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Wash. Post's Milbank: GOP Iran Letter Has No Precedent

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:12 PM

The warning letter Republican senators sent to Iran this week goes a "step beyond" anything other lawmakers have done in the past to defy the White House, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank tells Newsmax TV.

Asked if Democrats, furious about the letter, are forgetting Sen. Nancy Pelosi spurned George W. Bush by jetting to Syria and Sen. Ted Kennedy secretly wrote to the Soviets during the Ronald Reagan years — Milbank said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show":

"This is another step beyond all of those things … because this is 47 or 54 Republican senators, so this is basically the majority of the Senate speaking in one voice, moving in a very specific way to undercut the executive. It's by matter of degree that it doesn't have a precedent."

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Milbank said nobody should be surprised, though.

"Anybody who's shocked that politics doesn't stop at the water's edge hasn't been paying attention for the last 20 years, because politics crossed the ocean a very long time ago," he said.

"It's not as if this is the first time politics has been injected into international affairs."

In the case of Pelosi, the California Democrat met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in defiance of the Bush administration. With Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat is said to have secretly asked the Soviets to help intervene on behalf of Democrats in the 1984 elections.

Milbank was bothered by the long list of key Republican names on the Iran letter, which warned Iran that any nuclear-limitation deal with President Barack Obama would be eventually negated by Congress.

"If you told me that Ted Cruz [of Texas] and four or five others in the Senate had signed this letter, I don't think anybody would be talking about it," he said.

"What's amazing is that only seven of the 54 didn't and serious grownups like Mitch McConnell [of Kentucky] and John McCain [of Arizona] were among those.

"So I don't think anything that we've seen previously really comes close to this. That's not to say there aren't a lot history at least in the last 20 years of politicians meddling in unnecessary ways in international affairs."

On the uproar over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account for government business, Milbank believes she'll still be the 2016 Democratic pick for president.

"The other viable alternatives, [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren [of Massachusetts] clearly isn't planning to run and [Vice President] Joe Biden would like to run but sees no path because of the Clinton candidacy," Milbank said.

"And then you've got people like [former Maryland Gov.] Martin O'Malley and [former Virginia Sen.] Jim Webb who really, don't seem to be in a position to give her any sort of a serious run.

"So they feel like, for better or worse, Clinton is their candidate and a lot of Democrats are now wondering how much damage will be inflicted on her and will she still be strong enough? It should be a good Democratic year next year based on the way things are going, but that only works if you've got a solid candidate."

As far as the GOP presidential field, Republicans "always seem to settle on the obvious, which in this case is going to be Jeb [Bush]," Milbank said.

"They're going to go through the flirtation with [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker, they'll probably do it with each of the others just like happened last time and the previous time, and then, ultimately, they always seem to wind up with the obvious guy who's sort of everybody's second choice.

"I hope I'm wrong as somebody who would like an interesting race to cover and not another Bush-Clinton race. I want [Sen.] Rand Paul [of Kentucky] versus Elizabeth Warren."

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The warning letter Republican senators sent to Iran this week goes a "step beyond" anything other lawmakers have done in the past to defy the White House, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank tells Newsmax TV.
dana milbank, republican, senators, letter, iran
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2015-12-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:12 PM
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