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 RubioOn The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Trump declares national emergency at border Democrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday called on the Department of Justice to investigate whether former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWarren taps longtime aide as 2020 campaign manager In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job 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 PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general 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.