Republican Senators have sparked a serious controversy in the United States.
They went behind the president’s back and penned a letter to top Iranian officials trying to undercut the nuclear negotiations – an act that subsequently violated the Logan Act, which forbids any U.S. citizen, acting without official U.S. authority, from influencing "disputes or controversies" involving the U.S. and a foreign government.
Drafted by Sen. Tom Cotton, the open letter featured signatures from 47 GOP senators warning Iran that the nuclear deal currently being crafted by the U.S. and other world powers probably wouldn't survive beyond Obama's presidency.
Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration reacted furiously to what is being called "an attempt to sabotage the nuke deal."
Congressional Democrats and the White House accused the affiliated lawmakers of “seeking to circumvent the constitution” and trigger a “rush to war.”
“Writing a letter like this that appeals to the hard-liners in Iran is frankly just the latest in a strategy, a partisan strategy, to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy and advance our national interests around the world,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
Vice President Joe Biden also accused the lawmakers of attempting to undermine President Obama and implying that he is not strong enough to deliver on America’s commitments.
“I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country – much less a longtime foreign adversary – that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them,” he added.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also condemned the letter from Republican senators to Iran, saying their warning that the U.S. could dismantle the nuclear deal was “out of step with the traditions of American leadership.”
Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans remain unapologetic. Some, including those who didn't add their names, even deflected the blame toward the president himself. They believe that if it weren't for “Obama's failure to consult lawmakers about the negotiations," senators wouldn't have had to speak out in the first place.
Cotton also defended the letter.
“We're making sure that Iran's leaders understand if Congress doesn't approve a deal, Congress won't accept a deal,” he said. “Because we're committing to stopping Iran from getting a weapon.”
Angry citizens started a petition to file treason charges “against the 47 U.S. senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement” on whitehouse.gov. For an official response from the White House, the goal of the petition was 100,000 signatures, a threshold it has already crossed.