Chief Voxer Ezra Klein linked to a piece by Max Fisher earlier this morning on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit and the GOP letter to Iran, saying the GOP has crossed “a dangerous new line” with these two actions:

Really? What line would that be, exactly? Here’s an excerpt:

And that was before Sen. Cotton and 46 other Republican senators wrote the Iranian leader to tell him to disregard President Obama’s promises.

It’s worth pointing out there is a law specifically prohibiting US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments without official permission, and thus interfering in the foreign policy of the United States. Called the Logan Act, it’s named for a state legislator who corresponded with French officials in 1798 without his government’s permission because he disapproved of US policy toward France.

Cotton is not going to face prosecution for violating the Logan Act. “No one is ever actually prosecuted under the measure,” legal scholar Peter Spiro wrote recently. “It’s more a focal point for highlighting structural aspects of foreign relations.” And that’s the point: the letter goes way beyond the legally articulated limits on Congress’ role in foreign policy.

Does Vox mean a meeting like this one when Senators John Kerry and Tom Harkin met with communist Sandinista leaders in Nicaragua in the 80’s might be illegal or go against the “legally articulated limits on Congress’ role in foreign policy”?

Bingo.

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Editor’s note: Additional tweets have been added to this post.

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