In PLAYBOOK this morning:
As the U.S. builds up a military presence around Iran, SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN had a private dinner with @JZarif, Iran’s foreign minister, when he was in the United States a few weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/qLWNYjnl9H
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) May 23, 2019
When Politico Playbook reported Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s recent dinner with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, the California lawmaker’s office declared the meeting was “arranged in consultation with the State Department.
But a State Department official told the newsletter that’s not true.
Feinstein’s office had said it “was in touch with State in advance of the meeting to let them know it was happening and to get an update on U.S.-Iran activity.”
Politico Playbook noted the United States and Iran “are in the middle of a high-wire diplomatic and military staring contest.”
The United States, which has moved additional military resources into the region, says it has intelligence that the Iranians were preparing to attack American interests in the region.
Politico observed it’s “a bit unusual that Feinstein, the former chair and vice chair of the Intelligence Committee and a member of the Senate minority, is dining with the foreign minister of an adversary.”
The White House did not respond to two emails seeking comment.
Pompeo: Kerry violated Logan Act
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday confirmed President Trump’s claim that John Kerry violated the Logan Act, saying he witnessed the former secretary of state meeting with Iranian leaders.
“It’s true. I was there in Munich … I saw not only Kerry … [others] met with the Iranian leadership,” Pompeo told “Fox and Friends” on Thursday.
“It’s unusual, but more importantly, it’s wrong.”
The Logan Act bars unauthorized persons from negotiating with foreign governments.
A spokesman for Kerry, Matt Summers, said earlier this month in a statement that Trump’s claim “is simply wrong, end of story.”
Trump said Kerry was engaged in secret talks with Iranian diplomats in an effort to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal after it was canceled by Trump.
“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” Trump said. “John Kerry, he speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That is a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that.”
The United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018. At the time, Trump called the agreement “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. He said “it didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
In the “Fox and Friends” interview, Pompeo said “every American should support America’s foreign policy.”
“They had their moment, they had their day,” he said regarding the Obama administration. “It’s time to get off the stage.”