Senate Historian Can’t Find Anything In History That Matches GOP Iran Sabotage Letter

Mitch McConnell

Republicans who are already reeling from the letter that 47 of their senators sent to Iran were dealt another blow as the U.S. Senate Historian’s Office can’t find another example of this type of behavior anywhere in Senate history.

McClatchy reported:

The U.S. Senate Historian’s Office has so far been unable to find another example in the chamber’s history where one political party openly tried to deal with a foreign power against a presidential policy, as Republicans have attempted in their open letter to Iran this week.


We haven’t found a precedent,” said Senate Historian Donald Ritchie. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent. After 200 years. It’s hard to find anything that unprecedented.”

In the past, Ritchie said, “what usually happened is a senator would sign a ’round robin’ letter or a sense of the Senate resolution, or write a letter to the president or secretary of State voicing objections to some particular policy.”

The historian left the door open to a letter surfacing that could lend precedent to the Republicans’ actions, but it isn’t a good sign for Republicans that one hasn’t been found. Congressional Republicans are fond of accusing President Obama of overreaching and overstepping his bounds, but the letter sent to the Iranian government was a clear case of overreach.

As Rmuse pointed out, the letter most likely was not a crime, because it was a public letter, and not an official negotiation with a foreign country. The letter was an act of political sabotage by a group of senators who may not have legally committed treason, but who were acting with the intent of treasonously undermining the Commander In Chief.

Republicans were hoping that the Hillary Clinton email “scandal” would dominate the headlines, and for the desperate Beltway media types who are addicted to Clinton speculation like kittens to catnip, it has. However, the rest of the country has been outraged by the behavior of the 47 Republican senators.

The fact that the Senate can’t find a comparable example to the Iran letter demonstrates that the level of hatred that Republicans have for President Obama is also unprecedented. The level of partisan contempt for the man who occupies the White House is so extreme that Republicans are willing to sabotage global security and world peace in an attempt to politically wound the president.

The Iran letter was bad enough, but the intent behind the letter was even worse. Republicans have gone from wrecking their government at home to making the world less safe for all humankind.

55 Replies to “Senate Historian Can’t Find Anything In History That Matches GOP Iran Sabotage Letter”

  1. Time to call on David Barton to conjure up out of the incorporate air some precedent that does not exist except in the alleged minds of the cognitively challenged. Or just blame some vast “Liberal conspiracy” that has gone back and removed any proof that they cannot find to prove the un provable. Republicans are children…and not the cute adorable ones either.

  2. The only thing that comes close was joining the league of nations and even then republicans took their case to the people.

  3. “The level of partisan contempt for the man who occupies the White House is so extreme that Republicans are willing to sabotage global security and world peace in an attempt to politically wound the president.”
    I don’t think it is a matter of “risking” global security and world peace. I think the fact that the letter attempting to undermine the President could lead to war is an added bonus as far as the republicans are concerned. Cotton ran right over to the defense manufacturers after sending the letter. The republicans want war.

  4. They may try to spin it all they want, but the fact is: THEY DID WRONG!
    They know it now, but will NOT admit it. They will die of shame and embarrassment before apologizing to the country and to President Obama. Hell will freeze over before they do that.
    But to be sure….the HISTORY books, records will forever record this incident and the NAMES of each Senator. No way they can remove that. So, for now, let them squirm and spin and try to turn the tables and blame other things and scoff at Obama and Perry. When the dust settles they will look like bungling idiots. The USA will get a GOOD deal from Iran. But you know it will NOT satisfy the unholy 47.

  5. History lesson. At the end WW1 Woodrow Wilson in his 14 points proposed a world governing body to prevent another world war from happening. The Republican leader of the Senate, Henry Cabot Lodge, was very suspicious of Wilson and his treaty. His main point of opposition was respecting the territory of other nation.

    Also the various ethnic groups in the US opposed it for various reason

  6. This is unprecedented and deserves an unprecedented prosecution. Are we a nation of laws or not? The republican crime syndicate has been getting away with their crimes for far too long.

  7. Yesterday, flicking thru channels, I stopped on fox. Cavuto I think. He was tantrumming over the 47 traitors. He said a Democrat had sent a letter to Saddam telling him to ignore Bush. I checked this out. Pat Roberts did send a letter requesting information on release of a captured soldier. Blatant outright LIE propagandized on fox. The funny thing was that the gop senator he was talking to looked shocked at the lie when asked to comment.

  8. America! You Awake NOW? It is amazing to watch anyone try to spin this by blaming all this on a freshman senator when Mitch McConnell is the majority leader, and have been in the senate for years and years. Stay focused America and don’t forget about this like we have forgotten all the other devilish things they have done the past six years. The next Republican Snake that tries to Bully the President or lie on Him, we need to immediately SHUT THEM DOWN. As I have quoted this saying on this site before, “When people show you who they are believe them”. Once again the republican party has shown America and the World who they really are, Now will we believe them?……

  9. Cotton, a legend in his own mind, sees himself as an expert on foreign affairs. Just like McCain.

    It’s quite evident he knows nothing about Senate protocol,the Constitution or International negotiations.

