In an attempt to backtrack from his decision to sign a letter sent by 47 Republican Senators to Iran’s leaders, John McCain came up with what is quite possibly the most ridiculous excuse for his actions possible: “A snowstorm made me sign the letter.”
The letter in question, written by Tea Party freshman Senator Tom Cotton, purportedly aimed to “educate” Iran’s leadership about our Constitution. Unfortunately for all involved in the sending of the letter, the missive failed miserably at doing so.
“I should bring one important point to the attention of the authors and that is, the world is not the United States, and the conduct of inter-state relations is governed by international law, and not by US domestic law,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr. David Zarif said in response to the Senators’ love letter. “The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.”
He pointed out that, “not only do [they] not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy,” but that if “the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.”
McCain says he would have given the letter “closer consideration” if he was not running away from a little bit of snow. Politico reports:
“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Republicans — many of whom blessed the missive during a brisk signing session at a Senate lunch a week ago, as senators prepared to flee a Washington snowstorm — should have given it closer consideration.
“‘It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,’ McCain said. ‘I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.'”
That’s right — John McCain signed a controversial and unprecedented letter to the leaders of a nation with which we are in tenuous negotiations… without reading it thoroughly. What else could we expect, honestly? He did choose Sarah Palin as his running mate.
A petition asking that the 47 Senators who sent Iran a “Dear John” letter be charged under the Logan Act has already reached the required number of signatures to warrant a White House response. The Logan Act specifies a penalty of fines and up to three years imprisonment for what these Senators did:
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.
It is unsure if they will be charged — after all, with conservatives already calling for civil war, charging these men and women for the crimes they committed may just spark it off. As we saw at Bundy Ranch, the Right has no qualms with taking up arms against federal agents or placing innocent lives at risk just to make a point. However, what stronger message could President Obama send to Congress than to have the lawbreakers among our elected officials charged for attempting to sabotage negotiations?