A Leaked 2016 call between former vice president Joe Biden and then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reveals Biden trying to violate the Logan Act. The call, revealed by Ukrainian politician Andriy Derkach, took place on Nov. 16, 2016, just a week after then-candidate Donald Trump won the presidential election. In the phone call, Joe Biden told Poroshenko that he plans to remain “deeply engaged” in diplomacy after he leaves office. During the Obama administration, Biden handled policy on Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and China.
From the Federalist:
During the course of the call, Biden badmouthed the incoming administration, saying, “The truth of the matter is that the incoming administration doesn’t know a great deal about [Ukraine]” and that they were unprepared for the transition. This in itself is inappropriate, but it was meant to set the stage for Biden’s next statement and future plans.
Biden then told Poroshenko, “I don’t plan on going away. As a private citizen, I plan on staying deeply engaged in the endeavor that you have begun and we have begun.” In a matter of moments, Biden undermined the incoming administration, branded them as not knowing anything about Ukraine, and attempted to set up a foreign policy backchannel for himself after he left office as a private citizen, which could violate the Logan Act.
The Logan Act bars private citizens from engaging in U.S. foreign policy, although its constitutionality remains questionable and no person has ever been convicted of violating it since it was signed into law in 1799. Ironically, this is the same act that, at Joe Biden’s suggestion, the FBI accused National Security Advisor Michael Flynn of violating as a result of a discussion Flynn had with the Russian ambassador to the United States around nearly the same time as Biden’s call with Poroshenko.
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