A new report is creating additional scrutiny surrounding the Obama administration’s efforts at promoting diplomacy with Iran.
According to Fox News, critics are now questioning why former Secretary of State John Kerry was not prosecuted for secretive meetings with Iranian officials allegedly designed to “undermine” former President Donald Trump.
“Back channel” communications
Kerry was among the Obama-era architects of a controversial nuclear-weapons deal with Iran who met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during the Trump administration, as reported by The Washington Times.
The Times reported that the group used the “back channel” in an “apparent bid to undermine the Trump team and lay the groundwork for post-Trump relations” after the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear agreement in 2018.
At least one such meeting occurred in 2019 and involved former Obama adviser Robert Malley.
According to the new report, Obama critics are revisiting an alleged double standard in the investigation of suspected Logan Act violations. The statute, which prevents unauthorized communications between American individuals and foreign entities, had not been used to indict a U.S. citizen in roughly 200 years but proved instrumental in the investigation into communications involving former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Obama administration began focusing on Flynn during the transition period after the 2016 election amid reports of his conversations with a Russian ambassador. He eventually pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents, later reversing his plea when evidence surfaced that suggested he was set up by federal investigators.
“They’d prosecute him”
Flynn’s defenders have argued that there was nothing untoward about his conversations given his impending national security role in the Trump administration.
For Kerry, however, evidence indicates that he was attempting to frustrate the foreign policy efforts of a sitting president.
Of course, Trump brought up the Logan Act in 2019 as new details emerged regarding what he dubbed a “witch hunt” investigation into allegations that Russia interfered on his campaign’s behalf during the 2016 election.
The then-president asserted that “only the Democrats” engage in the type of talks attributed to Kerry, adding that if “it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act,” according to Fox.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane also weighed in, declaring in a recent interview: “In terms of what Secretary Kerry was doing and other members of the Biden administration, in my judgment is appalling and it’s reckless and significantly irresponsible.”