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Knowles writes: "The backlash continued Tuesday after 47 Republican senators sent a signed letter to Iran's leaders warning them against cutting a nuclear deal with the Obama administration."

Cover of the NY Daily News. (photo: Bloomberg/NY Daily News)
Cover of the NY Daily News. (photo: Bloomberg/NY Daily News)

Did 47 Republicans Commit Treason by Trying to Sabotage Iran Deal?

By David Knowles, Bloomberg

11 March 15


he backlash continued Tuesday after 47 Republican senators sent a signed letter to Iran's leaders warning them against cutting a nuclear deal with the Obama administration.

The letter, organized by Senator Tom Cotton, a freshman from Arkansas, warned Iran that “we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

The New York Daily News on Tuesday put photos of Cotton, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on its front page along with the boldfaced headline “TRAITORS.”

The Wall Street Journal took down the letter in an editorial Tuesday calling the deal with Iran possibly “the security blunder of the young century” and saying that Congress should vote on it, “which is why it’s too bad that Republican Senators took their eye off that ball on Monday with a letter to the government of Iran.”

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski also had harsh words for Cotton, criticizing him a few minutes before he was scheduled to appear on Morning Joe (where he defended the letter).

“If anyone had any reservations that what the Republicans did when they brought Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress to address Congress was not an effort to undercut the president, this then could perhaps seal the deal in your mind that everything they do is focused in almost an obsessive and destructive way to undermine the president and to undermine the president’s effort to get a deal as opposed to going to war,” she said.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said the letter's goal was to “undermine” negotiations with Iran, but also noted that if the Obama administration reached an agreement over Iran's nuclear program that it would not be a treaty subject to congressional ratification.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, meanwhile, said it was highly unusual for a political party to insert itself into a foreign-policy negotiation in opposition to the president.

“Republicans are undermining our commander-in-chief while empowering the ayatollahs,” he said from the Senate floor Monday. “We should always have robust debate about foreign policy, but it's unprecedented for one political party to directly intervene in an international negotiation with the sole goal of embarrassing the president of the United States.”

On Twitter, observers were quick to call the move by Senate Republicans “treason.”

But the president's critics often have used the same word to describe Obama's foreign policy moves.

And some, like prospective presidential candidate Ben Carson, have levied that charge with regard to domestic spending.

According to the U.S. legal code, the definition of treason is fairly specific:

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

While Iran has been a U.S. enemy for some time, no official war declaration exists. It's hard to see how the negotiation of a nuclear deal, or the opposition to one, would rise to the level of treason. What has been perfectly clear since the start of the year is that Congress and the president see the Iran issue through different lenses. From the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak in the House of Representatives without first consulting Obama, to the letter sent to Iranian leaders on Monday, the level of distrust between the two parties has reached new levels. your social media marketing partner


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-24 # ligonlaw 2015-03-11 09:34
When will the news media stop interviewing mentally unstable and intellectually dishonest dolts? The crime of Treason is defined in Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution. It is very difficult to commit treason. The Congress must have declared war on an enemy which Congress has not done since World War II. The news media should acquaint itself with this definition before putting the microphone in some lunatic's face.
+43 # Old Uncle Dave 2015-03-11 09:47
I think treason is a bit much, but the actions of the GOP do appear to be violations of the Logan Act.
+21 # Madmedic 2015-03-11 09:57
Ah Yes! At last, Mitch the Bitch McConnell, John McCain, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton on the same page with Jane Fonda!
+2 # MainStreetMentor 2015-03-12 13:19
The authors/signers of this “letter” in addition to initializing what could be categorized as a treasonous act, are the cutting edge sycophants and lackeys of the Tea Party controlled Republican Party. These are the leaders of a concerted effort which originally commenced as a methodology to discredit an individual. That individual happened to be a black man, and President of the United States of America. This “letter” is an example of just how out-of-hand such prejudicial stances can get. These letter authors/signers are now so engrossed in their hatred of an individual, that they have elevated that hatred above the needs of our country. All those authors/signers need to resign from their elected offices, or face federal criminal charges.
+3 # Madmedic 2015-03-12 17:24
I wish I could agree with your post, but your assessment of the most recent racist snub of President Obama is based on far more than simple hatred of the smart black man who is our President. It has much more to do with wanting to set in motion the start of yet another Middle East War.

Most of the neo fascist right wingers who, like lemmings, flocked to sign the letter to the Iranians didn't do it so much out of hatred of Obama, as they did it to display their delusional machismo by provoking yet another war.

