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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Washington (AFP) – Barack Obama pilloried Republicans over an incendiary letter to Iran’s leaders that warned a nuclear deal with the United States could be scrapped by the next president.

Forty-seven Senate Republicans — including several potential 2016 presidential candidates — made the unprecedented move of directly and publicly addressing leaders of the Islamic Republic in a bid to scupper the sensitive talks.

“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system,” the letter said.

Republicans warned any deal agreed before Obama leaves office in 2017 is “nothing more than an executive agreement between President Barack Obama and (supreme leader) Ayatollah Khamenei.”

“The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” they added.

Obama reacted by saying he would make his case to voters.

“I think it is somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with hardliners in Iran,” Obama said. “It is an unusual coalition.”

“What we are going to focus on right now is actually seeing whether we can get a deal,” added Obama.

“Once we do, if we do, then we’ll be able to make the case to the American people.”

Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator with decades of experience in Congress, opened fire with a harsher edge saying Republicans put the United States in peril with their misstep.

“The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.

“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,” he said.

“This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our commander-in-chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments — a message that is as false as it is dangerous.

“Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger,” Biden added.

It is rare for bitter US partisan divides to bleed over to a party actively undermining foreign policy.

But with talks on a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program now in the final stages, the adage that “politics stops at the water’s edge” has been tossed overboard.

Republican leaders recently invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, despite White House anger over the visit.

Netanyahu, just weeks before a re-election bid, warned a brokered deal would not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Instead, he said, “it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.”

With a March deadline looming, negotiators are furiously working to agree on a deal that would curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for reducing Western sanctions.

A new round of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 15.

The deal is seen as a key foreign policy goal of the Obama administration.

Many Republicans — and several Democrats — fear such an accord would loosen economic sanctions on Tehran while leaving it free to secretly attempt to develop nuclear weapons technology.

Iran insists it is developing nuclear power for civilian purposes.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced legislation requiring Obama to submit any pending deal with Iran for congressional approval.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who signed Friday’s letter, agreed to delay consideration of the bill, amid complaints from Democrats.

The White House accused Republicans of partisanship, throwing “sand in the gears” and holding a false belief that military action could stall Iran’s nuclear program.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid spoke out against the Republican’s “unprecedented” intervention in sensitive international negotiations “with the sole goal of embarrassing the president of the United States.”

But the initiator of the letter, freshman Senator Tom Cotton, said that while the final terms have yet to be hammered out, details that have emerged already make the deal unpalatable.

“We know so far that Susan Rice, the president’s national security advisor, has already conceded that Iran will have a robust uranium enrichment capability,” Cotton told Fox News.

“The president has said this deal will have a sunset, perhaps as little as ten years. Those two terms alone make this deal unacceptable — dangerous to the United States and dangerous to the world.”

Photo: Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) stands next to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd R) during a round of nuclear negotiations on March 2, 2015, in Montreux, Switzerland (AFP/Evan Vucci)

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Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • FireBaron

    Someone needs to remind Mitch McConnell’s unruly children that their authority stops at the high-tide line.

    • Independent1

      Mitch may well have been a party to breaking the Logan Act which could send all those 47 senators to prison if the Justice Department has the guts to prosecute them.

      See this wording of the Logan Act enacted in 1799:

      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.

  • 1standlastword

    “I think it is somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with hardliners in Iran,” Obama said. “It is an unusual coalition.”
    I respectfully beg to differ with the POTUS. The hardliners here and there want to be on permanent footing for war to justify a build up for actual war.
    So far as the mutiny of the 47 senate republicans this action was the logical follow through on breaking protocol with the address invitation.
    To my knowledge there has never been a time in the history of our country when one party has been so actively engaged in the destruction of the credibility of a POTUS as this modern republican party.
    I predict bad times to come!
    I think 2016 is going to be the most unholy presidential campaign we’ve ever seen. And, if we are so unlucky as to get a republican POTUS…any republican–we will have war for profit under the guise of spreading democracy once again.

    • Independent1

      See the wording to the Logan Act from 1799 which these 47 Senators broke. I posted the wording for Frank King.

      • 1standlastword

        It’s all over the net:
        Unfortunately, there will be no prosecutions. History will be very harsh with modern republicans. The insanity of this 21st c. conservative republicanism has no comparison in the history of our republic and the list of injuries to the State and the People is recorded for posterity. And the worse is yet to come.

