The "T" word — treason — is being lobbed at 47 Republican senators who signed an open letter to Iranian leaders warning that any deal Tehran strikes with the Obama administration may be reversed by a future president.
During an appearance Monday on MSNBC, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said that the letter undermines the president to the degree that it "borders on treason," Breitbart
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"I think this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing," Dean said. "How long has he been a senator? Two months? This is ridiculous. It’s really outrageous. And if Tom Cotton wasn’t a veteran of the Armed Forces, I would say this borders on treason ...
"You don’t undermine the president of the United States. It’s disrespectful not only to President Obama but disrespectful to the office of the presidency. You can disagree with a foreign policy, and, in fact, I actually don’t think that the Iranians are trustworthy. And I worry about a deal, but to do something like this, it just is breathtaking," Dean said.
The White House has condemned the letter,
as have Democrats and a smattering of Republicans. Organized by newly elected Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the letter warns that while the Constitution allows the president to negotiate international agreements, Congress "plays the significant role of ratifying them."
Should Congress not approve of an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, it would be considered nothing more than an executive order between the president and Iran subject to revocation or modification by a future administration.
The New York Daily News splashed the headline "Traitors" on its front page, while Twitter users took to social media site to slay the lawmakers.
Twitter user @VickeiRock, who describes herself as a progressive blogger, asked Attorney General Eric Holder:
A woman with the Twitter handle @KimberlyArtist wrote:
According to Quartz.com,
Article III of the Constitution defines treason against the United States as "levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."
points out that there is no official war declaration against Iran and it would be "hard to see how the negotiation of a nuclear deal, or the opposition to one, would rise to the level of treason."
Seven Senate Republicans did not sign the letter, including Tennessee’s Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He told The Wall Street Journal
that he’s focused on gathering support for legislation giving Congress a 60-day review period for any agreement.
The others who declined to sign are Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Quartz.com reports that petitions are circulating calling for the senators to face legal action. The hashtag #47Traitors has been coined to send Twitter messages to the 47 senators.
On Monday, WhiteHouse.gov posted on its website a petition
asking the Obama administration to "file charges against the 47 U.S. Senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement."
The petition states that the letter constitutes a treasonous offense and the Logan Act of 1799 "forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years."
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