It's reported this week that "Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during [the presidential] campaign".

In the CNN article linked above, it states that it's not unusual for a campaign staff and representatives to communicate with foreign governments.

Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.

(emphasis mine)

So, is this unusual? Have there been precedents of other campaigns in the past that communicated with foreign governments during the election campaign?

Non-opinionated answers with sources are appreciated.

  • 1
    Keep reading the text of the Logan act, it specifies criteria for intent. It is not inherently illegal for a private citizen to talk with foreign government officials (otherwise even news interviews would be banned). That also why campaigns in general have some leeway. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 15:16
  • Also worth noting that based on these criteria it is also not clear at all if Flynn actually violated the Logan act (though obviously the lying was still a big problem). Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 15:20
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    @user4012 Obama is an officer of the government though. The logan act does not apply to him. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 16:07
  • 2
    @user4012 It did in the initial revision. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 18:08
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    @user4012: What you say about Obama is a clear intentional misunderstanding / misinterpretation. Logan act isn't against individuals being on some election team, it is about individuals that are not part of the government. Obama was part of the government (actual, the president). Flynn, or Trump before officially becoming president, or Hilary Clinton at any time, not fine.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


Probably the most clear example is when a candidate travels to another country and speaks with the head of state. For example Ted Cruz traveled to Israel and Eastern Europe for his 2016 campaign. That involved of course Cruz, but also many supporting staff, not all of whom where official government officers. It's pretty common for presidential candidates to have foreign tours during their candidacy, so this happens a fair amount.


Richard Nixon secretly communicated with South Vietnam, asking them to delay peace talks. LBJ knew about it, and though Nixon denied it, one of his biographers discovered the evidence that he did know: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/06/nixon-vietnam-candidate-conspired-with-foreign-power-win-election-215461 also Richard Nixon, The Life, p 342

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