President Donald Trump said former Secretary of State John Kerry should be prosecuted for talking with Iranian officials after leaving office.
The president made his comments on Thursday during an exchange with reporters. The Washington Post detailed his remarks in a report posted later in the day. He accused Kerry of telling Iranian officials not to speak with the Trump administration.
“I’d like to see — with Iran, I’d like to see them call me,” Trump said. “You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that.
“But my people don’t want to do anything that’s — only the Democrats do that kind of stuff, you know? If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act.”
The Post noted the Logan Act prohibits private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the government without prior authorization. Last September, Kerry told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he had met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif three or four times.
Kerry had helped put together the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. The deal was later scrapped by Trump.
The newspaper said it appears to be the first time Trump has publicly acknowledged asking officials to examine whether Kerry could be prosecuted.
“Everything President Trump said today is simply wrong, end of story,” said Matt Summers, a spokesman for Kerry.