1
   

NANCY PELOSI: GREAT AMERICAN OR FELON?

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 10:47 am
You hear a lot of comments around the internet, on the talk shows, in the commentaries, etc. re whether Nancy Pelosi is a good American or acting improperly in her trip to the Middle East. It had not occurred to me that what she has been doing could actually be a felonious act, however.

What do you think?

From today's WSJ:

AT LAW
Illegal Diplomacy
Did Nancy Pelosi commit a felony when she went to Syria?

BY ROBERT F. TURNER
Friday, April 6, 2007 11:30 a.m. EDT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may well have committed a felony in traveling to Damascus this week, against the wishes of the president, to communicate on foreign-policy issues with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The administration isn't going to want to touch this political hot potato, nor should it become a partisan issue. Maybe special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, whose aggressive prosecution of Lewis Libby establishes his independence from White House influence, should be called back.

The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States." Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble.

President John Adams requested the statute after a Pennsylvania pacifist named George Logan traveled to France in 1798 to assure the French government that the American people favored peace in the undeclared "Quasi War" being fought on the high seas between the two countries. In proposing the law, Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut explained that the object was, as recorded in the Annals of Congress, "to punish a crime which goes to the destruction of the executive power of the government. He meant that description of crime which arises from an interference of individual citizens in the negotiations of our executive with foreign governments."

The debate on this bill ran nearly 150 pages in the Annals. On Jan. 16, 1799, Rep. Isaac Parker of Massachusetts explained, "the people of the United States have given to the executive department the power to negotiate with foreign governments, and to carry on all foreign relations, and that it is therefore an usurpation of that power for an individual to undertake to correspond with any foreign power on any dispute between the two governments, or for any state government, or any other department of the general government, to do it."

Griswold and Parker were Federalists who believed in strong executive power. But consider this statement by Albert Gallatin, the future Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, who was wary of centralized government: "it would be extremely improper for a member of this House to enter into any correspondence with the French Republic . . . As we are not at war with France, an offence of this kind would not be high treason, yet it would be as criminal an act, as if we were at war." Indeed, the offense is greater when the usurpation of the president's constitutional authority is done by a member of the legislature--all the more so by a Speaker of the House--because it violates not just statutory law but constitutes a usurpation of the powers of a separate branch and a breach of the oath of office Ms. Pelosi took to support the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has spoken clearly on this aspect of the separation of powers. In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall used the president's authority over the Department of State as an illustration of those "important political powers" that, "being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive." And in the landmark 1936 Curtiss-Wright case, the Supreme Court reaffirmed: "Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it."

Ms. Pelosi and her Congressional entourage spoke to President Assad on various issues, among other things saying, "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace." She is certainly not the first member of Congress--of either party--to engage in this sort of behavior, but her position as a national leader, the wartime circumstances, the opposition to the trip from the White House, and the character of the regime she has chosen to approach make her behavior particularly inappropriate.

Of course, not all congressional travel to, or communications with representatives of, foreign nations is unlawful. A purely fact-finding trip that involves looking around, visiting American military bases or talking with U.S. diplomats is not a problem. Nor is formal negotiation with foreign representatives if authorized by the president. (FDR appointed Sens. Tom Connally and Arthur Vandenberg to the U.S. delegation that negotiated the U.N. Charter.) Ms. Pelosi's trip was not authorized, and Syria is one of the world's leading sponsors of international terrorism. It has almost certainly been involved in numerous attacks that have claimed the lives of American military personnel from Beirut to Baghdad.

The U.S. is in the midst of two wars authorized by Congress. For Ms. Pelosi to flaunt the Constitution in these circumstances is not only shortsighted; it may well be a felony, as the Logan Act has been part of our criminal law for more than two centuries. Perhaps it is time to enforce the law.

