump, because they’re concerned that any form of engagement could provoke an emotional meltdown by the Commander-in-Chief.
“You’re liable to spur this guy in a direction you don’t want him to go in, just to be spiteful,” one unnamed source close to Kerry told the Globe.
A former White House official also told the paper that Trump will “run in the opposite direction” from anything associated with the Obama administration.
The idea that Kerry may have acted illegally by reaching out to foreign officials stems from the Logan Act, a two hundred year-old law that has never been used. Congress passed the law to prevent private citizens from attempting to “defeat the measures of the United States.”
In 2015, when the Iran Deal itself was being hashed out, some liberals raised the possibility that Republican Senators violated the Logan Act — after 47 of them wrote to Iranian officials promising to do all they could to kill the agreement.
The only rebuke the letter led to was a lesson in multilateral diplomacy from Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif.
“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law,” he responded.