Gardner Ducks Questions About Iran Letter

Cory Gardner Iran Letter

Sen. Cory Gardner meant no harm in signing the “Dear Iran” letter. He just wanted a pen pal (yeah, that’s the ticket!)

UPDATE: Gardner talks to Mark Matthews of the Denver Post, and doubles-down on the nonsense:

Gardner said the point was making clear that Congress was adamantly against the possibility of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, and that anything else was a distraction too. [Pols emphasis]

“If you listen to the reaction of the administration, they are in hyperdrive trying to downplay what’s really at stake,” Gardner said. “That’s why the president is trying so hard to distract people from the real issue.”…

…Asked about its long-term effects, Gardner said [the letter] does nothing to hinder his campaign goal of trying work the ideological middle of the Senate.

The Iran issue “is a prime example of where we can and should work together,” he said.

Shrug. Blame President Obama. Talk about working together. Repeat.

Gardner’s entire explanation is horseshit. He says the point was to make clear to Iran that “Congress” is adamantly against a nuclear-armed Iran…except that the letter wasn’t even signed by every Republican in the Senate.

No dice, Senator. You owe Coloradans more of an answer than this.


The asinine “Dear Iran” letter signed by 47 Republican Senators is becoming a bigger story by the day as Republicans who declined to sign are questioning the letter’s logic. It’s tough to defend when Iran responds by calling it a “Propaganda Ploy.”

From TPM:

Conspicuously absent among signatories to the letter is Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who says he’s working to build a veto-proof majority for his legislation restricting President Barack Obama’s negotiating options with Iran and ensuring congressional approval before any deal is struck. He hinted that the Cotton letter wouldn’t help advance the cause.

“I knew it was going to be only Republicans on [the letter]. I just don’t view that as where I need to be today,” Corker told Politico

The gambit is earning attention well outside traditional foreign policy circles. As of Tuesday morning, the hashtag #47Traitors was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States. [Pols emphasis]

NY Daily News Traitors

Front page of today’s NY Daily News.

As Politico reports, the seven Republican Senators who declined to sign the letter have been open about their concern with the strategy. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is one of the 47 Senators who did sign the letter, but he’s not talking (naturally). Via Eli Stokols at FOX 31:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner didn’t back down Tuesday as controversy continued to swirl around the letter he and most of his Senate GOP colleagues signed in an effort to undermine a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran to limit that country’s nuclear program.

He also declined to answer more questions about it…[Pols emphasis]

…Asked for additional comment Tuesday, Gardner’s office stood by its statement from Monday, even amidst new debate in Washington about whether the move, whatever its impact on a potential deal with Iran, is a violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits American citizens from communicating with foreign governments to conduct their own foreign policy.

Gardner’s statement on Monday was a ham-handed attempt to downplay the letter as a clarification for Iranian leaders on our system of government. That Gardner has refused to elaborate today is no real surprise, but he also deserves the criticism he is receiving. He’s a U.S. Senator now — Gardner can’t just shrug off this kind of thing like he did when he was in the House of Representatives.

This isn’t just silly partisan politics at play — this is dangerous. If you are going to sign your name to a letter that openly undermines the diplomatic process of the United States government…you damn well better explain yourself.

52 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Republican 36 says:

    Mr. Gardner needs to answer. As Coloradopols said in the opening of this thread. He’s now a U.S. Senator and he just can’t shrug this off. He needs to be asked and we should demand an answers to these questions:

    Senator Gardner, why are you supporting war as the only option to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?

    Why are you against negotiations?

    Why are you intent on sending my son to war? 

    When you Senator attempt to place your country in a position where war is the only option, we have a right, an absolute right, to know why you think that’s necessary.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    What can he say?  Explain that his deep hatred and hostility for the black man in the White House is patriotic and professional?  That’s going to come off as sleazy lies masking a racist attitude.  Does he secretly wish that he was on the Ferguson police force at the height of it’s powers?  Who does these kinds of creepy things and then refuse to take ownership of them and offer an explanation?

  3. Davie says:

    Con Man Cory is counting on the dismal state of our local and state press to ignore his participation, and TV stations at most, run a one-sentence banner for a few minutes on one night’s broadcast, then letting him slither away unscathed.

    Even he knows he can’t explain his way out of this one.  But he’ll definitely be flashing his pearly whites at every opportunity.

