Congressman Jared Huffman(D-CA) believes that Donald Trump may have violated the Logan Act, a law which prohibits private citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy. In order to ensure that future president-elects do not act like Trump, Huffman has introduced the “One President at a Time Act” which would amend the current Logan Act to make it a crime for the president-elect to interfere in foreign policy prior their inauguration.
A statement released by Huffman’s office says the law is intended to “ensure that U.S. foreign policy is conducted only by the sitting President.”
‘New legislation introduced by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) in the last hours of the 114th Congress would amend the Logan Act to ensure that U.S. foreign policy is conducted only by the sitting President, enshrining into law the longstanding policy that only one President serves at a time. The “One President at a Time Act” would require that in the period between a Presidential election and the President-elect’s inauguration into office, the President-elect cannot conduct foreign policy matters without the authorization of the United States government.’
During an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Huffman said that he believes it is possible that Trump has already violated the Logan Act. He said that he thinks Trump’s lawyers are simply too busy dealing with his many conflicts of interest to explain the Logan Act to him.
On the surface, at least, the act does appear to be a pretty clear prohibition of the president-elects’ behavior.
‘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.’
According to the statement released by Huffman’s office, the “One President at a Time Act” is meant to clarify the Logan Act rather than expand it as Huffman believes the act already applies to the president-elect.
‘The “One President at a Time Act” amends the Logan Act, which bars private citizens from engaging in foreign policy, to clarify that its authority extends to Presidents-elect during their transition period.’
For more information, you can watch Huffman’s interview with Lawrence O’Donnell below:
Featured image via MSNBC.