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Sen. Rubio demands DOJ investigate John Kerry for secret Iran meetings

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
September 19, 2018

Sen. Marco Rubio has called for former Secretary of State John Kerry to be investigated after Kerry recently admitted to holding secret meetings with Iran.

Sen. Rubio wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate whether or not Kerry broke federals laws for his admitted meetings with Iranian officials, Politico reported Tuesday.

“As you know, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism, and the State Department continues to characterize the regime in Tehran as ‘the foremost biggest state sponsor of terrorism’ in its annual reports on international terror,” Rubio wrote. “The American people deserve to know that U.S. laws are enforced, regardless of any individual’s past position.”

“I have asked the @TheJusticeDept to determine if John Kerry has violated federal laws by meeting with Iranian officials in an effort to save the #IranDeal,” Rubio tweeted on Tuesday.

In his letter to the DOJ, he called attention to the Logan Act, under which it is illegal for an unauthorized individual to hold negotiations with foreign governments who experience disputes with the U.S. He also mentioned the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires individuals to disclose any relations or activities made with foreign entities when acting as a U.S. representative.

Rubio said Kerry’s rogue meetings served “to lobby and unofficially negotiate with officials in the United States and in foreign governments.”

Last week, Rubio had tweeted, “Hopefully #Iran hires John Kerry to be their lead negotiator. Because he is certain to negotiate a bad deal for whichever side he is on.”

A Boston Globe report in May asserted that Kerry was working secretly with Iranian officials to salvage the nuclear accord. The report came shortly after Kerry criticized President Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the deal, which has since left the deal – and Iran’s economy – in shambles.

Last week, Kerry confirmed during a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt that he met “three or four times” with Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. The meetings were held without the Trump Administration’s knowledge or authorization.

Kerry and Zarif were the leading members in negotiations that crafted the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and several global powers. The deal lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for implementing a limit on the number of nuclear weapons and materials Iran was permitted to maintain.

“What I have done is try to elicit from him [Zarif] what Iran might be willing to do to change the dynamic of the Middle East for the better,” Kerry explained.

However, he claims his meetings have not interfered or undermined U.S. policy. “We have conversations with people about the state of affairs in the world in order to understand them. We don’t negotiate, we’re not involved in interfering with policy,” Kerry said.

Kerry’s admission of the meetings has left many critical of his actions, and questioning the legality of them.

President Trump tweeted last week, “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!”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also slammed Kerry for the meetings, calling it “beyond inappropriate.”

“You can’t find precedent for this in US history and the secretary ought not engage in this kind of behavior. It’s beyond inappropriate,” Pompeo said. “What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented.”

Kerry also admitted to meeting with European diplomats, but details of those meetings are unknown.

It’s unclear at this point whether or not the DOJ will take action.