  4. Early Worm says:

    My question to Gardner would be simpler. Does he believe that the President of the United States has the right and authority to engage in foreign policy on behalf of the nation? If the answer is no, then why not? If he answers yes, then he must explain why he is meddling. He has the right and privilege as a citizen to question and criticise the President’s policy choices. As a US Senator, he has the multiple media outlets that will let him publicise his opinion. But why does he think that he and his 46 dimwitted friends get to undermine the President? 

    • mamajama55 says:

      These people like to brag that they know the Constitution so goddamn well that no one else dares claim acquaintance with it.  How did they miss the part where the President and Exectutive Branch are in charge of foreign policy? They certainly got the “advice and consent”  part which takes 2/3 of Senators to approve treaties the President makes with foreign powers.

      This was a threat that the Senate would lack the 66 votes to uphold any treaty the President makes with Iran? WTF would they want to do that?

      As R36 points out, it looks very much as if the 47 traitors are deliberately undermining the peace process with Iran, or at least the nuclear disarmament process. Our President has done more than any other to secure the “loose nukes” around the world, frustrating terrorists and petty dictators everywhere. At the same time, unfortunately, the US is rebuilding and updating its own atomic arsenal.

      One other thing to keep in mind:

      If these cynical senators succeed in undermining the peace process, these would be the first people in the line of fire:

      Remember when there was bipartisan support for the pro-democracy movement in Iran?

      You really want to nuke them, Cory?

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Nice thing about Sen. Slimey, he’ll probably just “reconsider” his position before the next election . . ?!?

    (. . . especially if it’s any kind of political liability . . . )

  6. Gilpin Guy says:

    At least Bennet got around to explaining his Keystone votes.  I guess I’ll have to post the email I got.

  7. Bokonon says:

    Ahhh … so this is how Cory Gardner intends to carry out his new position as Senator!  

    Gardner intends to legislate from the far right … and be a hardcore partisan … and then grin and duck and refuse to answer any questions when people asks him about it.   Just like being in the House of Representatives, but better!   

    Gardner will try to shrug off the controversy caused by his actions and positions by refusing to address them in the media, and count on everyone forgetting stuff like this once the news cycle is over.   No engagement?   Less controversy!

    He will also blow off constituents that get upset with him in the time-honored fashion of Colorado’s other GOP representatives.  No engagement?  Then you didn’t have the right viewpoint in the first place!  

    And Gardner will do this again and again, over and over.   He will aim to get people to remember his smiley-smiley television act instead of his actual behavior in office.

    And then in six years, Gardner will go out, stand before voters again, and tout himself once more as a moderate who can work across the isle in the Senate and favors common sense solutions.  He will run a ton of campaign ads where he stands up front of some wind generation farms and talks soothingly about clean energy, the future and jobs.   At the same time, Gardner will have his political surrogates run around stirring up anger about the hot button culture war issues of the day, whatever they are, while trying not to get his hands dirty.   And Gardner will count on his conservative base voting for him no matter what, so long as he has voted like a diamond-hard right winger.  THEY will notice, and THEY won’t forget.  THEY will be keeping score.

    Will it work?   Depends on how many people in the squishy middle go for it.  

    Maybe he can even finagle the Denver Post to endorse him again, with some sort hand-waving editorial that intones “We are impressed with Senator Gardner.  While we don’t agree with him on every issue, he has proven a mature and moderate influence on the most extreme ideologues of both sides.  In the run up to the war with Iran, Senator Gardner deplored the need for armed confrontation … regretting that diplomacy had been tried, but that the Iranians had just failed to negotiate in good faith.”

  8. Republican 36 says:

    I read the update above in the thread and Mr. Gardner can’t side step this issue. First, I’ve read the letter and it says nothing about what terms either Mr. Gardner or his Republican colleagues will accept in a treaty. Mr. Gardner, if you’re going to undermine the executive branch negotiations, the least he and the other Republicans can do is state the terms they would agree to in a treaty. A recitation of the 47 senators view of the Constitution falls far short of that.

    Mr. Gardner goes on to state that he believes the Iranian issue is one where the President and the Republican Congress can and should work together while he simultaneously, only yesterday, signed a letter undermining the President’s ability to negotiate with the Iranians. How is that working together?

    Then he goes on to blame the President’s reaction to the letter for the letter he helped author and signed? Distraction by the President? Really, Mr. Gardner? Remember, Mr. Gardner, the Iranians are at the table right now because of the economic and financial sanctions the world placed on them. President Obama is the one who got that done. You still remain silent on the question of why you are undermining the negotiations with Iran which leaves war as the only option to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. In your letter you’re, in essence, telling the Iranians there is no point to the negotiations, because the legislative branch won’t honor an agreement. With that on the table why in the world would the Iranians negotiate? Why, Mr. Gardner, do you want to put your country in a position where war is the only option? By undermining the negotiations, the only way to attain your goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is war.

