The Democratic senator who mocked President Trump after Trump ordered the killing of Iranian general and terror leader Qassem Soleimani, saying Trump had ‘made us a literal laughingstock” around the world, held a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference last week, according to a source briefed by the French delegation to the conference.
The Federalist reports that Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who had mocked Trump in early January, joined other Democratic senators for that secret meeting. What makes Murphy’s action particularly hypocritical is that in the past, he has bitterly slammed the idea that senators might interfere with a current administration’s foreign policy.
In 2015, 47 senators signed an open letter to Iran’s leaders that was never even sent to Iran in which they warned, “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.”
Murphy ranted to the National Journal, “I can’t even imagine the uproar if Democratic senators [had been] writing to Saddam Hussein in the lead up to the Iraq War,” adding that Republicans “have made it crystal clear that this has nothing to do with the merits of the deal. This has everything to do with undermining the president.”
Hearing about Murphy’s alleged secret meeting with Zarif, Christian Whiton, former State Department senior advisor in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, commented, “Unless it was authorized by the president or secretary of state, conducting independent foreign policy sends mixed signals to our adversaries. It seems very unpalatable. If we want to talk to Iranians, they know how to reach us and they don’t need to go through an intermediary.”
During the Munich conference, Murphy reportedly criticized the Trump administration’s tough actions vis-a-vis Iran, which have included withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, tough sanctions, a demand for transparency in its nuclear program and the killing of Soleimani. As dw.com reported, “He said that it was a major mistake that Washington had taken the side of Saudi Arabia unilaterally and that deescalation was in the US’ interest.”
The Federalist added, “Murphy is a frequent speaker at the National Iranian American Council, a lobbying group with alleged links to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Ted Cruz of Texas recently asked the Department of Justice for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. They wrote that the influential lobbying group ‘purports to improve understanding between American and Iranian people but in reality seems to spread propaganda and lobby on behalf of the Iranian government.’”
In January, Murphy spoke on ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics podcast, where he made the “laughingstock” remark. He was asked if America was safer after the killing of Soleimani. He answered:
The answer is absolutely not. It is just catastrophic. The damage has been done to the U.S. national security since the targeting of Qassem Soleimani. I don’t think the administration gamed out how badly this would go for us … We are going to now have to engage in all sorts of repair work to try and keep our troops from being kicked out of Iraq, to try to repair our reputation with that government, to set to try to suspend or counter ISIS operations. And then to start trying to reconstruct the nuclear constraints on Iran, which just evaporated in the last four to five days …
The fact that we now have all sorts of other interests compromised in the regions now, that we have so much repair work to do … we will end up with a really weak position today, much weaker than we were just give days ago. Much, much weaker than we were at the start of the Trump administration. The president has gravely injured this nation’s security around the world.
Murphy added, “He has made us a literal laughingstock.”