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house Bill H.R. 6511

One President at a Time: Should the Logan Act Apply to the President-elect?

Argument in favor

A sitting president should have the ability to conduct foreign policy as they see fit until they leave office without being undermined by a president-elect who interacts with foreign governments in a way that influences their policy toward the U.S.

Joseph's Opinion
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12/15/2016
If my employment starts on x date, legally I am unable to perform the duties or represent my employer prior to that date; holds true for ANY position.
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Leda's Opinion
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12/15/2016
Donald trump is unfit to be president and he wouldn't have the electoral vote if he didn't rely on Russian hackers and campaign analytica which comes from a military Psyop's background. He should not be interacting with foreign leaders right now. Our democracy is in jeopardy.
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Angela's Opinion
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12/15/2016
Foreign policy is a delicate matter of negotiation and relationship-building. Foreign governments should not receive multiple, conflicting messages about where they stand with the United States, and the president who is still in office should be the one setting the official message about our relationship to other governments.
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Argument opposed

If passed, this clarification of the Logan Act could make it more difficult for there to be a seamless transition of power for an incoming president if it’s interpreted in a way that prevents them from discussing their views or plans with foreign leaders.

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12/15/2016
Some context should really be given regarding the Logan Act. It was passed in 1799 during heightened tensions between the United States and France and was passed in response to the meeting of a man named Dr. George Logan with French officials in an attempt to assuage tensions between the countries. The Federalists in Congress, who held a majority at the time, essentially rammed the Logan Act through Congress because they didn't like the praise showered on Logan by the minority Democratic-Republicans. The Logan Act was described as an act to curb the temerity and impudence of individuals affecting to interfere in public affairs between France and the United States. Any attempt to prosecute someone under the Logan Act is an ultimately futile effort and would more likely get the act rendered unconstitutional than anything else.
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Loraki's Opinion
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12/16/2016
This is a BLATANT ATTACK on President-Elect Trump by sour-grapes Democrats! It's beyond pathetic! It's shameful and disgusting! I would have more respect for the Democrats if they accepted the results of the Presidential election with more grace. The President-Elect isn't an ordinary citizen! Even though he hasn't been sworn in yet, he is an elected official! I was totally against Mr. Trump when he first launched his campaign. I supported Sen. Cruz. I was devastated when Sen. Cruz lost out to Mr. Trump. But now I have accepted the results of the election; I acknowledge Mr. Trump as my new President and I intend to hold him to the promises he made during his campaign. The results of the election showed clearly that the majority of the American people are not happy with the direction in which this nation has been heading. We have rejected the socialist policies of President Obama and are taking back our Republic, our freedom, and our sovereignty! You Democrats now have an opportunity to demonstrate that TOLERANCE that you have for so long demanded of us, whether or not you decide you're going to finally HONOR YOUR OATH OF OFFICE for a change!
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Michael's Opinion
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12/15/2016
This is a waste of time and resources. Is anyone capable of basic intellectual honesty anymore? This wouldn't even have been brought up if Hillary was elected. The incoming president should know what's going on before they take office. Trump wasn't my candidate choice either, but he won more counties, which won him more states, which won him more electoral votes. So please stop talking about the popular vote! All your doing is advertising your ignorance.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedDecember 8th, 2016

What is House Bill H.R. 6511?

This bill — known as the One President at a Time Act — would amend the Logan Act to clarify that the president-elect cannot conduct foreign policy matters without the authorization of the U.S. government. The Logan Act forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in a way that undermines the U.S. government’s position, and violating it is a felony.

Impact

The President-Elect of the United States.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6511

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced this bill to prevent a president-elect from interfering in U.S. foreign policy before they take office:

“Not only is it an unacceptable intrusion for a President-elect to start engaging in foreign policy matters before they are in office — let alone before they are fully briefed on complex and fragile geopolitical situations — it is dangerous and harms America’s standing in the world.”


Of NoteThere has been only one person who has ever been indicted for violating the provisions of the Logan Act, but that was in 1803 and no one has ever actually been prosecuted. That being said, there have been numerous occasions where questions have been raised about whether an individual’s actions violated the Logan Act.

During the 1980s, Reverend Jesse Jackson and House Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX) frustrated the Reagan administration through their travels and discussions with the government of Nicaragua, but neither allegation was pursued. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the subject of legislation that sought to prohibit her from using federal funds to travel to countries considered by the U.S. to be state sponsors of terror after meeting with Syria’s government, but the amendment wasn’t adopted.

More recently, 47 Republican senators wrote a letter to Iran’s government in 2015 warning them of the limitations of his constitutional authority to bind the U.S. to international agreements beyond his presidency while the nuclear agreement was being negotiated, prompting unsuccessful calls for their prosecution under the Logan Act. And in July 2016, many Democrats accused then-presidential candidate Donald Trump of violating the Logan Act by encouraging the Russian government to hack Hillary Clinton’s email.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Gage Skidmore)

AKA

One President at a Time Act of 2016

Official Title

To amend section 953 of title 18, United States Code (commonly called the Logan Act) to clarify the application of that section to Presidents-elect.