Guns, bombs and dead bodies are the only way these dangerous clowns, including the females who signed that document, know how to express their dubious masculinity They know that with only a few exceptions, they have all been too cowardly to serve directly in the wars they want others sons to fight.

Yes, the letter to the Iranian powers that be was definitely a twofer, a racist slam at Obama but, more importantly, a provocation to the Iranians.

Finally, I say file sedition charges against Tom Cotton, the ringleader of this fiasco, and watch McCain, Cruz, Paul, Rubio and the other republican cockroaches who signed Cotton's letter skitter away from him, even though it is doubtful he would ever be convicted.

Their fear of guilt by association with sedition charges and the prospect of their having to testify openly about how easily they sided with this soon to be friendless newcomer would be enough to send these cowards running for the exits.
+23 # Misterioso 2015-03-11 10:02
Must read:

Republicans And Iran Deal Opponents Are Funded By The Same Mega-Donors

By Paul Blumenthal, March 10/15


"WASHINGTON -- As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress last week, making his case against the deal the U.S. and partner nations are negotiating over Iran's nuclear program, Miriam Adelson -- the wife of billionaire casino operator Sheldon Adelson -- dropped her purple Hermes purse from the gallery onto the floor of the House, hitting the foot of a congressman.

"The incident, a humorous side note to the speech, was also a helpful reminder of the not-so-subtle role some in the audience have played in promoting Netanyahu's opposition to the current U.S.-Iran negotiations.

"In the past four years, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have emerged as the preeminent funders of the Republican Party through a network of super PACs and nonprofit groups. At the same time, they have been among the biggest funders of groups that oppose any deal with Iran over that country’s nuclear program."
+23 # Farafalla 2015-03-11 12:11
Indeed, God speaks in mysterious ways but usually gets it right on. What could be more symbolic than Adelson dropping a bag of money on the House floor?
+37 # reiverpacific 2015-03-11 10:20
If cynical, overstepping of their roles, abuse of power and betrayal of a President actually quietly seeking to head off a war of aggression by the US/Israel (and no doubt Cameron's UK also) isn't "Treason", I don't know what is, "Article III, Section 3" notwithstanding.
Yet these are the same mean-spirited gits who are the first to cudgel anybody dumb enough to listen to them with their faux-patriotism , holier-than-tho u, flag-wrapped faux Christianity and their finger-pointing self-righteous arrogance.
If the Straits of Hormuz were blockaded by Iran which it could quite easily accomplish, a bit like when the Suez canal was blocked by Nasser sinking a large number of ships, it would make the recent "Great Recession" seem like an era of prosperity and would likely precipitate a nuclear attack by the US/ Israel (unless Bibi N' is not returned to power for which we must hope) and a subsequent world war of mass annihilation. That's TREASON against the WORLD by a bunch of petty ignoramuses playing politics with their elected President and a proud Persian people much, much smarter than they could ever imagine or aspire to!
People were hung, drawn and quartered -the former punishment for treason- for less in earlier times.
+39 # angryspittle 2015-03-11 10:49
This fiasco clearly reveals that McConnell is as lousy a damn leader as Boner by allowing a goddamn two month fucking freshman to lead him around by the goddamn nose. What a pathetic piece of work he is.
+3 # Madmedic 2015-03-12 17:36
Quoting angryspittle:
This fiasco clearly reveals that McConnell is as lousy a damn leader as Boner by allowing a goddamn two month fucking freshman to lead him around by the goddamn nose. What a pathetic piece of work he is.

You are correct with that assessment of McConnell, but what about that even more pathetic supposed "war hero" John McCain and his rush to commit treason, or at least sedition, against the government he purports to love.
+33 # angryspittle 2015-03-11 10:50
If McConnel had any goddamn brains or guts he would have slapped this little pipsqueak down like the fucking idiot he is and shamed him before the entire Senate.
+18 # Bruce Gruber 2015-03-11 11:50
If Quoting angryspittle:
If McConnel had any goddamn brains or guts he would have slapped this little pipsqueak down like the fucking idiot he is and shamed him before the entire Senate.

If my bobble-headed Senator had brains or guts he would have led his Party back from the precipice of re-fighting the Civil War by building the Republicans on intelligent and reasonable arguments - if there are any - with Democrats. Instead, the GOP owners force their simplistic 1% "takeover" mentality by harnessing jackasses to the wagons provided by neo-cons and segregationists . When interests write the legislation THEY want to be submitted to the Congress THEY have bought and paid for .... when THEY tie up the justice system with litigation THEY design and pay for to send to the Supreme Court that THEY have orchestrated ... to free THEMSELVES from regulation and enforcement from the Government THEY have determined is THEIRS by right of their money ... then maybe Jefferson's discussion of admonition regarding blood and overthrow needs consideration.
-32 # Roland 2015-03-11 11:39
Absolutely crazy.

