Kansas Sen. Marshall calls for John Kerry’s ouster from Biden administration

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Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall wants John Kerry ousted from President Joe Biden’s administration after The New York Times reported on claims from the Iranian foreign minister that Kerry told him about Israeli airstrikes.

Kerry, who served as the nation’s top diplomat during former President Barack Obama’s second term, has denied the allegations, which he says are “unequivocally false.” A former Massachusetts senator and the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, Kerry now serves as Biden’s special envoy for climate.

The New York Times on Sunday reported on a leaked audio recording in which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed Kerry had informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, a claim that has roiled Republicans.

Kerry negotiated the Iran nuclear deal as secretary of state. The furor over the alleged conversation comes as Republicans seek to block the Biden administration from re-entering the agreement, which the U.S. withdrew from under President Donald Trump in 2018.

Marshall, a freshman Kansas senator who backed Trump’s unsuccessful effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, joins a growing list of conservative Republicans in calling for Kerry’s ouster following the report. Marshall is the first member of the Kansas delegation to call for Kerry’s removal.

“John Kerry should be forced out of the Administration immediately — at the very least be removed entirely from all national security briefings and decisions,” Marshall said in a statement.

Marshall said that the alleged conversation shows Kerry “is willing to sell out Israel and share damaging information with a terror regime that has murdered hundreds of Americans. What else has he discussed with the Iranian regime?”

But it’s unclear whether Kerry’s alleged conversation with Zarif disclosed any new information.

The Times noted that Israel had made little effort to deny its role in strikes attributed to it by the Syrian government. In 2018, a senior Israeli official affirmed the country had carried out more than 200 attacks on Iran, according to a Reuters report from the time.

Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday the administration would not comment on leaked tapes when asked about the controversy.

McClatchy’s Michael Wilner contributed to this report.