Mr. Turner was acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in 1984-85 and is a former chairman of the ABA standing committee on law and national security.
http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009908
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,718 • Replies: 21
No top replies

 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 11:36 am
I think all of those involved in the trip should be censured offically.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 11:38 am
Baldimo wrote:
I think all of those involved in the trip should be cersured offically.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 11:47 am
If, by saying Ms. Pelosi is 'flaunting the Constitution', the author means she is using her rights under the First Amendment to express her own views, I am in favor of such flaunting.

Joe(According to George such delegations are worthless exercises, so what could be the harm?)Nation
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 11:49 am
What a bunch of fools the Right wing are for pushing this story. As I always have said, the Republican party can't play defense worth a damn - all they know how to do is attack.

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2007/04/was_pelosi_unfa.html

Quote:


Take it up with the State department if you have an issue.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:01 pm
Baldimo wrote:
I think all of those involved in the trip should be censured offically.


so you'll be calling for censure of the State Department?

I'd love to see a copy of your email/letter.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:05 pm
Since when does the Washington Post represent or speak for right wing fools? Most of us think it tilts pretty far left. The article you posted cited strong criticism from the WaPo.

If she was in fact briefed by the State Department re meeting with foreign leaders, that is one thing. But what briefing did she receive? And why was the President and Vice President not advised of this briefing if she in fact was briefed on meeting with foreign dignitaries?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:10 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Since when does the Washington Post represent or speak for right wing fools?


Since Fred Hiatt took over as the editor. There have been nothing but idiotic, right-wing editorials ever since.

Quote:
Most of us think it tilts pretty far left. The article you posted cited strong criticism from the WaPo.


That's because you tilt pretty far right. Everything other than the radical fringe looks leftish to you.

Quote:
If she was in fact briefed by the State Department re meeting with foreign leaders, that is one thing. But what briefing did she receive? And why was the President and Vice President not advised of this briefing if she in fact was briefed on meeting with foreign dignitaries?


They were advised on it, sheesh. Don't be dense. They are merely taking an opportunity to attack Pelosi when it presents itself. And their loyal followers just lap it up. The fact that there is zero substance to any allegations made has never stopped them from doing so in the past, why should it now?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:11 pm
And you have proof of this other than from Nancy Pelosi's spokesperson where?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:18 pm
U.S. Rep. Dave Hobson, the only Republican on that tour, said [according to agencies] the trip accomplished two things:
"We reinforced the administration's positions and at the same time we were trying to understand and maybe getting some voice to some things people wanted to say that maybe they were not comfortable saying to the administration."




What about the visit to Syria by the three-man Republican delegation a couple of days ago, btw?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:21 pm
I'm sure the President was not pleased with them either Walter. As I said, the GOP doesn't have clean hands in stuff like this.

But they were not presuming to speak FOR the United States or Israel etc. etc. as it is alleged that Nancy Pelosi did. Fact finding missions are not the same thing as doing diplomacy.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:22 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
U.S. Rep. Dave Hobson, the only Republican on that tour, said [according to agencies] the trip accomplished two things:
"We reinforced the administration's positions and at the same time we were trying to understand and maybe getting some voice to some things people wanted to say that maybe they were not comfortable saying to the administration."




What about the visit to Syria by the three-man Republican delegation a couple of days ago, btw?


Since when is the House responsible for forgein affairs? That is the job of the excutive brance of govt. What they did was voilate the sepation of powers.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:22 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
And you have proof of this other than from Nancy Pelosi's spokesperson where?


State briefed not only Pelosi but also the Republican members of the delegation who went to Syria, a couple of whom had harsh words for Bush's foreign policy choices.

I'm looking for a transcript, but State dept. spokesman Sean McCormack said yesterday in their presser:

Quote:
"I don't think [the trip] necessarily complicates anything that we're doing."


What did those other Republicans have to say, in fact?

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2007/04/was_pelosi_unfa.html

Quote:
Three Republican congressmen who parted with President Bush by meeting with
Syrian leaders said Wednesday it is important to maintain a dialogue with a country the White House says sponsors terrorism.

"I don't care what the administration says on this. You've got to do what you think is in the best interest of your country," said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. "I want us to be successful in Iraq. I want us to clamp down on
Hezbollah."

