Tuesday, President Trump blasted Democrat Senator Chris Murphy for meeting with the Iranians last week.
Trump questioned whether Murphy may have violated the Logan act.
Ironically, per the Federalist, In 2017, Murphy demanded an investigation into then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn because he had a phone call with a counterpart in Russia. “Any effort to undermine our nation’s foreign policy – even during a transition period – may be illegal and must be taken seriously,” Murphy said.
“I saw that…Senator Murphy met with the Iranians; is that a fact? I just saw that on the way over. Is there anything that I should know? Because that sounds like to me a violation of the Logan Act.”
President Trump: "I saw that…Senator Murphy met with the Iranians; is that a fact? I just saw that on the way over. Is there anything that I should know? Because that sounds like to me a violation of the Logan Act." pic.twitter.com/qOEwDaRptR
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 18, 2020
In a post on Medium, Murphy said he wanted to discuss Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, the war in Yemen and U.S. prisoners being held in Iran.
“I have no delusions about Iran — they are our adversary, responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans and unacceptable levels of support for terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East,” Murphy wrote. “But I think it’s dangerous to not talk to your enemies. Discussions and negotiations are a way to ease tensions and reduce the chances for crisis.”
The meeting was first reported by conservative outlet The Federalist and quickly criticized by right-wing circles.
Speaking to reporters at Joint Base Andrews, President Trump questioned whether Murphy violated the Logan Act, which bans private U.S. citizens from conducting unauthorized diplomacy with foreign governments.
Legal scholars generally agree the Logan Act does not apply to members of Congress, and there is lengthy precedent of lawmakers meeting with foreign government officials.
“Sen. Murphy met with the Iranians; is that a fact? I just saw that on the way over. Is there anything that I should know? Because that sounds like, to me, a violation of the Logan Act,” Trump said.
Asked about reporting on the meeting before Murphy’s post, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted U.S. sanctions against Zarif, as well as Iran’s recent shooting down of a Ukrainian commercial airliner.
“If they met, I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy, not their own,” Pompeo said during a news conference in Ethiopia.
In his post, Murphy stressed that he does not conduct diplomacy on behalf of the U.S. government, but added that Congress is a co-equal branch of government that sets foreign policy.
“I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should,” he wrote.