On March 9th, 2015, forty-seven United States Senators committed a treasonous offense when they decided to violate the Logan Act, a 1799 law which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.
At a time when the United States government is attempting to reach a potential nuclear agreement with the Iranian government, 47 Senators saw fit to instead issue a condescending letter to the Iranian government stating that any agreement brokered by our President would not be upheld once the president leaves office.
This is a clear violation of federal law. In attempting to undermine our own nation, these 47 senators have committed treason.
Response to Petition
Thank you for signing a White House We the People petition about the negotiations that recently culminated in a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, announced on July 14.
Setting aside the 47 senators your petition references for a moment, the United States and our international partners have reached an historic deal with Iran -- one which will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That was our chief goal, it is a goal we achieved.
These negotiations were not about securing just any deal, but the right deal. That success took months of tough and intense negotiations between Iran and the United States, Russia, U.K., China, France, and Germany, along with the European Union.
As your petition indicated, America's ability to secure this deal depended in part on our ability to demonstrate that we will honor our commitments and take the lead in diplomacy. Vice President Joe Biden, who served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years, directly responded to the 47 senators' action.
Here's what he said:
This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger. ...
The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.
You can read more of what Vice President Biden had to say here.
Congress has played an important role in this process to date, and by passing tough sanctions laws, was instrumental in helping bring Iran to the negotiating table. In addition, Congress now has an opportunity to review the final deal.
The United States has a longstanding practice of addressing sensitive problems in negotiations that culminate in political commitments, including in areas of national security significance. The issues at stake here are bigger than politics. As the President has said, "these are matters of war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on the facts and what is ultimately best for the American people."
That's exactly why we launched a new Twitter account -- @TheIranDeal -- to deliver the facts on what is in the Iran deal and how it'll work. Got a question? Follow @TheIranDeal and tweet your question. We'll set the record straight.
You can learn more about the specifics of the Iran nuclear deal here: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/iran-deal
Follow @WeThePeople on Twitter all day long for a series of Q+As with various Administration officials on the petition responses we released today.