Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Mike Pompeo Pledges Strongest Sanctions in History Against Iran; Trump Attends Swearing-in Ceremony of New CIA Director; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 21, 2018 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to show you right now. The number of high school shootings in the United States as compared to more than a dozen other countries around the world since January 1st, 2009. There have been at least 288 shootings in the U.S. alone. The rest of the world combined, the rest of the world combined, is 27.

This just in to CNN, Supreme Court backs employers and the Trump administration saying employers can stop workers from coming together as a class action group when fighting legal disputes during employment arbitration agreements.

The newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, siding with the conservative majority in the 5-4 decision. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in the dissent the majority was egregiously wrong. This is a big victory, one that was foreseen, but a big victory for employers over labor.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promising the new tough sanctions -- promising new tough sanctions on Iran if the country does not change course. In fact, he's promising the toughest sanctions in history. Much more on that ahead.

Plus moments away from the president speaking at the CIA. This is for the swearing in of Gina Haspel as the new CIA director. Will he address his latest demand that the Department of Justice investigate the investigation into him?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:35:22] BERMAN: All right, just moments ago, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined the administration's plan B for Iran.

Want to bring in our senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski.

This was Mike Pompeo's first major policy address as secretary of State and he really sort of laid down a new line here -- Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He made this very clear. It was certainly tough. He used words like crush multiple times as in these sanctions that he is proposing would crush Iran, that the U.S. would track down Iranian operatives and their proxies around the world, and the U.S. will crush them. And he laid out 12 things that Iran needs to do in order to not face U.S. sanctions and sanctions from others around the world that the U.S. is trying to gather into this new coalition.

Listen to part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete. After our sanctions come in force, it will be battling to keep its economy alive. Iran will be forced to make a choice. Either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or keep squandering precious wealth and fights abroad. It will not have the resources to do both.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: Now this was a good speech for his first speech. He laid everything out there, clearly it was tough, it was very direct. At times he was speaking directly to the Iranian people. The problem with this, though, is, of course, sanctions are only really effective when others are on board. Now you have Europe collectively saying, well, wait a minute, we want to stick with the original Iran deal, we're going to protect companies as much as possible from sanctions. We're going to help Iran's central bank so that it will stay with us in the original Iran deal.

Also Russia and China are going to continue to trade with Iran. There is going to be oil flowing. So Europe is saying, the U.S. sanctions might sound tough, but they might not really work in the end because they're not going to be as tough as the U.S. wants them to be. Others are committed to trading with Iran and committed to thinking that the original Iran deal will work well. And they say, yes, they also agree that Iran has all this other terrible behavior that it's been doing for some time, but they feel like you can address that in other ways outside of the original Iran deal -- John.

BERMAN: Michelle Kosinski for us. Thanks so much, Michelle.

Joining me now to discuss this, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, CNN military and diplomatic analyst.

Now, John, thanks so much for being with us. The big question here is the secretary of State is talking tough on Iran. That's expected. The real question that Michelle alluded to this, how tough will the United States be on Europe when it comes to Iran, talking about new sanctions against Iran if it doesn't behave well? Will the United States impose these sanctions on European companies if they continue to trade?

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes. It's a great question, John. We don't know the answer to that. We also don't know the answer to the other question which is, how tough will Russia get on the U.S. in return for sanctions that the U.S. may levy against European banks, institutions, or corporations. I mean, it's going to increasingly make our relationship with the EU and with our European partners that much more tense.

You know, it's funny, we describe this as a plan B, actually I think if that's their plan B, I think they need to start working on plan C right away because it's not going to have the effect that they want. As Michelle rightly pointed out, this just further isolates us from the rest of the world because the rest of the world, particularly our European partners, want to keep the deal in place. And I suspect that the Iranians will take a look at those 12 things and pretty much laugh them off. I don't think they're going to be intimidated by the U.S. threatening more sanctions and telling them what to do.

They are a bad actor, I'm no apologist for Iran, they do a lot of bad things, but it would have been easier to deal with those things if we have left the deal in place because at least it takes off nuclear weapons -- takes that off the table as one of the problems to deal with in the Middle East.

BERMAN: Do you see Iran attempting to enrich uranium anytime soon?

KIRBY: No, I mean, I don't have access, you know, to the intelligence anymore, John. I don't know. Do I think it's possible? I don't think so, not right now. I think the mullahs and the hard-liners, and this is a great irony of the Trump administration approach, they're doing exactly what the hard-liners would like them to do because the hard-liners hate the deal. But I do think that the moderate government of Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif.

I think they've made it very clear they want to stay in the deal, and they're going to work closely with their European partners to make that happen, so no, I don't -- if I was guessing, I'd say no, I don't think they're going to start enriching to a higher grade anytime soon.