        • Independent1

          I realize the Logan Act has never been taken seriously; but I also doubt seriously that anyone has ever done anything as blatantly treasonous as this bunch of traitorous legislators. There needs to be a first for everything – even if these idiots aren’t convicted, they should be made a spectacle of to the American public so as to prevent any future legislative similar idiots from repeating such a stupid act!!!

          • 1standlastword

            Unfortunately Obama’s administration doesn’t walk tall or carry a stick of any size against the political violence and injury modern republicans perpetrate on the State, the Office and the People.

            We live in an age of political insanity and impunity starting back at the turn of the century when the gates of Hell officially open with those elections leading into a long list of afflictions for the People.

            So, while I agree something should “official” in the way of consequence should happen–I don’t see an avenue to justice nor a will to bring it. For the last 15 years America has lost her way both morally and politically and that makes me just as angry as it does sad!!!!!!

            And we all know that where there is no consequences for bad behavior it get worse and that I’m afraid is what is before us.
            I predict people are going to spend one-trillion + dollars to buy a POTUS in 2016 and herein is the core of the problem…and there is NO political will to change course!

  • Frank KIng

    The President has to realize that this HR/Senate consists of religious right fundamentalist evangelicals whose allegiance is to the “Old Testament” and not to the articles of the Constitution. Israel’s protection and progress is the primary concern for the current government and not for any other concern or interest in the world. I don’t know if it’s the Apocalypse or the “”Rapture” that is upper most in their minds but it isn’t stopping the growth of nuclear proliferation. If the President cannot pursue foregn affairs as directed by the Constitution without interference before presenting the treaty to the Senate, then obstructing and undermining the process in thought , word or deed for political gain or advantage is unconstitutional and requires a cease and desist order from the courts and/or a reprimand. When are we going to hear from a Ukrainian representative invited to speak before congresss about the nasty Russians, and be fair to all those oppressed.

    • Independent1

      And it looks like these 47 Senators actually broke the Logan Act of 1799 and really should be in prison.

      See this:

      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.

      • Frank KIng

        Thank you for presenting the legal document that must be read on the floor of the Senate to reveal the nature and corruptive influence this body has created to undermine a constitutional duty delegated to the President that borders on sedition. Stay Well.

    • johninPCFL

      The evangelicals in Congress are lining up with the founders of ISIS to begin the End Times. Both groups celebrate it, and both groups are pushing for it. This is EXACTLY what happens when theology buts in to governance.

  • Independent1

    Well, here’s what a neoconservative newspaper thinks of the 47 Republicans who they say embarrased the Senate and the Nation.

  • Bozeman

    Well, if one thing is clear, it’s that Obama is very delusional.

    • Independent1

      He’s very delusional?? Really?? Would you care to explain that?? Or you really don’t have any examples so you just say things to denigrate him because he happens to be black??

      But if he is delusional, his delusion has resulted in America accomplishing more over the past 6 years than was accomplished in the 28 years that the last 5 worthless GOP presidents were in office who accomplished very little really beneficial to our country. They spent most of their time working to shuttle money into the pockets of the already wealthy, destroy unions and do everything they could to see that their rich buddies in companies who shovel money into their pockets ended up doing very well!!

      Let’s see you post something positive that these last 5 dimwits actually accomplished.

      Here’s just a selected few accomplishments of the many for Obama:

      Obama has presided over the longest stretch of positive jobs
      growth in U.S. history (60 months & counting).

      -The stock market has virtually tripled during Obama’s 6 years in office to heights never reached before making retirement much easier for millions of retirees such as myself.

      -America’s energy sector is now the largest producer of energy on the planet for the 1st time in history; creating an alternative energy sector that will soon make fossil fuels needed only for backup energy.

      -More troublesome illegal aliens have been rounded up and deported in the past 6 years than under any other president (or combination of presidents) .

      -The auto industry that Obama bailed out is achieving profits the past 2 years it hadn’t seen since the 1990s. And a 1.5 million people are working today who wouldn’t be had the industry gone bankrupt.

      -Deficit spending has come down further and faster over the past 6 years than at any other time in our history: from 1.4T to under 450B in 5 budgets.

      -Unemployment has come down further and faster over the past 6 years than at any other time in our history: from 10.1% to under 5.8%. A year plus much faster than it came down under Reagan.