    If my employment starts on x date, legally I am unable to perform the duties or represent my employer prior to that date; holds true for ANY position.
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    Some context should really be given regarding the Logan Act. It was passed in 1799 during heightened tensions between the United States and France and was passed in response to the meeting of a man named Dr. George Logan with French officials in an attempt to assuage tensions between the countries. The Federalists in Congress, who held a majority at the time, essentially rammed the Logan Act through Congress because they didn't like the praise showered on Logan by the minority Democratic-Republicans. The Logan Act was described as an act to curb the temerity and impudence of individuals affecting to interfere in public affairs between France and the United States. Any attempt to prosecute someone under the Logan Act is an ultimately futile effort and would more likely get the act rendered unconstitutional than anything else.
    Like (24)
    Follow
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    Donald trump is unfit to be president and he wouldn't have the electoral vote if he didn't rely on Russian hackers and campaign analytica which comes from a military Psyop's background. He should not be interacting with foreign leaders right now. Our democracy is in jeopardy.
    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
    Foreign policy is a delicate matter of negotiation and relationship-building. Foreign governments should not receive multiple, conflicting messages about where they stand with the United States, and the president who is still in office should be the one setting the official message about our relationship to other governments.
    Like (45)
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    Absolutely. We are seeing the worst possible example of this now with a PEOTUS who is not qualified for the position, refusing to attend intelligence briefings or go through proper security channels. The damage that could be done is huge.
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    The President-elect is not lawfully president until his/her inauguration.
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    Sour grapes
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    Consider that: 1. the Logan Act is so broad of range that it might not be Constitutionally legal; 2. it has been applied only once, resulting in acquittal; and 3. nobody on the Left cares that multiple other left-wing citizens in no position of legal authorization have taken upon themselves the "right" to negotiate policy and law with foreign governments' leaders. So why the big stink now? Oh, I forgot, it's okay for Jesse Jackson, Hollywood stars, and ex-presidents to do this. Dems are still hypocritical to the max: "we can do whatever we want, but you who are not with us cannot."
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    This is a BLATANT ATTACK on President-Elect Trump by sour-grapes Democrats! It's beyond pathetic! It's shameful and disgusting! I would have more respect for the Democrats if they accepted the results of the Presidential election with more grace. The President-Elect isn't an ordinary citizen! Even though he hasn't been sworn in yet, he is an elected official! I was totally against Mr. Trump when he first launched his campaign. I supported Sen. Cruz. I was devastated when Sen. Cruz lost out to Mr. Trump. But now I have accepted the results of the election; I acknowledge Mr. Trump as my new President and I intend to hold him to the promises he made during his campaign. The results of the election showed clearly that the majority of the American people are not happy with the direction in which this nation has been heading. We have rejected the socialist policies of President Obama and are taking back our Republic, our freedom, and our sovereignty! You Democrats now have an opportunity to demonstrate that TOLERANCE that you have for so long demanded of us, whether or not you decide you're going to finally HONOR YOUR OATH OF OFFICE for a change!
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    This should be obvious
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    Peter, please form coherent sentences with proper grammar and get your name out from every other sentence so people can actually read what you're saying. Thank you.
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    This is a waste of time and resources. Is anyone capable of basic intellectual honesty anymore? This wouldn't even have been brought up if Hillary was elected. The incoming president should know what's going on before they take office. Trump wasn't my candidate choice either, but he won more counties, which won him more states, which won him more electoral votes. So please stop talking about the popular vote! All your doing is advertising your ignorance.
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    President-elect should not usurp the power of the president but should be allowed to do what is needed in preparation to take up the position. Where were all these rule makers when "executive orders" were being freely flung?
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    They are at their free will. No one should infringe who the president elect should speak to at any time.
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    This is a violation of our freedom of speech. He has no authority of course, but should not be prohibited from discussing anything.
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    This whining man child has diarrhea of the mouth and should be censored.
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    This seems like common sense to me. A president elect is not yet president, and should be careful not to act like they are. Until a new president is sworn in that person has no more authority to negotiate with a foreign government than I do. My support for this in no influenced by my thoughts on Trump, by the time this bill passes, Trump will already be president, and so it would not affect him anyways. However it would be good to have in place for future presidential transitions.
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    The con argument seems to be that this would make future transitions more difficult. The transition doesn't seem to be going too well as far as foreign policy is concerned without the provisions of this bill, does it? Who knew we would elect a man with an ego that demands constant stroking & who has no self control? Any bill that will restrain the behavior of any similar future Toddlers-in-Chief is an altogether great idea! In the meantime, he is now YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, Republicans. You supported him (or not) and it's your job to keep him from destroying what is left of our democracy. Try to control your own personal greed for both money & power long enough to prevent Armageddon! This means you, Rep DeSantis and Sen Rubio. If you indulge yourselves in your usual unpatriotic, unethical behavior, the death of the founding father's vision is on YOU personally. (I have no faith that either of you have the personal integrity or political courage to do what is necessary based on your past performance. It would be a darlin' thing if you surprised me by not being total ass hats! Put on your big boy panties & give it a manly try.)
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    It just makes sense. Yes, there is a lame duck when there is a change in power, but the presidency runs from inauguration until the next president is inaugurated. The president-elect can state intentions to the press and others, as is done throughout the campaign, but he has no office role as the office holder.
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    Absolutely! Agent Orange is interfering in global affairs and putting our nation at risk.
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