A new report from the Washington Times alleges that former Secretary of State and current Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and current special envoy on Iran policy Robert Malley, were in backchannel communication with the Iranian regime throughout the Trump administration.
If true, some political analysts warn the actions could be tantamount to a violation of the Logan Act, the federal law dating back to 1799 that criminalizes negotiation between unauthorized Americans and foreign governments.
According to the report, Kerry, who has already publicly acknowledged meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif multiple times in the early days of Trump's presidency, and Malley met with Iranian officials as part of a counter-diplomacy effort. Both men were former Obama-era officials that sought to provide "for the Iranian regime to bypass Trump and work directly with Obama administration veterans that Tehran hoped would soon return to power in Washington."
The report relies on a number of unnamed national security and national intelligence sources, with one saying that the point of the Kerry/Malley meetings with Iran was "to devise a political strategy to undermine the Trump administration."
Obama-era officials made no secret of their intent to transition back to a more compliant U.S. posture towards Iran once Trump was out of office. To that end, one meeting that Malley conducted with Zarif took place after President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which the 45th president had ridiculed as dangerous and ineffective.
In one particularly concerning revelation in the report, it seems President Trump attempted to set up his own backchannel negotiation with the Iranian regime sometime in 2019 in the hopes of defusing escalating tensions between the two countries. Iran refused, all the while the terror-state was conducting secret meetings with the top Obama-era Democrats.
"[I]t is not good practice for senior officials who served at the highest levels of a former administration, Democratic or Republican, to be trying to undermine the policy of a sitting administration by engaging actively with a known enemy of the United States," noted Mark Dubowitz, who heads up the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in D.C.