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‘That Is a Total Violation’: Trump Calls for the Prosecution of John Kerry Under the Logan Act


President Donald Trump called for the prosecution of former Secretary of State John Kerry for his negotiations with a foreign government, namely Iran. In particular, Trump said Kerry violated the Logan Act.

Roll the videotape:

“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me. John Kerry, he speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That is a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that,” he said. “But my people don’t want to do anything — only the Democrats do that kind of stuff. You know? If it were the opposite way, they would prosecute him under the Logan Act. But John Kerry violated the Logan Act.”

“He’s talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and tells them what to do,” Trump added. “That is a total violation of the Logan act.”

The Logan Act came up before in the context of fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. At the time, it was noted that the Logan Act is a 1799 law that is “rarely enforced” and has “never been used to successfully prosecute any American citizen.”

Here’s what 18 U.S.C. §953, the Logan Act, says:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Only two people have ever been indicted for a Logan Act violation, and neither of them were convicted.

[Image via ALEX BRANDON/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.