  10. The GOP wants another war. It is the only thing they know. They can’t govern. Lowering taxes on the rich is not governing. They hate public education, infrastructure, and services. They hate anything good that government does. They want their donors happy so they can keep the well-paid job where they only ‘work’ two days a week, and can lie without reprisal, blame the other party, and never ever be accountable for anything. The GOP is disgusting. Treason? Looks like it to me. Book ’em, Danno!

  11. uh,

    1.Senators John Sparkman and George McGovern visited Cuba and met with government actors there in 1975

    2.In 1983, Teddy Kennedy sent emissaries to the Soviets to undermine Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy

    3.n 1984, 10 Democrats sent a letter to Daniel Ortega Saavedra, the head of the military dictatorship in Nicaragua,

    4.Senator John Kerry (D-MA). Kerry traveled to Nicaragua to negotiate with the regime there in 1985

    5.Representatives Jim McDermott , David Bonior , and Mike Thompson . In 2002, the three Congressmen visited Baghdad to play defense for Saddam Hussein’s regime.

    6.Jay Rockefeller “I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq”

    7.Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Visited Syria, as the Bush administration pursued pressure against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. (2002)

    I guess this historian doesn’t h…

  12. Bullshit and for your own mental health I would advise stop reading briefart, beck and the rest of the cesspool of Reich wing media

  13. Even the most active hands of the Repugnicans can’t spin doctor this doozy away.

    Try as they might.

    It’s fun to watch Republicans make complete and utter arses of themselves.

  14. If any of these events are true, they have two distinct differences compared to the letter to Iran:

    1- None of the presidents were actively negotiating with the foreign countries; and

    2- ALL were trying to work toward peace- not threatening violence and/or war.

  15. Right on!

    The Republican brats orchestrated a coup against President Obama and his administration from day one.

    Anyone still willing to support Republicans after
    this despicable act of treason should be considered traitors also.

  16. Packup assholes your going to live in Iran,Russia. Israel or Seria take your choice bye,bye !!!!!!!!

  17. You are so right, John. I am reading Robert Parry’s, America’s Stolen Narrative and this behavior seems to have started with Nixon back in 1968.

  18. Though you may try, you cannot defend the indefensible. I know why you are trying to do it—you refuse to admit that what these 47 GOP/TP senators did is wrong. Never before in our nation’s history has almost all members of the Senate/House done something like this. The examples you’ve presented are things individuals members of Congress have done in the past.

    You’re trying to compare apples to oranges.

    Again, this is the 1st time in our history that a large group of sitting politicians in Congress have done something like this.

    If you’re now embarrassed that they did it, let it be a learning lesson.

    It’s a good idea to investigate politicians’ records thoroughly, listen carefully to the things they say and research them to determine whether they’re true or not, judge whether they have the temperament to serve with honor, and whether their reason for running for public office is to serve our interests, their own, or those of the corporatists who fund their campaig…

  19. It makes me sad and disgusted that our governmental body is so divided that it can do nothing but throw “sticks and stones” at the president. Where is the concern for what is taking place in our own country? And since when does one political party speak to foreign countries representing the whole of this country?

  20. Really? You have won the award for idiot of the hour. Don’t worry you are still in the running for idiot of the day but the day is still young

  21. Maybe Thad, he didn’t sign.
    I mean the quy did questionable things with farm animals but still doesn’t seem like a complete buffoon.

  22. I guess the Senate historian didn’t acknowledge the treason committed by Nixon, Kissinger, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush by interfering with State Dept. peace negotiations, ending the Vietnam war and releasing American hostages in Iran. These men each participated in one or more subversive government actions. Secret coups against foreign governments, some democracies. This is part our history, in which hundreds of innocent people suffered and died. These crimes may not be publicly accepted, but they are true. Fear and lack of information are powerful weapons. They have and lasting affects on weaker countries. Aren’t they all?

  23. There is a difference in the contact that senators from both parties have had in the past. A republican or democrat can work on the international stage; seek to improve the United States positon in any number of ways. They can even disagree with the policy of the United States Government’s.

    It would seem that the intent of this letter was to weaken the power of the Office of The President of the United States of America. The damaging impact in not just to President Obama but to all future presidents because the world has been put on notice that the office has no power to negotiate with a foreign power. If a foreign nation choses to negotiate with a president of the United States it means nothing because the opposition party may gain control in the future. It weakens the Office of the President for all time not just for this administration.

