The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Kathleen Hunter, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Iranian leaders “clearly have the message now” from a letter that 47 Senate Republicans wrote warning that a future U.S. Congress could reverse any nuclear deal, the chief author said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama views the Republican-led Congress as a “nuisance,” said freshman Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, as he defended the letter following criticism from U.S. allies and lawmakers including some fellow Republicans.

“This president views Congress as an afterthought,” Cotton said at a breakfast with Bloomberg reporters and editors in Washington. “Iran’s leaders clearly have the message now, and I think it was important they got the message.”

Cotton said he “absolutely” stands by the decision to address the March 9 letter to Iran’s leaders. White House officials and Democratic lawmakers have accused Cotton and his colleagues who signed the letter of undermining the administration’s efforts to forge an agreement with Iran in the nuclear talks ahead of a March 24 deadline.

“That’s because they know the offer is indefensible,” Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former U.S. Army lieutenant, said of the Democratic criticism. He accused the administration of being unable to defend “the very bad deal that they’re about to make.”

At least two Republicans who signed the letter — John McCain of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — said last week that they would have approached the matter differently in retrospect.

Johnson said it may have been “a tactical error” to address the letter to Iranian leaders, rather than to Obama’s administration or the American people. McCain, a prominent Republican voice on foreign affairs and national security, said an impending snowstorm in Washington short-circuited more measured consideration of the letter.

The missive has escalated political rancor in Washington surrounding the Iran negotiations, complicating Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker’s efforts to cobble together enough Democratic votes for legislation to require congressional review of any Iran nuclear deal to overcome an Obama veto.

Republicans hold 54 seats in the Senate and ten Democrats have said they’ll support Corker’s measure, though only after the end-of-the-month deadline passes for the current round of negotiations among the U.S., five other world powers and Iran. That’s three votes short of the number needed to override a veto.

Corker was one of seven Senate Republicans who didn’t sign the letter.

The Associated Press, citing a senior U.S. official, reported Monday that Iranian officials have twice in recent days confronted U.S. negotiators, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, over the letter.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The FBI seized the phone of former U.S. President Donald Trump's election attorney, John Eastman, last week, the lawyer said in a court filing on Monday.

Keep reading... Show less


YouTube Screenshot

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, some conservatives and mainstream media outlets have suggested that anti-abortionists may be willing to support more generous family welfare programs to offset the financial burden of forced birth. These suggestions, whether made in bad faith or ignorance, completely misunderstand the social function of prohibiting abortion, which is to exert control over women and all people who can get pregnant.

In adopting or replicating the right’s framing of anti-abortionists as “pro-life,” these outlets mystify the conservative movement’s history and current goals. Conservatives have sought to dismantle the United State’s limited safety net since the passage of the New Deal. Expecting the movement to reverse course now is absurd, and suggesting so serves primarily to obfuscate the economic hardship the end of Roe will inflict on people forced to carry a pregnancy to term.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}