..."This is an area where we would disagree with the administration," (Rep. Robert) Aderholt (of Alabama) said. "None of us in the Congress work for the president. We have to cast our own votes and ultimately answer to our own constituents. ... I think there's room that we can try to work with them as long as they know where we draw the line


Barring a denial from the State department - which they would certainly have given at the presser yesterday if people were lying about their involvement - there is no reason to believe that they (the Republicans AND Pelosi) were not all briefed before they went over there.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:24 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
But they were not presuming to speak FOR the United States or Israel etc. etc. as it is alleged that Nancy Pelosi did.


She did?
Well, that's certainly something different.

Here, in Germany, that would be ... well, might by a criminal act if the leader of the parliament acts on behalf of the Federal Republic without formal or lawful admission.
(Different though if she/he acts as president of the parliament and speaks on behalf of that!)
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:26 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Foxfyre wrote:
But they were not presuming to speak FOR the United States or Israel etc. etc. as it is alleged that Nancy Pelosi did.


She did?
Well, that's certainly something different.

Here, in Germany, that would be ... well, might by a criminal act if the leader of the parliament acts on behalf of the Federal Republic without formal or lawful admission.
(Different though if she/he acts as president of the parliament and speaks on behalf of that!)


Please note the operative word 'alleged,' WH. There is zero evidence that she actually did this.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:28 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Foxfyre wrote:
But they were not presuming to speak FOR the United States or Israel etc. etc. as it is alleged that Nancy Pelosi did.


She did?
Well, that's certainly something different.

Here, in Germany, that would be ... well, might by a criminal act if the leader of the parliament acts on behalf of the Federal Republic without formal or lawful admission.
(Different though if she/he acts as president of the parliament and speaks on behalf of that!)


Please note the operative word 'alleged,' WH. There is zero evidence that she actually did this.

Cycloptichorn


So alleged only works when applied to Dems and ideas you agree with? What a sham. When alleged appllies Reps and ideas you don't agree with they did it and no other questions need to be asked.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:30 pm
I did notice that, Cyclo.

But I like the idea that a member of the US-American Congress is thought to be able to speak in the name of the State of Israel :wink:
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:30 pm
Baldimo wrote:
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Foxfyre wrote:
But they were not presuming to speak FOR the United States or Israel etc. etc. as it is alleged that Nancy Pelosi did.


She did?
Well, that's certainly something different.

Here, in Germany, that would be ... well, might by a criminal act if the leader of the parliament acts on behalf of the Federal Republic without formal or lawful admission.
(Different though if she/he acts as president of the parliament and speaks on behalf of that!)


Please note the operative word 'alleged,' WH. There is zero evidence that she actually did this.

Cycloptichorn


So alleged only works when applied to Dems and ideas you agree with? What a sham. When alleged appllies Reps and ideas you don't agree with they did it and no other questions need to be asked.


Shrug. Provide proof, if you can. This is an interesting opinion of yours but immaterial to the discussion.

Remember what I said above - always attack, never defend. It's the Republican mantra. Instead of providing proof for the position you've espoused, you instead choose to attack me. Bravo!

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:32 pm
Baldimo wrote:
Walter Hinteler wrote:
U.S. Rep. Dave Hobson, the only Republican on that tour, said [according to agencies] the trip accomplished two things:
"We reinforced the administration's positions and at the same time we were trying to understand and maybe getting some voice to some things people wanted to say that maybe they were not comfortable saying to the administration."




What about the visit to Syria by the three-man Republican delegation a couple of days ago, btw?


Since when is the House responsible for forgein affairs? That is the job of the excutive brance of govt. What they did was voilate the sepation of powers.


I was quoting and putting a question, Baldimo.
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2007 12:44 pm
Truly pathetic right wing rant which I believe has backfired big time.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » NANCY PELOSI: GREAT AMERICAN OR FELON?
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 07/27/2021 at 12:33:36