In a Fox News interview, former Secretary of State John Kerry—one of the primary negotiators of the Obama administration's Iran Nuclear Deal—stated that he met a few times with his former Iranian contemporaries after leaving office.
The President saw these meetings as a challenge to his authority, despite Kerry's having stated that all meetings occurred before Trump pulled out of the Iran Nuclear agreement against NATO allies' advice in May. Trump, as is his style, took to Twitter to accuse Kerry of wrongdoing.
"John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!"
John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great wo… https://t.co/RtQxeqyuth— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1536887433.0
But Kerry fired back with a tweet of his own. The former Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate suggested Trump should focus on other more important meetings, now that one-time Trump Organization lobbyist and campaign manager Paul Manafort struck a plea deal with Robert Mueller.
Kerry retweeted the President's original post and stated:
"Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran's FM. But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra."
Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran… https://t.co/ejmmvtibWg— John Kerry (@John Kerry) 1536959627.0
Then to add just a bit more salt to the wound, Kerry added a post script:
"PS - I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa."
PS - I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa.— John Kerry (@John Kerry) 1536959628.0
Reactions to the Twitter exchange heavily favored Kerry, both on Kerry's post...
@JohnKerry https://t.co/OAQpZTRDmf— ᑕᕼᑌᑎK (@ᑕᕼᑌᑎK) 1536959906.0
@JohnKerry @NORTHER64691120 Cute. You think he can read. 😆— CynBlogger ♈️ (Hoping For Warren2020) 🆘🍑 (@CynBlogger ♈️ (Hoping For Warren2020) 🆘🍑) 1536960388.0
@JohnKerry Would likely need a précis of a précis.— David Blakely (@David Blakely) 1536964521.0
...and on the President's post where most brought up the same people as Kerry—Paul Manafort and Robert Mueller—as well as one other person—Russian President Vladimir Putin.
@realDonaldTrump 1. @realDonaldTrump tweeting about a private citizen meeting with a foreign government is literally unbelievable— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd) 1536888043.0
@realDonaldTrump 2. Does @POTUS actually not know what FARA / foreign agents registration act? Has nothing to do wi… https://t.co/zRRRQ3Mu6U— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd) 1536888114.0
@realDonaldTrump 😂😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/0uJkwKMXQj— Angel (@Angel) 1536953021.0
@realDonaldTrump But Putin is our friend, right??— Jo Harrington (@Jo Harrington) 1536955109.0
@realDonaldTrump Hi Donny, I see you're lying again. But the real reason I stopped by was to see how you're doing?… https://t.co/li7RreGhgh— Cathy Voisard 🆘 🌊 (@Cathy Voisard 🆘 🌊) 1536954135.0
@realDonaldTrump HELSINKI #pornpresident.— Beverly Atherton (@Beverly Atherton) 1536960094.0
Kerry's statements about meeting with Iranian officials he worked with during his tenure as Secretary of State came during his media tour to promote his new book.
In regards to the meetings, Kerry stated:
"It’s to talk to them more importantly about their behavior and what are the ways forward. If they are going to continue to meddle in Yemen, in other countries, Saudi Arabia, or to supply weapons to Hezbollah, or mess around in Syria, we have legitimate concerns."
"Every former secretary of state has meetings. We don’t negotiate and we don’t interfere with policy, but we talk, we have reasonable discussions about the world."
As for Trump's complaint that Kerry told the Iranians to wait out the Trump administration before taking drastic actions, the former Secretary stated that advice is not unique to him.
"I think everybody in the world is talking about waiting out President Trump."
The President's comment about Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) may relate to Paul Manafort and Robert Mueller. Violations of FARA were included in Manafort's charges. But Trump's comments indicate a lack of understanding of the law.
@LgStrigiformes @realDonaldTrump Have you read why people have to register under FARA? Having a security clearance… https://t.co/joNYFEyeV5— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd) 1536949596.0
Trump accuses John Kerry of breaching the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a day before Paul Manafort is expected t… https://t.co/F3X6kufOVg— Gabe Fleisher (@Gabe Fleisher) 1536887879.0
@kylegriffin1 While @realDonaldTrump inaccurately charged @JohnKerry with FARA violations bc he spoke with Iranians… https://t.co/tenEHl3Hkn— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd) 1536932342.0
FARA states agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a "political or quasi-political capacity" disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. It has no connection to private citizens meeting with foreign governments.