Let’s be honest about what this mindless charge of treason really is. It is an inflammatory talking point to rally the uninformed around the presidents policies.

“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason”

I don’t know how one twists the letter republicans wrote, into something that gives aid or comfort to Iran, or makes it easier on Iran. It is harder on Iran. It is telling them not to take advantage of an agreement that they fear is too weak. How is that treason? The letter is fighting for stronger advantages for the US and the other countries negotiating with us against Iran.
+22 # Dust 2015-03-11 12:25
So can we assume that you also issued a similar assessment of the "inflammatory talking point to rally the uninformed around the presidents [sic] policies" when conservative talk radio and TV hosts were screaming that anyone who questioned Bushie II and his reasons for going to war was a traitor and should be imprisoned? They insisted that questioning the President was treason, until (of course) the instant that Obama took office. THEN the marching order was that questioning the President was a patriotic duty.

Of course you condemned such rhetoric as empty and inflammatory. Right??
-33 # Roland 2015-03-11 13:41
The difference between now and then is that the republicans now are trying to get better, stronger, terms for the agreement which is against the wishes of our enemy. Back then the democrats were trying to throw in the towel, which is beneficial to the enemy.

When according to a poll, 35% of democrats believed that Bush was either behind 9/11 or knew about it in advance and elected to do nothing about it, they lost their credibility.
When Harry Reid said that the war in Iraq was lost and that the surge wasn’t working, before it had been fully implemented the left lost credibility.
+26 # Dust 2015-03-11 13:51

Try again. There WAS NO ENEMY in Iraq; there was no towel to throw in! We'd been doing business with Hussein for years until we decided he had outlived his usefulness.

If we wanted an enemy after 9/11, it would have been Saudi Arabia. But the bankers wouldn't allow that, nor the strategic necessities of the Middle East in terms of oil. But the "uninformed" needed a war, so you got one.
-23 # Roland 2015-03-11 13:57
No enemy? Who were we fighting when Harry Reid said that?
+8 # Merlin 2015-03-11 19:55
-13 # Roland 2015-03-11 13:57

OK, I give up. Who were we fighting when Reid said that? Who is this enemy?

Does this enemy threaten this country? If so what will they do to harm us, and when do you think they will they do it. Lastly, explain to me how they will bring about this harm to the United States.
-11 # Roland 2015-03-11 20:58
You really don’t know who we were fighting when Reid said that? You don’t know who we were fighting when we implemented the surge in Iraq?
I will give you a clue. They are responsible for the greatest terrorist attack this country has ever seen. I guess you could say they were a threat to us here.
+3 # Merlin 2015-03-11 22:07
Roland 2015-03-11 20:58

I don't want a clue. I asked your opinion, backed with facts you can share the source of. You have not answered the questions I asked. There are 6 questions. They are straight forward questions. Please try and answer all 6.

-11 # Roland 2015-03-12 08:29
You really should know the answers to your questions. I believe you probably do. I will humor you.
Al Qaeda which were in Iraq
Al Qaeda
Attack malls, air ports, cities, potential eventually for WND, blow up tunnels, the list is endless and only limited by their imagination.
When? Really? When they are ready. We didn't know when the last time they hit us (9/11). Of course some may say that wasn't the last time they hit us. Some would say Fort Hood. I would have to check the origins of the Boston bombing and many of the failed plots.
You last question is repetitive. See answer to number 4 above.
+14 # Madmedic 2015-03-11 19:15
Quoting Roland:
The difference between now and then is that the republicans now are trying to get better, stronger, terms for the agreement

Bull*hit! The repukes are not trying to strengthen anything with their letter, they are trying to scotch any agreement at all, so that Israel will be able to start a war with Iran, ostensibly to prevent development of an Iranian nuke. A war which we, the U.S., will have to bail their asses out of at great cost in U.S. lives and treasure. Lost lives, which will involve as few as possible of the 1%r's progeny and even fewer of their personal tax dollars.

The middle and lower economic castes in this country are finally, albeit slowly, waking up to the fact that it is they who are paying the entire freight, both in dollar and human terms, for the wars that the right wingnuts keep rushing us into.

Finally, the Democrats losing credibility with you over 9/11 and the Iraq war is an outright bald faced lie, as you never recognized that they had any credibility to lose to begin with.

