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Tue Mar 10, 2015, 12:36 PM

Why the White House Won’t Pursue GOP Senators’ Iran Letter As Logan Act Violation

Why the White House Won’t Pursue GOP Senators’ Iran Letter As Logan Act Violation

As Earnest pointed out, the language of the letter is ambiguous enough that a theoretical defense lawyer could argue it is simply a helpful list of (not accurate) facts, and the fact that it’s an open letter would make proving their intent somewhat more difficult. Of course, a theoretical prosecutor could also make the argument that the letter is essentially the Republicans’ way of saying “Nice nuclear deal you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.” It is, at very least, a clear violation of the spirit of the law, and given the precedent being set, I’d be happy to take a chance on such a prosecution.

However, such an uphill fight would not be worth the gamble, politically, and under the current set of facts, the White House is getting the best of both words. Earnest and President Obama are going right up to the line with their criticism of the move, and people like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid are dancing right on it. The debate helps them more than leaning into the specific accusation ever would. If they say they’re looking into it, then they have to do something about it. If they say it’s not a violation, then it kills the story. Better to let everyone else talk about it.

And talk about it, they should, because this sets a dangerous precedent that could well leave us with little choice but another war.


As bad as it is, prosecution would not be a slam dunk, but it would set a precedent.

Very interesting article.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 12:54 PM

1. I like the court of public opinion

and this has been a self-inflicted PR disaster for the Republicans.
Let them wallow in their mess for a good long time.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 12:55 PM

2. Oh, I agree with that.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 01:05 PM

3. I have come to the same belief...

President Obama, along with the other countries' leaders, are focused on negotiating an agreement with Iran, negotiations I believe will be successful and, if so, it will be the ultimate smackdown of the treacherous 47 scumbags.

The public, on the other hand, can keep calling them out, showing their perfidy in writing/signing that error-filled letter along with the seditious intent behind it.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 01:12 PM

5. Indeed.

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Response to C_U_L8R (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 01:16 PM

6. +1 And if the side effect is that some media outlets and people call the GOP traitors,

I certainly won't shed any tears.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 01:11 PM

4. Yes, it is interesting.. thanks A

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 01:48 PM

7. What exactly WOULD be worth fighting the republicans on? I mean if treason is ignored,

 

what would they have to do to make the WH angry?

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 02:10 PM

8. Teason is defined narrowly in the Constitution. This is not treason inaccordance with the

the Constitution.

Section 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.


That is why the Logan act appears to be the only possible law under which the GOP47 could be charged.

This article explains why a case would be very hard to make. They did not seek to negotiate. The wrote an open letter with incorrect facts. Read the article. It explains it quite well.

As to the Logan Act.

Only one person was ever indicted under the act. His charges were dropped after the Louisiana Purchase made his crime moot.

They considered charging Former President Herbert Hoover for negotiating in Europe but chose not to.

LBJ considered charging Nixon's for his secret request that the North Vietnamese wait until he was elected. The record stated that Johnson chose not to because he would have revealed NSA spying on the Vietnamese.

The Logan act has never been tested in a court. It would be a quick trip to the Supreme Court for no real purpose.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 03:52 PM

9. But Democrats should hound them

Any and every time they appear in public, there should be protestors with signs, shouting "Treason" or "Traitor."

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Response to nichomachus (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 04:12 PM

10. Hound them yes. They are acting against US interest to instigate a war

that we have no compelling legal reason to fight. American should protest. Interfering with diplomacy may be against the law, but this article shows that it will be difficult to make the charge stick.

Traitor or Treason, no!

The constitution is clear on the legal definition of treason. They don't meet definition.

Section 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.


We are not at war with Iran, so they can not help them fight us. They are not supporting the Iranian government. The Iranian negotiator already slammed the GOP for (1) Not understanding the US constitutional system; and (2) failing to understand stand international law. Congress actually wants harsher economic sanctions, so the Republicans are not giving them aid and comfort.

What Republicans did is incredibly wrong, and, technically, it may be illegal, but holding them responsible is likely to be impossible.

Though it would please a lot of people here, it would cause sever political repercussions.




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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 04:15 PM

11. The legal definition is all well and good

But this isn't a courtroom. I can call someone a bastard even if his parents were, in fact, married. Or a son of a bitch, even if his mother wasn't a canine. If I want to call them a traitor, I can.

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Response to nichomachus (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 04:29 PM

12. Some bastards are an accident of birth. Some bastards are selfmade men.

Bastard is not punishable under law any longer in the US.

You can call the jelly filled donuts if you want. But treason is a legal term enshrined in law. When we misuse it, people tend to think they can be made legally accountable.

The open letter does not meet the narrow requirements set in the constitution.

We can call it Partisan hackary. It was a partisan attack.

We can call it war mongering. They want a war with Iran, not to cuddle with them.

We can say it is unconstitutional. (The President has sole authority to negotiate with foreign countries. The Senate can approve or disapprove, but that is it.) Unless the President wants to take them to court nothing can be done about it.

We can call it a disastrous foreign policy. It is not in our interest to make war on Iran. They have not attacked us. They have not attacked US interests. They are not at war with an ally. I don't like their government, because they do sponsor terrorism and their human rights record is no better than the Saudi's. We have our own groups that we arm. International diplomacy is sometimes played very rough.

Call them what you will, it doesn't make it so. And when people ask, "Why can't we try them for treason." the answer is. "They did not commit treason."

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Response to nichomachus (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 04:41 PM

15. Absolutely. I am not seeing it much any where, and that needs to change.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 04:33 PM

13. There has never been a Logan Act prosecution in its 212 year history.

Reason? Its unconstitutional on its face. 212 years of DOJs have known this.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #13)

Tue Mar 10, 2015, 04:38 PM

14. There was one indictment, and there was never a trial.

I suspect it would go down to ignominious repeal even with this Supreme Court.

The call for a "Logan Act Prosecution" taps into anger at Congress. Ultimately, it won't be prosecuted and people are pissed.

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