    Mr. Gardner, if you aren’t trying to corner your country into going to war with Iran, then please answer on what terms would a treaty be acceptable to you? My son’s life may depend on your answer.


  9. DawnPatrol says:

    As I’ve always said, and from which I have never wavered: Cory Gardner is and always has been a loathsome, lowdown, lying piece of shit, and a scum-sucking snake in the grass. Fraud, con man, craven coward and shameless liar, par excellence.

    And the Denver comPost is a corrupt, worthless piece of shit for ever having endorsed this petty criminal.

    • denverco says:

      Excellent post – agree 100%

      • MichaelBowman says:

        I’d have to agree, as well.  While my preference would not be name calling and insults, they are well-warranted this time.  I accepted the outcome of the election and (naively) said I’d judge my Senator on his votes, not his rhetoric.  So now I’ll judge him on his vote.  And yes, as I sit here and watch yet another Wounded Warrior commercial, watch the feel-good infomercials and scenes of Dubya hugging these limbless young men and women, endure the never-ending horror stories about what we left behind in Iraq – all while we watch over 20 of our young veterans take their life each and every day – I literally want to puke. 

        • DawnPatrol says:

          I assure you, name calling and insults are not my preference either, Michael. But these immoral swine have pushed this nation to the wall, and it’s time we start calling a spade a spade. They’ve declared themselves the enemy — of us, of democracy, of the United States, its government and its Constitution and Bill of Rights. We’d damn best get around to identifying and treating them as such.

          They ridicule kid gloves, make a complete mockery of bipartisanship, and spit upon civility, decorum and moderation.

          “The Constitution’s just a goddam piece of paper.” – George W. Bush

          • MichaelBowman says:

            I couldn’t agree more…my statement wasn’t intended to be an attack on you!

            • Duke Cox says:

              I have always made my assessment of our smiling senator fairly clear…I hope he faces criminal charges here because what he has done is a criminal matter. These guys are willing to ratchet it up for one reason only…the same reason ISIS has become a major threat…the vast sums of money at their disposal.

              Who believes there aren’t enough whackos to do the same thing and make Idamonwyovada into a white, Christian equivalent of a caliphate? What makes anyone believe that the gun nuts here aren’t as crazy as the gun nuts there?

  10. BlueCat says:

    What? AC and Modster haven’t jumped in to explain why it’s perfectly OK for one party in Congress to jump in and conduct their own independent backdoor foreign policy with Iran? A policy perfectly in accord with what hard line Iranians are calling for, as it happens? Right after inviting a foreign leader running for office in his own country to speak to Congress in opposition to their own government’s negotiations without so much as a by your leave to the President or State Department?

    Of course we know why they’d think it was treason if Dems were doing it to a GOTP administration. IOKIYAR. Besides, it’s also OK to do anything to Obama because he’s not a real American President, despite the fact that a decisive majority of Americans, including a decisive majority of Jewish Americans who probably are at least as concerned about Iran and Israel as these dicks are, elected him twice.

    Look. I just saved them the trouble of spewing their nonsense.

  11. DawnPatrol says:

    Stupid, stupid, willfully ignorant, grossly irresponsible, anti-American, racist right-wing miserable GOP bastards, including Con Man Cory:

    • denverco says:

      Apparently darth cheney doesn’t agree 

      But one Republican leader—Dick Cheney—furiously condemned congressional interference with the president’s policy toward Iran. Condemned it, that is, provided the president was Ronald Reagan and the issue wasn’t limiting Iran’s arsenal, but enhancing it.

      That’s right. In the wake of the arms-for-hostages scandal that engulfed President Reagan in 1986, the minority Republican response to the congressional Iran-Contra investigation declared that Congress, not the White House, had done something wrong. Joined then by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (who also signed this week’s letter) among other GOP leaders, Cheney didn’t just denounce the majority’s findings as “clearly cast in such a partisan tone,” but insisted President Reagan had the constitutional authority to ignore the congressional ban on aid to the Nicaraguan Contras:

      “Judgments about the Iran-Contra Affair ultimately must rest upon one’s views about the proper roles of Congress and the President in foreign policy. … [T]hroughout the Nation’s history, Congress has accepted substantial exercises of Presidential power — in the conduct of diplomacy, the use of force and covert action — which had no basis in statute and only a general basis in the Constitution itself. … [M]uch of what President Reagan did in his actions toward Nicaragua and Iran were constitutionally protected exercises of inherent Presidential powers. … [T]he power of the purse … is not and was never intended to be a license for Congress to usurp Presidential powers and functions.”

