Managing editor Michael W. Chapman intones in a May 10 CNS article:
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, President Donald Trump said that former Secretary of State John Kerry had "violated" the Logan Act by frequently communicating with Iran's government since leaving office in 2017, and he "should be prosecuted on that."
The Logan Act, enacted in 1799, states that private citizens not authorized to do so are not permitted to communicate or negotiate with foreign governments that are in a dispute with the United States. Iran is in a dispute with the United States over its nuclear program and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which was partly negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and which President Trump repudiated in 2018.
“What I would like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me," President Trump told reporters on Thursday. "You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That's a violation of the Logan Act. And, frankly, he should be prosecuted on that."
"But my people don't want to do anything that's -- only the Democrats do that kind of stuff, you know," said Trump. "If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act. But John Kerry violated the Logan Act."
"He's talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and many phone calls, and he's telling them what to do," said the president. "That's a total violation of the Logan Act."
Patrick Goodenough repeated Trump's accusation in a May 13 article about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, linking to Chapman's article and writing: "Asked whether Kerry should potentially be prosecuted under the Logan Act – as President Trump suggested last week – Pompeo said he would 'leave to the Department of Justice to make decisions about prosecutions.'"
This isn't the first time CNS has promoted such attacks on Kerry. Last October, a stenography piece on Mark Levin's interview with Newt Gingrich quoted Gingrich as saying that Kerry "was never really the American Secretary of State. He was a world Secretary of State, doing good things on behalf of the world. And which is why I don't think you can charge him with the Logan Act because you'd have to be an American in order to be charged with the Logan Act, and Kerry is not psychologically an American." And in a January 2018 column, Allen West argued that Kerry "may very well be in violation of the Logan Act, a punishable felony offense."
But none of these CNS writers mentioned that this "news" organizaiton felt much differently about the Logan Act not that long ago -- when a Trump ally was accused of violating it.
When Michael Flynn -- Trump campaign official who was briefly Trump's national security adviser -- was charged with lying to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russian officials, CNS promoted writers who not only attacked thte idea that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, they attacked the Logan Act itself.
A February 2017 column by Cully Stimson and Hans von Spakovsky defending Flynn pooh-poohed the very existence of the Logan Act:
No one has ever been prosecuted under that act (18 U.S.C. §953), which has been roundly (and rightly) criticized by distinguished legal scholars from the left and the right as a content-based restriction on First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Keep in mind that this law was passed just a year after the Alien and Sedition Acts.
The Sedition Act of 1798 is probably one of the worst violations of the First Amendment ever passed by Congress. The Logan Act follows pretty closely behind the Sedition Act in its basic abrogation of First Amendment rights and has never been used against the many Americans who may have technically violated it.
Von Spakovsky repeated his attack on the Logan Act in a May 2018 column: "Many are questioning the legitimacy of the FBI’s questioning Flynn, since the questioning was apparently based on a potential violation of the Logan Act, which makes it a crime for unauthorized people to negotiate on behalf of the United States with foreign governments. No one has been successfully prosecuted under the Logan Act since it was passed in 1799. Many scholars believe it is unconstitutional."
And in a December 2018 "news" article, Susan Jones rehashed Fox News host Laura Ingraham's defense of Flynn: "That was a leak of a phone call on American citizen that he had every right to make. It wasn't just that he was a national security advisor. Any American has the ability to talk to any ambassador that they want. They used a law from the 1700s, the Logan Act, that had never been used."
CNS has published no attacks on the Logan Act since Trump's remarks about Kerry.