      -The Obama administration has brought more crooks to justice trying to defraud our government in the Defense and Health Care sectors; recovering Billions of dollars – more than any combination of previous presidents.

      -Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Package incentivized the private sector to create numerous alternative energy companies in the solar, wind, hydro, tidal and plasma fields such that the alternative energy sector is poised to greatly reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels in the near future.

      -America’s new health care legislation, ACA, has already been responsible for keeping at least 75,000 Americans from dying prematurely; and for creating thousands of new jobs while saving hospitals more than $6 billion and saving taxpayers in states across America millions to billions depending on their populations.

      -By cutting the banks out of the student loan process, Obama has allowed hundreds of thousands, maybe millions more HS students to get loans for college than under any previous president.

      • gunslinger

        Race card pulled = guilty!

        • jmprint

          Your name says it all, KKK!

          • gunslinger

            The NRA is the oldest human rights organization in America. If you don’t believe me…. look it up! KKK my a**. Gun owners are the true patriots of the country whom stand up for the Constitution!

          • jmprint

            They are not a human rights organization, they are a FOR PROFIT republican propaganda machine.

          • Independent1

            Wow!! Are you ever seriously brainwashed with that absolute horse manure!! No true patriots would pull the idiotic stuff that you gun wackos go in for!! You’re no better than the ISIS terrorists!! In fact, there’s been an article recently that law enforcement in America is more concerned about wackos like yourself who have banded into crazy militias than they are of terrorists. You need to wake up!! You’re seriously delusional!!

      • gunslinger

        Check your facts on the big round up of illegals. You may be surprised. Illegal immigration with full government benefits and not enforcing immigration laws is what kills unions. Check the wages of meat packing industry employees from the 70s to present and tell me how illegals have benefited U.S. union members. As a result of “BIG WELFARE” and non enforcement of immigration laws, a severe decline in union density has occurred. With unions throwing all their support behind democrats failed policies for decades, more workers detest unions and no longer wish to be affiliated with them. When the unions have been eradicated, all hourly workers will suffer a steep decline in wages but at the same time be eligible for all the “BIG WELFARE” programs legislated by democrats for illegals, low income earners. And as a result, the democrat party will OWN them and their vote forever!

        • jmprint

          YOU ARE A DUMB IDIOT! The republicans kill the unions. Wages are set by greedy employers, quit blaming the immigrants.

          • gunslinger

            Who do you think you’re kidding? Real immigrants come here LEGALLY! These are Obama law breakers migrating to support the democrats that unions no longer have the members to do so. For their efforts the democrats have promised them privileges over legal American citizens. More “free stuff” at the expense of the “REAL MIDDLE CLASS” not that of whom Obama is pandering to! How many real “middle class” workers don’t have healthcare. Please don’t say these welfare benefits (entitlements) are a benefit to the real “middle class” because they are not but rather more of a burden to them!

          • jmprint

            Stop it, the immigrants are not coming here to vote for Obama, nor the Democrats. I am not speaking about all of them when I say this, but there are a lot of them that are coming here, because the want to survive, and waiting is not an option. You are wrong in saying that they are being lured here for a vote. You are a blatant lier. I am middle class and didn’t have insurance, at 1200. a month I had to drop it, and I’m sure there are thousands of middle class in the same boat. And when did I say entitlement are a benefit to the middle class. President Obama is trying hard ti help all US citizens.

          • gunslinger

            If workers don’t ORGANIZE, greedy employers will always prevail.
            Workers resist the union because of their support for the failed policies of the democrats like turning their heads on illegal immigration. They want to CONTROL (eliminate) guns but do nothing to curb the biggest detriment to U.S. workers, “ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION”!

          • jmprint

            The Democrats have been pushing for immigration reform, you know it’s the republicans that have been for years avoiding it. When has anybody EVER said anything about eliminating guns YOU’RE LIEING. And yes you are correct in saying it is the fault of the republican voter for union breakups.

        • Independent1

          Everything you posted is pure HOGWASH!! And the think tanks of virtually all political factions knows that!! Only clueless RWNJs such as yourself believe all those lies!!!!!!!!

          See this:

          Left and Right Agree: Immigrants Don’t Take American Jobs

          March 22, 2013 As Congress considers immigration reform, experts across the political spectrum say American jobs are safe.