You are obviously just another right wing loser troll who posts on progressive web sites in a misguided effort to be thought intelligent So sick, So sad ...
+8 # Merlin 2015-03-11 19:44
# Roland 2015-03-11 13:41

“When Harry Reid said that the war in Iraq was lost and that the surge wasn’t working, before it had been fully implemented the left lost credibility.”

So are you saying that the surge was working well at the time of Reid’s statement, and that the surge in the end, actually did what was intended to do?
-13 # Roland 2015-03-11 21:03
It wasn't fully implemented when he said that. And I believe all reasonable people acknowledge that it worked and eventually led Biden to say that Iraq will be one of this administrations biggest accomplishments .
+2 # Merlin 2015-03-11 22:24
Roland 2015-03-11 21:03
Joe Biden has his own opinion and frankly I am not interested in the Administration' s view. I already know that view. They and he are very partisan. They certainly are not going to say anything other than what a great success they had. Whether that opinion is right or not.

OK, so you have no opinion whether the surge was working because it wasn't fully implemented at the time. I'll accept that as your opinion.

What date would use to say it was OK to state whether the surge worked or not?

Lastly, we are talking about the surge here. We are not talking about an "Iraq accomplishment, " what ever Joe Biden means by that. That is off our topic

So please stay on topic. I would appreciate it.
-7 # Roland 2015-03-12 08:39
I don't know the date that the surge was considered a success. I would assume that date varied and some realized it sooner than others.
Here is an obvious answer - I would say sometime after it was implemented. Which makes Reid’s statement look political.
When would you say it was determined to be a success?
+23 # bmiluski 2015-03-11 12:26
The letter dear Roland has NOTHING to do with "fighting for stronger advantages for the US....". It has everything to do with undemining the President of the United States.
And if you think telling Iran that it shouldn't bother to negotiate because none of this will not matter when/if the repugs come back into power. Then what makes you think they'll EVER agree to any negotiations. Which could only preclude a war. And wars kill Americans and deplete the treasury thus weakening the United States thus giving the advantage to our enemy. And THAT in my mind is treason,.
-31 # Roland 2015-03-11 13:47
The letter said that, in order to get Iran, to think about what they sign. If it isn’t something that congress and the rest of the US wants, it will not stand. That is good. Why let Iran think that a weak agreement will stand? That is negotiating through strength, something Obama and the left don’t understand, which is why Obama is such a lousy negotiator.

To read it any other way is political.
+3 # bmiluski 2015-03-12 08:20
And again.....when exactly were you invited in on the negotiations that you would know exactly what was being discussed and by whom? In fact, Roland, why don't you give me the names of the repugs that signed that letter who were in on the negotiations.
Hmmmm...I wonder if any of them were the same repugs that negotiated with Iran on the Iran-Contra deal.
-8 # Roland 2015-03-12 08:41
If you haven't heard - some of the items in the potential agreement have been leaked. Like the time line, that even democrats are questioning as being too short.
+25 # p4136bl 2015-03-11 12:25
It seems to me that we are all slightly missing the point. While the Iran nuclear deal is the specific of the moment, the real treason began when our President took office and 'Turtle face McConnell vowed to stop HIS/OUR president at every turn just because they didn't like him (code for 'because he's black). These simpleton Repugnicans have displayed their racism at every turn (without any regard for the health of THEIR country). They are indeed TRAITORS to their country in my eyes, and should suffer the punishment of traitors.
-31 # Roland 2015-03-11 13:55
Did it ever occur that they didn’t like his policies? Does the left want to stop the conservative policies because the conservatives are black or white? No you hate (obviously or you wouldn’t be posting such an accusation) the right because of their policies. Why are only you allowed to want to stop the opposition due to policy?
+22 # Dust 2015-03-11 14:04
Because the right cares more that Obama is black and that he is not "one of them" more than they do about ANY specific policy of his.
-28 # Roland 2015-03-11 14:07
It is disgusting to make that accusation without any proof.
+3 # bmiluski 2015-03-12 08:24
Quoting Roland:
It is disgusting to make that accusation without any proof.

Doesn't seem to bother you Roland.
-22 # Firebird 2015-03-11 14:41
It is not a matter of race, it is a matter of obama being a fool.
+16 # lfeuille 2015-03-11 17:57
Quoting Firebird:
It is not a matter of race, it is a matter of obama being a fool.

