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Former Vice President Joe Biden, whom the media has declared the president-elect, is reportedly already talking to foreign governments about his planned agenda as president.
According to Ben Rhodes, one of former President Barack Obama’s top foreign advisers and speechwriters, Biden has begun actively preparing his foreign policy agenda by talking to foreign leaders.
What did Rhodes say?
Speaking on MSNBC Monday, Rhodes said that no matter what legal challenges Trump’s team launches, none will stick, and Biden is already acting like the definite election winner.
“But here’s the thing. This is going to happen anyway,” Rhodes said of a presidential transition.
“The Trump people seem to be talking like they have some agency here. We’re going to have the pageantry already of the president-elect announcing his advisory board. He’s going to start announcing cabinet secretaries. The center of political gravity in this country and the world is shifting to Joe Biden,” he continued.
“Foreign leaders are already having phone calls with Joe Biden, talking about the agenda they’re going to pursue January 20th,” Rhodes admitted. “If that reality hasn’t sunk in yet for some people in the White House, it will sink in when they have to leave on January 20th. And they’re going to be in for a rude awakening here.”
What about the Logan Act?
Rhodes’ comments immediately generated allegations that Biden is potentially violating the Logan Act, the 18th-century law that criminalizes unauthorized communication with foreign governments by American citizens.
The law reads:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Americans are, of course, familiar with the Logan Act because Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was accused of violating the law during the Trump transition period when he engaged in discussions with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. That conversation came after the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Moscow for election interference.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Obama Official Ben Rhodes Admits Biden Camp is Already Working With Foreign Leaders: Exactly What Michael Flynn Did.”
As a timeline of the Flynn incident outlines, Flynn’s alleged sin was not simply that he talked to officials from another government, but that he allegedly did so to potentially benefit himself due to his personal and business interests involving Turkey.
Still, as the Washington Post noted, incoming presidential officials customarily begin talking with foreign governments, for they will soon have to work with them as the official U.S. government apparatus. But Flynn’s seemingly commonplace communication was framed as if he had violated the Logan Act outright, as this Atlantic article implies.
Ultimately, Flynn was never charged with violating the Logan Act; he was criminally prosecuted for lying to FBI investigators.
But the irony should not be lost that, as TheBlaze reported, it was Biden who suggested in the final days of the Obama administration that investigators should use the Logan Act to go after Flynn.