  24. Here we go again! Nancy Pelosi led a bi-partisan group to Syria that had the pre-briefings by the WH and State Department and were told they would be supported in Damascus. Pelosi and her group were trying to broker a release of Israeli prisoners in Syria with support of the Bush Administration. A group of GOP Senators also went to Syria and then Issa.

    Bet if I wanted to waste time on research on the others I could find where their visits were not secret and coordinated but why let facts stand in the way when you can spin and lie which you just did about Pelosi visit.

  25. I guess the Senate historian didn’t acknowledge the treason committed by Nixon, Kissinger, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush interfering with State Dept. attempted peace negotiations ending the Vietnam war and releasing American hostages in Iran. These meddling presidents, would be presidents, and Kissinger each participated in one or more subversive government activities, as well as secret coups against foreign governments, some of which were democracies. These scandals are part of our history, in which hundreds of innocent people suffered and died. Past crimes may not be publicly accepted, but they are true. Fear and lack of information available to the public are powerful means of control. Administrative treason has had lasting affects on weaker countries (Aren’t they all?) and us. No accountability for the perps’ transgressions contributes to our national malaise.

  26. Christ, would this letter fall under the category of “gross incompetence?” If so, isn’t there some law somewhere saying we can fire these guys for it?

  27. all good points and much more of a parallel to Boehner having Netinyahu speak, the letter however was 47 senators… if each had acted separately there would be precedent for it, in other words for an individual okay dumb but not necessarily illegal, for an entire party of sitting senators… you’re now getting into areas that get grayer… but that in it’self in unprecidented

  28. Erica, uh, on the point about “undermine Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy” which Reagan foreign policy was that?

    (1) selling America’s weapons to America’s enemy, ironically Iran? …or

    (2) building an illegal terrorist “army” called the Contras, who bravely raped and murdered nuns (because fighting actual soldiers, who would fight back, could leave you, uh, slightly dead)?

  29. I have heard that no one has yet been prosecuted for violating the Logan Act and that its Constitutionality could be questionable. I think it is due time for a test of the law; the 47 should be charged with criminally and willfully violating the law, be arrested in handcuffs and removed from the Senate chamber…in front of the media cameras. Then tried and convicted; let they run their appeals up to the SCOTUS for their final decision. Of course, that action would screw up their political careers, but better that than screw up the US reputation and world respect among our allies….and more importantly, our enemies. In their attempt to thumb their nose at Iran and show them how tough the US is, they instead show how weak they want out country to be. Hitler pretty much did the same thing to the Riechsdadt.

  30. The GOP contempt for Americans is very clear. This letter to Iran is criminal. They want a different country. Not US. They have continuously put our military (our kids)at risk .They vote against Social Security, they are only interested in the corporate wealth. They hate Affordable Care Act. More Americans are healthy and can take a job they like, not based n corporate.
    So by threatening Iran as our Commander in Chief negotiations that are working. And the corporate war profiteers who met with Cotton on the same day Iran received their letter. We must request the 47 senators to resign. They have placed their interests above our Country. They must resign they broke their oath of office. I love our democracy, our government which is who we are as a group. My government is being threatened from within 47 senators I am ashamed of their arrogance toward our laws and our country. Arrest, resign,it must happen.

  31. Ever since Obama took away the Republicans’ precious White House, the Republicans have been out of control. Now they have resorted to near treason in their attempt to discredit Obama. Their hatred for him is unprecedented. They should be arrested and tried for this treasonous act. The Republicans have zero concern for the welfare of the United State, only for the increasing welfare of the rich at the expense of the middle class. The Republican Party is a joke.

  32. Wutt? It was Cheney gave the President a black eye (literally). At least, Bush never went hunting with him.


    GOP senators blocking the hall,
    47 in all,
    If one of those stooges should happen to fall,
    46 senators blocking the hall.

    46 senator blocking the hall,
    46 senators all,
    If one of those stooges should happen to fall,
    45 senators blocking the hall.

    45 senators……. etc, etc, etc ;-)

  34. Working toward peace, by trying to get American Soldiers killed, by cutting off supply lines into Iraq? Really? I remember the huge uproar when Pelosi and Reid and a Democrat group were trying to deal with Turkey and Syria, to undermine what was going on in the War, but nothing could be done, because of who controlled Congress. Every damn one of them should have been brought up on charges. Oh, but I’m sure you have a selective memory, so I’m wasting my time.

  35. Yes you do have selective memory because since being homeschooled you wouldn’t know that Nixon intervene in 68 to undermine LBJ peace talks in Vietnam to win the election. At a cost of another 20,000 American lives but being the blood gurgling sociopathic rethug that don’t count. Again how many American lives did Pelosi send to their deaths for her ambitions?

  36. That’s interesting. Rob portman of ohio just sent me a letter saying it’s hardly unprecedented that he did sign the letter. And he then went on to feed me a pile of bullshit. Funny rob no one can find anything…… and he didn’t site the precedent.

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