Precedent for GOP’s Iran letter hard to find, historians say

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The U.S. Senate Historian’s Office has so far been unable to find another example in the chamber’s history where one political party openly tried to deal with a foreign power against a presidential policy, as Republicans have attempted in their open letter to Iran this week.

The letter sent by 47 Republican senators sets out to instruct Iranian leaders about how the U.S. Constitution works. They wrote that the deal currently being negotiated with their government by the U.S. and western allies, to limit Iran’s nuclear expansion could be undone by Congress.

“We haven’t found a precedent,” said Senate Historian Donald Ritchie. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent. After 200 years. It’s hard to find anything that unprecedented.”




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