Rubio wants DOJ to find out if Kerry broke law by meeting with Iranians

Rubio wants DOJ to find out if Kerry broke law by meeting with Iranians
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday called on the Department of Justice to investigate whether former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryTrump's rejection of the Arms Trade Treaty Is based on reality Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech Dem Sen. Markey faces potential primary challenge in Massachusetts MORE broke federal laws by meeting with Iranian diplomats after leaving office to discuss the nuclear deal with Tehran.

"The American people deserve to know that U.S. laws are enforced regardless of any individual’s past position," Rubio wrote in a letter to the Justice Department, suggesting that Kerry may have violated the Logan Act or the Foreign Agents Registration Act. 

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The Logan Act bars individuals from having private negotiations with foreign governments against U.S. interests, while the Foreign Agents Registration Act requires agents representing the interests of foreign powers to disclose their relationships with international governments.

Kerry has previously defended himself against such claims, saying there is nothing unusual about his contacts with Iranians and other foreign diplomats.

Kerry played a crucial role in crafting the Obama-era agreement, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE earlier this year pulled the United States out of the deal.

Kerry told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this month that he had met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “three or four” times since leaving office to discuss the nuclear deal and other issues.

Trump last week harshly criticized Kerry over those meetings, calling them "illegal."

“John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban' MORE also attacked Kerry over the meetings last week, calling them "unseemly and unprecedented" but saying he would "leave the legal determinations to others."

A spokesperson for Kerry defended the former secretary of State in a statement provided to The Hill last week, saying that there was "nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate" about the meetings.

“Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian’s view. No secrets were kept from this administration,” the spokesperson said.