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Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee on Capitol Hill this year. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Call it the two birds, one tweet approach: As he continues to feud with Senator Bob Corker, President Trump is now also blaming the Tennessee Republican for the Iran nuclear deal that the White House is threatening to decertify, perhaps as soon as this week.

But it is a misleading charge: Mr. Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, repeatedly spoke out against the accord to limit Tehran’s nuclear program before it was brokered by world powers in 2015.

“Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the White House offered details. “Senator Corker worked with Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration to pave the way for that legislation, and basically rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters, referring to the House Democratic leader.

She was talking about a bill that Mr. Corker sponsored and pushed through in the spring of 2015 to give Congress some say over the deal, as Republicans demanded at the time.

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In a March 12, 2015, letter to President Barack Obama, Mr. Corker said that an agreement without a congressional vote would be “a direct affront to the American people and seeks to undermine Congress’s appropriate role.”

Mr. Corker’s bipartisan bill, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, essentially gave Congress 30 days to review the deal, and additional time to override a veto from the president.

Mr. Obama opposed the bill initially — as did the National Iranian American Council — and White House officials repeatedly said the president would veto it. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which criticized the final accord, supported Mr. Corker’s bill.

Ultimately, Josh Earnest, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, said that while the president was not “particularly thrilled” about the legislation, the White House viewed it as a compromise. Israel’s intelligence minister characterized the agreement between the White House and Congress as an “achievement for Israeli policy.”

A month later, Mr. Corker’s bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both chambers, 98 to 1 in the Senate and 400 to 25 in the House, and became law on May 22, 2015.

After the final Iran deal was reached in July 2015, Mr. Corker urged his colleagues to reject it. Democrats blocked Republicans from doing so through procedural votes; Mr. Corker voted three times with his party. He also voted for an amendment to bar Mr. Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran, which did not survive a Democratic filibuster.

Ms. Sanders conceded Mr. Corker’s votes but said his bill legitimized the deal — even though the Obama administration had repeatedly suggested it did not need congressional approval for the agreement.

Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School and former senior Justice Department official, said at the time that Mr. Corker’s bill gave Congress power to delay the nuclear deal — even if it was unable to block it. “Absent the Iran Review Act, President Obama could have lifted U.S. sanctions last week,” Mr. Goldsmith wrote in July 2015.

Continue reading the main story

WASHINGTON — Call it the two birds, one tweet approach: As he continues to feud with Senator Bob Corker, President Trump is now also blaming the Tennessee Republican for the Iran nuclear deal that the White House is threatening to decertify, perhaps as soon as this week.

But it is a misleading charge: Mr. Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, repeatedly spoke out against the accord to limit Tehran’s nuclear program before it was brokered by world powers in 2015.

“Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the White House offered details. “Senator Corker worked with Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration to pave the way for that legislation, and basically rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters, referring to the House Democratic leader.

She was talking about a bill that Mr. Corker sponsored and pushed through in the spring of 2015 to give Congress some say over the deal, as Republicans demanded at the time.

In a March 12, 2015, letter to President Barack Obama, Mr. Corker said that an agreement without a congressional vote would be “a direct affront to the American people and seeks to undermine Congress’s appropriate role.”

Mr. Corker’s bipartisan bill, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, essentially gave Congress 30 days to review the deal, and additional time to override a veto from the president.

Mr. Obama opposed the bill initially — as did the National Iranian American Council — and White House officials repeatedly said the president would veto it. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which criticized the final accord, supported Mr. Corker’s bill.

Ultimately, Josh Earnest, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, said that while the president was not “particularly thrilled” about the legislation, the White House viewed it as a compromise. Israel’s intelligence minister characterized the agreement between the White House and Congress as an “achievement for Israeli policy.”

A month later, Mr. Corker’s bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both chambers, 98 to 1 in the Senate and 400 to 25 in the House, and became law on May 22, 2015.

After the final Iran deal was reached in July 2015, Mr. Corker urged his colleagues to reject it. Democrats blocked Republicans from doing so through procedural votes; Mr. Corker voted three times with his party. He also voted for an amendment to bar Mr. Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran, which did not survive a Democratic filibuster.

Ms. Sanders conceded Mr. Corker’s votes but said his bill legitimized the deal — even though the Obama administration had repeatedly suggested it did not need congressional approval for the agreement.

Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School and former senior Justice Department official, said at the time that Mr. Corker’s bill gave Congress power to delay the nuclear deal — even if it was unable to block it. “Absent the Iran Review Act, President Obama could have lifted U.S. sanctions last week,” Mr. Goldsmith wrote in July 2015.

Nytimes

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