Obama is sometimes a bit of a fool. The Repub crew are always and in all things fools.
+4 # bmiluski 2015-03-12 08:23
Because was Mitch McConnell the leader of the repug party that said the #1 priority of the repug party was to make Obama a one term president. They said NOTHING about their #1 priority being to get the US out of the mess they the repugs had made with their policies.
-8 # Roland 2015-03-12 08:46
That is only proof that the republicans didn’t want Obama and his policies to be around to cause harm for an extra 4 years.
I felt the same way. To claim that as proof of racism is ludicrous and not based on anything.
+18 # janie1893 2015-03-11 13:09
In all the efforts to destroy a black man who holds the office of President of the United States, these Senators have knowingly and deliberately committed treason. They need to be made accountable.
-27 # Roland 2015-03-11 13:51
Maybe the left should be held accountable for making such divisive accusations with out any proof. False accusations of racism do damage to this country. But, the people on this site either do this for political gain or they believe the race baiters on the left who do it for political gain.
-6 # Firebird 2015-03-11 14:40
So it is all a matter of race. Get over it.
+19 # Phillybuster 2015-03-11 14:36
Just because, after signing the letter, the 47 Repugs did their rendition of that University of Oklahoma frat's N-word song doesn't mean they are racist.

We know the Repugs are racist because of their racist dog whistles and their never-ending criticism of Obama according to which he never does anything right and everything he does is "wrong" or "outrageous", even when the same thing has routinely been done by previous Presidents. The disrespect shown to this President by the Repugs is totally unprecedented.

If you walk, talk and act like a racist, you just might be a racist.
-23 # Roland 2015-03-11 14:44
As I said above, it is disgusting to make that accusation without any proof.

Name one specific thing that you can prove is race based. I have plenty of reasons to think him incompetent and he promotes policies that I believe are detrimental to the US. I couldn’t care less that he is black. To make your statement that mine and other’s opinions of the president are due to race is despicable.

I am sorry if you are that confused that you actually believe that. If you don’t believe it but are just spewing for political advantage, you are worse than what you accuse other of.
+7 # cymricmorty 2015-03-11 19:29
As always, when it comes to racism and repubs, Roland protests too much. Repubs and racism go together like white and supremacist. Ask Scalise, the new speaker of the house.
-11 # Roland 2015-03-11 21:13
And false accusations of racism pervade the democrats. Do you really need those despicable lies to persuade people to vote for the democrats? Have these repeated lies turned you into a believer? Or have you convinced yourself that since you don’t like their policies they must be bad people and believing they are racist helps to fuel your anger?
+2 # Dust 2015-03-12 10:34
Well, you're perfectly correct, of course; accusations without proof are opprobrious.

For instance, suggesting that someone was... oh.. say... not born in the US... or was Muslim as a pejorative... simply to denigrate their status or serve as grounds to ignore their status... with no proof... yes, that would be disgusting.
-6 # Roland 2015-03-12 12:45
That was the minority. And just because some people are stupid doesn't mean they are racist. The left has dummies too.

Maybe, some so hated what Obama stood for that they were desperately hoping that something like lack of citizenship would save us. It didn’t help that Obama refused for so long to provide proof, thus making these people look sillier. And, raising their hopes
-26 # Firebird 2015-03-11 14:40
The Republican Senators are heroes.
+18 # reiverpacific 2015-03-11 15:02
Quoting Firebird:
The Republican Senators are heroes.

You're being ironic, right?
"Whore-oes" more like.
+4 # bmiluski 2015-03-12 08:25
reiverpacific.. ..firebird is a troll....please do not feed him. Best to ignore him and maybe he'll go away.
+12 # lfeuille 2015-03-11 17:59
Quoting Firebird:
The Republican Senators are heroes.

Heroicly moronic maybe.
+10 # cymricmorty 2015-03-11 19:18
You are fantasizing. The rest of the world thinks the repub senators are a bunch of ignorant yokels run amok.
+14 # Merlin 2015-03-11 15:55
Rol… John Gault is a busy little troll on this thread. He really has usurped it. Of course he has a little (not much actually) help from that “intelligence challenged” Firebird, who stands behind (way behind) his ‘Leader” cheering “Yeah! Take that you lefties.”

Here is the winning post of the day, folks!

“The Republican Senators are heroes.”

Congrats, Bird of Fire! Your trophy is waiting for you through that door! (Which leads to the alley out back.) Hurry, now and enjoy your fame. Could a book deal be in the offing?
+7 # cymricmorty 2015-03-11 19:15
Roland and firebird are a classic folie a deux.
+2 # DPM 2015-03-12 15:20
Regarding Roland and Firebird, Murphy's Law states, "Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference."
0 # Charles3000 2015-03-15 06:24
The 47 clearly violated the Logan Act and should be indicted and held for trial. That would prove to all who runs foreign policy in the USA.

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