WSJ op-ed attacking Pelosi baselessly asserts she may have committed a felony
In an April 6 Wall Street Journal op-ed touted on the Drudge Report and by NBC's Matt Lauer, attorney Robert F. Turner asserted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) "may well have" violated a federal criminal law, the Logan Act, when she met with Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad on April 3.
But at no point did Turner note that the issue of whether a member of Congress has violated the Logan Act has never been adjudicated by a court. Nor did he inform readers of a 1975 State Department statement -- noted in a February 1, 2006, report on the Logan Act by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) -- that states: "The clear intent of this provision ... is to prohibit unauthorized persons from intervening in disputes between the United States and foreign governments. Nothing in [the Logan Act], however, would appear to restrict members of the Congress from engaging in discussions with foreign officials in pursuance of their legislative duties under the Constitution."
Turner purported to know the scope of a member of Congress' legislative duties for purposes of the Logan Act, and to know that Pelosi has acted outside that scope. But he cited no judicial authority for that specific position -- nor could he, since there are no court decisions interpreting that statute as it may apply to actions by members of Congress.