On Monday, President Trump called out former Secretary of State John Kerry in a tweet for admitting to going around normal protocol and contacting America’s allies to try to keep the United States in the Iran deal. “The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal,” the President said.
Some have specualted that Kerry's actions were in violation of the Logan Act, a law that forbids private citizens from negotiating on America’s behalf. Alhough nobody has ever been convicted for violating it, the statute appeared in headlines last year when it came out that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had spoken with Russian officials during the transition. But this time around, the major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) couldn’t be bothered to give the possible violation a single second of airtime.
Back in early 2017, when the news about Flynn first broke, the Logan Act was a major topic of discussion for the liberal media. Both CBS’s Face the Nation and NBC’s Meet the Press mentioned the law, and on February 16 of that year, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was on Good Morning America wondering if Flynn could face charges for it.
“Not likely,” Legal correspondent Pierre Thomas told him. “The law that's in question is called the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign nations when there's a dispute with the US. There's never been a successful prosecution ever.”
Again, Kerry's actions may not have been a violation of the Logan Act. Yet the same media who did not hesitate to make a scandal out of Flynn’s (legal) meeting with foreign officials now seem not to care about Kerry’s self-directed diplomacy. The closest any of the networks came to mentioning the statute was when CBS Evening News reported that Kerry had “strategized with foreign officials about keeping the U.S. in the [Iran] agreement” and mentioned Trump’s tweet. There was no explanation for why Trump had even called Kerry's actions illegal.
Instead of mentioning Kerry’s actions, both ABC and NBC were more worried about Trump pulling the U.S. out of the deal. “Remember David, this is a deal he promised to tear up. European allies have been on a mission to try to convince him to stay in this deal,” said ABC White House correspondent Cecilia Vega on World News Tonight. “One European diplomat tells us tonight, David, it seems pretty obvious President Trump will exit this deal.”
“Tonight, is the deal dead,” worried NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker on NBC Nightly News. “President Trump tweeting late today ‘I will be announcing my decision on the Iran deal tomorrow.’ And it may be the biggest foreign policy test yet for a president who campaigned on a vow to rip up the deal increasingly signaling he's now eyeing the exits.”
Those in the liberal media who get complaints from people criticizing how much they hyperventilate about what President Trump tweets, often respond by arguing that he’s the president and what he says matters. But it’s times like these when they ignore certain points he makes, that proves them to be political opportunists.
The relevant portions of the transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:
CBS Evening News
May 7, 2018
6:35:14 PM Eastern
WEIJIA JIANG: President Trump has railed against it since the campaign, but American allies are hoping he will accept a side deal to address his concerns, like Iran's growing ballistic missile program. So is former Secretary of State John Kerry, who negotiated the deal. His office confirmed Kerry has strategized with foreign officials about keeping the U.S. in the agreement. Today Mr. Trump tweeted, "The United States does not need John Kerry's possibly illegal shadow diplomacy. He was the one that created this mess in the first place."
World News Tonight
May 7, 2018
6:37:24 PM Eastern
DAVID MUIR: Let’s get to Cecilia Vega, she’s live at the White House tonight. And Cecilia President Trump tweeting about Robert Mueller today, but also about the Iran nuclear deal. The President promising a big announcement tomorrow?
CECILIA VEGA: 2:00 P.M. tomorrow here at the White House. Remember David, this is a deal he promised to tear up. European allies have been on a mission to try to convince him to stay in this deal. You'll remember, French President Emmanuel Macron was here at the White House trying to convince President Trump in person. The Brits made a last ditch effort, even sending someone onto Fox News, hoping President Trump might hear their case. Well, one European diplomat tells us tonight, David, it seems pretty obvious President Trump will exit this deal.
MUIR: All right, we'll be watching with you tomorrow at 2:00 P.M., Cecilia.
NBC Nightly News
May 7, 2018
7:06:25 PM Eastern
KRISTEN WELKER: Tonight, is the deal dead? President Trump tweeting late today “I will be announcing my decision on the Iran deal tomorrow.” And it may be the biggest foreign policy test yet for a president who campaigned on a vow to rip up the deal increasingly signaling he's now eyeing the exits.
DONALD TRUMP: It was a terrible deal. Should have never ever been made.
WELKER: The six-nation agreement, which includes the E.U., required Iran to reduce the nuclear stockpiles and facilities in exchange for lifting most economic sanctions. The President argues the pact isn't tough enough at preventing Iran from advancing its nuclear and missile programs. But proponents say it's the only way to keep Iran in check. Key global allies have been shuttling through the White House to apply pressure including the leaders of France and Germany and, today, the British foreign secretary also in D.C.
WELKER: Foreign policy experts warn, pulling out could be a violation of the agreement.
NICK BURNS: Iran will then be under no obligation to continue to live under its restrictions and we’ll have created a crisis with our closest friends.