    • BlueCat says:

      Nobody remembers when congress going behind the President’s back with their own separate foreign policy agenda was patriotic because it has never….ever…. happened before, Elliot. Never. Period. And had it ever been attempted by Dems under a Republican administration you’d be in complete agreement with the Republicans crying treason. I don’t even want  a response from you because we all know it would be nothing but your usual look over there, false equivalence, apples and oranges, Johnny does it too (never in this case) utter and complete apologist IOKIYAR bullshit. Please don’t bother. It’s truly sickening.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Remember when you weren’t a hilarious caricature of a dissembling asshole?

      Your article isn’t remotely comparable with the treasonous act of these 47 traitors.  They went beyond dissent and their pay grade and attempted to obstruct and destroy an legitimate effort to make the world a less dangerous place.  I don’t see Israel stepping up and signing the Non-nuclear Proliferation Treaty and allowing UN Inspectors to look at their nuclear weapons. 

      Pretty weak response Elliot but weak ‘they do it too’ arguments and nonsequiturs are really about all you’ve got anymore.

      • ElliotFladen says:

        Treason is a serious word.  It seems that you believe an act (the Logan Act), passed at about the time as the Alien and Sedition act, whose only indictment came in 1803 and under which there has never been a successful prosecution applies in this context. Good luck with that.  There is such a thing called the first amendment, and this would be a content-based restriction that is not narrowily tailored to any government interest.  In fact, the State department already agreed that this wouldn’t be a prosecutable under the act in 1973.  See here.

        But hey – the GOP did it so it must be bad argument really makes you happy.  So keep at it! Who cares if it is accurate or not? 


        (oops, forgot about the Political Question doctrine as well)

        • BlueCat says:

          It may not be technically treason. In fact, I’ll grant you it isn’t treason since we aren’t in any declared war and haven’t been since WWII. That never stopped Republicans from crying treason every time they met with stiff opposition from Dems. But Dems didn’t invite the French President, without consulting the President or the State Dept, to come speak to Congress against Bush’s policies in Iraq. Dems didn’t go behind Bush’s back to communicate directly with Saddam Hussein.

          So, not treason, just entirely unprecedented, outrageous and showing no regard for what has been considered a required modicum of loyalty and patriotism up until now. And yes, we have a long tradition of loyal opposition but these 47 Senators and most of the contemporary GOP have completely lost sight of that concept. They are the anything but loyal opposition. It’s no different than if Congress had gone behind Kennedy’s back to interfere with Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis.

          The fact that you really think this is just something silly liberals think is wrong because the GOP did it shows what a caricature you’ve really become. Pretty sure the seven Republicans who refused to go along with it aren’t blinded by anti-GOP partisan pique and would find your juvenile accusation quite stupid.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          That’s all you’ve got you lovable asshole?  A technicality?

          “It’s technically not treason.  I looked it up.”

          Too bad you don’t care about Peace or the Constitution or doing what’s right?  I guess those are more than technicalities so you can’t comment on them.

          • ElliotFladen says:

            Gilpin, you are missing it – you don’t have a monopoly on determining what is right.  The signors of this letter feel they are in the right.  If you disagree, your remedy is the ballot box. 

            • Diogenesdemar says:

              Jim Jones felt he was right.  The Branch Davidian’s felt they were right.  Timothy McVeigh thought he was right.  Jefferson Davis thought he was right.  Bull Conner thought he was right.  Gordon Chappenschtupen thinks he’s right. George W. Bush thought Cheney was right . . . . . . . 

              GG thinks you’ve become a caricature of a dissembling asshole . . . 

              (I’m beginning to wonder if he’s right about the “caricature” thing?)

            • Bokonon says:

              No – you are wrong, Elliot.  The remedy is elected officials respecting the boundaries of our political system, and not doing things that damage the nation’s interests.   Voting isn’t a remedy to violations like this.  It isn’t a popularity contest.  

              And as Tom Cotton arrogantly reminded the Iranians, US Presidents come and go, but it is pretty hard to get rid of an incumbent US Senator from one of the southern states – regardless of what they do.  They don’t face accountability to the rest of the nation very often. 

