Guy Reschenthaler Proposes Repealing Logan Act to Prevent Michael Flynn-like Prosecutions
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced legislation on Friday to repeal the Logan Act, which, he charged, has been used as a “political weapon” against people such as former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Reschenthaler proposed the Time to Repeal an Archaic Policy (TRAP) Act, which would repeal the “archaic” Logan Act. He believes the FBI used the Logan Act to set up Flynn.
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH), House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA) as well as Reps. Greg Steube (R-FL), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), and Scott Perry (R-PA) cosponsored the bill.
Reschenthaler contended in a statement on Friday that the Logan Act violates the First and Fifth Amendments. He said:
The 1799 Logan Act, recently used by former Director Jim Comey’s politicized FBI to railroad General Flynn, has become nothing more than a political weapon. The Logan Act flies in the face of our First Amendment right to free speech, as well as our Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause. I am proud to introduce the TRAP Act to repeal this antiquated, unconstitutional statute so we can prevent future politically motivated abuses like what we saw in General Flynn’s case:
The Logan Act makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to engage in unauthorized foreign diplomacy, including to “influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government” or to “defeat the measures of the United States.”
Reschenthaler’s office states that only two people have ever been charged under the Logan Act, and both defendants were acquitted.
An FBI lawyer testified before Congress that the Department of Justice (DOJ) believes the Logan Act is an “untested statute” that would leave the DOJ vulnerable to “substantial litigation risk.”
FBI notes revealed that agents used the Logan Act as a pretext to question Flynn. The notes found that then-FBI Director James Comey’s goal was to “prosecute” Flynn or “get him fired.” The DOJ dropped charges against Flynn on Thursday.
“The Logan Act is a superfluous law that has clearly shown its only utility is in leveraging political opponents via selective prosecutions,” added Reschenthaler. “I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting the TRAP Act so we can take this archaic law off the books once and for all.”