Kerry: Nothing 'unusual' or 'inappropriate' about meeting with foreign contacts

Kerry: Nothing 'unusual' or 'inappropriate' about meeting with foreign contacts
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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 fired back at Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight 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 Top Dem demands State Department documents on Khashoggi killing MORE after he described Kerry’s continued contact with Iranian and other foreign diplomats as “unseemly and unprecedented.”

“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,” a spokesperson for Kerry said in a statement to The Hill.

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“There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts … What is unseemly and unprecedented is for the podium of the State Department to be hijacked for political theatrics,” the spokesperson added.

Kerry played a crucial role in crafting the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE sparked controversy after announcing he would withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 deal in May, despite being advised to remain in the pact. A United Nations watchdog said late last month that Iran is still complying with the accord

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

Trump accused Kerry Thursday of having “illegal meetings.”

“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!” he tweeted. 

The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires those representing the interests of foreign powers to disclose those relationships and any related activities and finances.

Kerry said Wednesday on Fox News that he met with European and Iranian diplomats, but held that no negotiations were aimed at undermining the Trump administration’s policies. 

Trump has expressed openness to renegotiating a new nuclear deal with Iran. But, late last month Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected that offer.

“Negotiations with former U.S. officials, who at least saved some face, bore such results! With current brazen U.S. officials—who have unsheathed their swords against Iranians—what negotiations can we have? Thus no negotiations with any U.S. official at any level will be held,” he tweeted.