          That immigrants take the jobs of American-born citizens is “something that virtually no learned person believes in,” Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, said at a Thursday panel. “It’s sort of a silly thing.”

          Most economists don’t find immigrants driving down wages or jobs, the Brookings Institution’sMichael Greenstone and Adam Looney wrote in May. In fact, “on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans,” they write. Foreign-born workers don’t affect the employment rate positively or negatively, according to a 2011 analysis from the conservative American Enterprise Institute. And a study released Wednesday by the liberal Center for American Progress suggests that granting legal status to undocumented workers might even create jobs.

          The CAP study, led by the visiting head of the Washington College economics department, sought to predict what would happen under immigration reform. The researchers considered a handful of scenarios. In each, it was presumed that the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants would be immediately granted legal status. They then looked at the effect of those undocumented immigrants not being granted citizenship at all over a decade, getting it immediately, or getting it in five years.

          Legal status alone would lead to the creation of 121,000 extra jobs annually over the next 10 years, they found. Getting citizenship within five years would increase that to 159,000 jobs per year. And receiving both legal status and citizenship this year would create an extra 203,000 jobs annually.

        • Independent1

          And with respect to destroying unions and instituting right-to-pay-you-as-little-as-possible laws; see this about Wisconsin: It’s already losing one major company:

          First WI casualty of Right to Work, Major company moving to Minnesota

          Hoffman Construction, a major road building and mining company is abandoning Wisconsin because of the Right to Work legislation just passed.

          According to Duluth News Tribune “Hoffman said Monday night that the reason is twofold: he believes the right-to-work law will ultimately cost his company money, and he sees Minnesota’s proposal to increase transportation funding as offering greater business opportunities.”
          Some companies realize that union work is an advantage to companies. Working together on problems, joint safety committees, agreeing on other items like seniority, vacation, health care can only make a company stronger.

        • Independent1

          Walkers idiotic anti-job/anti-union BS already has Wisconsin down about 34th in the nation in job creation and as favorable to business, while Minnesota next door which started out in about the same position as Wisconsin 4 years ago (although it was saddled with 6 billion in debt thanks to nitwit Republican Pawlenty) is 9th in the Nation as favorable to business and 5th with respect to job creation with an unemployment rate of 3.6%.

          Minnesota’s Dem governor 4 years ago not only raised taxes on the upper 2%, he raised the min wage and mandated that women be paid the same as men for doing the same job. So over the past 4 years he not only erased that 6 billion in debt, Minnesota now has a 1.2 billion surplus while Wisconsin under Walker is floundering under 2 billion in debt that’s growing.

          There couldn’t be any bigger contrast in how these two states have fared over the past 4 years. Minnesota is thriving while Wisconsin is seeking further into oblivion.

    • jmprint

      ANd you are a TRAITOR.

  • gunslinger

    Perhaps now the president knows what it feels like to be trumped by the “EXECUTIVE ORDER” of others also not consistent with protocol.

    • jmprint

      So it’s ok with you, that these idiots embarrassed, humiliated and endangered the US. This is not a game you guys, you are making our country weak, by acting like spoiled little white boys.

    • johninPCFL

      Well, we do know that the Ayatollah really likes Tom Cotton. He has a home there for him when he retires.

  • Wedge Shot

    The Republicans that signed that letter should be charged with treason under the Logan Act.
    They have sunk to a new low. Just remember that the time will come when a Republican is in the White house and then the Democrats might want to pull the same stunt.
    Undermining the President of the United States is despicable and in this case illegal.
    Charge the 47 Senators of violating the Logan Act and then let the courts sort it out.

  • Wedge Shot

    The Democratic Senators need start a special hearing on the action the 47 Republican Senators took in writing the Iranians about undermining the authority of the President of the United States and the Executive branch of government and violating the Logan Act.
    It is time that the Logan Act be tested in a court of law so the Attorney General should start proceeding to prosecute those 47 Senators on the grounds that they violated the Act and may have also committed treason.

  • InformedVoter

    It would appear that the Republicans are doing what the Democrats and Obama have been doing for the past 6+ years. Time and again, Obama has bypassed Congress with his Executive Orders and Directives. The 2014 elections showed that the people are tired of Obama acting like he is a dictator. So instead of following what the voters wanted, Obama went more rogue. The 47 Senators bypassed Obama and let the World know that the real power is the Crongress and not a dillusional egotist.