              And before you go all moral relativist on us, Elliot … there IS an objective right and wrong here.   Before this backfired on them, the GOP was more or less chortling and twirling their villain mustache about how very WRONG this was, and how thoroughly they were screwing over the Iran negotiations in a deliberate violation of the norms of diplomacy.  

              You just don’t want your side to be accountable for one of the worst subversions of US foreign policy since … what … Nixon interfered in the Johnson administration’s negotiations with the North Vietnamese?

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              Clueless as usual moran.

              I gave you a perfect opportunity to discuss what kind of advice these senators should have given the president in relation to the conditions of the treaty that would acceptable to them and what concession they acknowledged needed to be made to reach a deal.

              Instead you do one of your whiney puke posts declaring that all Truth is relative so Republicans are perfectly entitled to create their own reality.   I will give you credit for showing up.  Moderatus and Libertard are nowhere to be found.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      What dissent? Gardner and company were providing pro bono legal advice to the Islamic Republic of Iran on US. Constitutional law. 


  12. ParkHill says:

    So, the foreign minister of Iran was educated in the US

    Via Mahablog:

    Of course, the #47Traitors don’t consider the Obama Administration to be the legitimate executive branch of the government, so this will have been lost on them. But how can some foreigner presume to speak for the “nuances” of the United States Constitution?  Wikipedia:

    Zarif attended Drew College Preparatory School, a private college-preparatory high school located in San Francisco, California. He went on to study at San Francisco State University, from which he gained a BA in International Relations in 1981 and an MA in the same subject in 1982. Following this, Zarif continued his studies at the Graduate School of International Studies (now named the Josef Korbel School of International Studies) at the University of Denver, from which he obtained a second MA in International Relations in 1984 and this was followed by a PhD in International Law and Policy in 1988. His thesis was entitled: “Self-Defense in International Law and Policy”.

  13. taterheaptom says:

    The Counselor entertains himself with his brilliance before dodging, he thinks strategically, down a rabbit hole.  

  14. denverco says:

    Senate historian can’t find anything in history that matches gop letter

  15. taterheaptom says:

    Meanwhile a voice from the Clown Car: Rand Paul: Iran Letter Was Meant to Strengthen President’s Hand

  16. self80602 says:

    There are only two words for Cory Gardner’s behavior – Senatorial Malpractice. Gardner shows his ignorance of foreign policy engagement by his blatant misunderstanding of how the Government works. This is a negotiation between allies about how to proceed with Iran. And the President has the Constitutional right to participate in those discussions with other countries – our allies. The United States doesn’t even have diplomatic relations with Iran. There’s no active negotiations with Iran that could even be taking place. On top of that, all 47 of these Bozo’s could be prosecuted under the Logan Act. It’s still on the books as actual law “United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments”. This is an end run around the talks the President is having with other of our allies, and it’s totally illegal under US law – on the books right now. Only the President is authorized to participate in these negotiations with other US allies. What Cory Gardner signed on for by his act is a Federal felony punishable by 3 years in Federal Jail. Notable Republicans didn’t sign this letter – Susan Collins from Maine being one of them. This is Cory Gardner doing what he is told to do by his Republican handlers and Senior Republican leaders. Not Cory Gardner exercising any logic or common sense or knowledge of how the Government works. This is NOT Cory Gardner acting in the best interests of the people of Colorado or the Nation. This is not done in a spirit of cooperation to get things done in Congress or in the world to make things better. This IS inflammatory. It is purely partisan and people need to know just who is representing them. This is patently ridiculous behavior and please do expect this same behavior to continue for the next 6 YEARS. It’s the behavior of a lemming. Not the behavior of one having any common sense, personal responsibility, or respect for the Governmental process. Wake up and understand what people like Cory Gardner are doing to the nation and to the reputation of Colorado – we all look stupid because of it, and it represents continued Republican insanity, inconsideration for the Presidency (bordering on racism), sensationalism, outright breaking of a Federal law, and just plain stupidity. Cory Gardner is hoping you will react on your “feelings” that what he did was “right”. He acted in blatant disrespect for the Government and I sincerely hope Coloradans will understand the facts and live with the truth, until we can vote Cory Gardner out ASAP. He is a disgrace to the position of Colorado Senator – already.

  17. MarkKeefer says:

    I have been looking for a petition for recall of Senator Gardner. If our state can recall politicians for passing firearm legislation, we should be able to recall a politician for violation of the Logan Act and sedition. How many people will lose their lives, and how many billions of dollars will be spent if the United States is forced into armed conflict with Iran because of his actions? If such a petition exists, I will be happy to go door to door to get signatures.

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