BERMAN: If I can shift gears to North Korea, which is, by the way, you know, not unconnected to this, the "New York Times," our friend David Sanger with a terrific report overnight saying the president is having some trepidation now about his pending meeting with Kim Jong- un.

[10:40:07] Nervous about some of the strange things that Kim has been saying over the last week, asking the South Koreans what's going on here.

KIRBY: Yes.

BERMAN: Do you think that this trepidation is merited?

KIRBY: I do. And I'm glad to see it, John. I'm really glad to see it. You know, people were worried that he was rushing into this head long, that he wasn't thinking about it. I know David wrote about the fact that he's not really taking his briefings all that seriously, but, yes, I think he has reason to be. And again I'm glad to see that because it means maybe he's now going to apply a little bit more thought and more thoughtful approach to sitting down and having this discussion with Kim Jong-un.

I think it's important and this I give the president credit for, to go into this with relatively low expectations, we're not going to counter this deal with denuclearization and peace in our time. But what we might be able to come out of this summit with is a sense of a framework for going ahead and having dialogue in the future, to build the kinds of bilateral relationships that are going to be required to actually put something in place that can last.

Now it's not going to take time -- it's not going to happen anytime soon. I think we're talking years and years, but I do think his trepidation is well placed.

BERMAN: Do you think Kim has successfully moved the goal post in denuclearization by suggesting that, you know, you should not expect us to fully denuclearize here as conditions for any agreement?

KIRBY: No. And I think it's foolish for us to think that he did. We should have known this all along, John. There's no way that these guys were going to give up their nukes just in one sit-down with the president of the United States. It's the fact that they have these capabilities that are bringing them to the table. It's not just the pressure campaign. It's President Moon and Kim Jong-un, it's the understanding that they have this capability that's going to make them credible at the table. So no, I don't see that -- I don't see that happening.

BERMAN: And of course one man who is very nervous is President Moon of South Korea, who will be meeting with President Trump this week.

KIRBY: Yes.

BERMAN: And still wants this meeting very much to go forward. He has a lot riding on it just as President Trump does.

Admiral Kirby, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

KIRBY: You bet.

BERMAN: All right. Happening now, the swearing in ceremony for new CIA director Gina Haspel. President Trump will speak there any moment. CNN will bring you live coverage. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:46:32] BERMAN: All right, you're looking at live pictures from Langley, CIA headquarters right now. This is the swearing in of Gina Haspel. You can see her standing there. She is with the current secretary of State, the former CIA director Mike Pompeo, also the vice president and the president of the United States, who we'll very shortly be hearing from the president of the United States.

All right. Let's go to Jeremy Diamond while we're waiting for the ceremony to begin. Let's go to Jeremy Diamond for us at the White House -- Jeremy.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Hey, John. Well, this is -- the president has now arrived at the CIA as you can see there for the swearing in ceremony for Gina Haspel, who is set to become the first woman to lead the CIA in the agency's entire history. So pretty historic moment today with that ceremony. But it is also important to note the kind of context around the president's visit to the CIA. This is the first time that he will be there since his speech at the

CIA early last year when the president delivered that controversial speech in front of that wall of stars honoring fallen CIA officers and the president then, you'll recall -- let's listen in here.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I invite you to join with me in prayer. Let us pray.

Gracious God, we ask that you bless this ceremony and through it the trust of our nation in this agency to be vigilant in its defense of our citizens and our freedoms.

Our director, Gina Haspel, has the confidence of our nation's leaders because of her proven abilities and record as selfless service and the loyalty of our agency since she has led from the front, taken the hard jobs, and come from the ranks. She is ready to assume the mantle of leading this team, which although most of their reactions remain unknown to those whom they protect, the results of their deeds ensure that our freedoms remain secure during their watch.

[10:50:10] She is equipped to humbly acknowledge her limitations and share that she did not arrive at this moment without the help, love and support of many, beginning with her parents and continuing throughout her career, those who contributed to her development just as she has given to so many others in like manner.

Help her to continue to learn and grow with courage to make decisions under pressure and the fortitude to discharge the constitute duties of her office with integrity and honor. Help her to provide clear and honest advice with candor to our nation's leaders, and in dark nights surround her with confidants who can ease the burden she must bear when making decisions that she alone must make.

So that she is not overwhelmed or fall prey to the loneliness that affects other leaders in such high positions of trust.

Finally, Lord, grant that she may have joy and celebrating the victories of this team, which she now leads and faithfully guards our nation, ever free as a beacon to others around the world. Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we are immensely honored to have President Trump at the CIA once again. Please join me in welcoming the president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.

Well, thank you very much. And good morning. I want to thank all of you and our distinguished guests for joining us today for a ceremony like few will ever have again. This is a very special one. Including Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Chao, Secretary Perry, Secretary Nielsen, Director Coats, and my nominee for the VA secretary, who will do a fantastic job, Robert Wilkie. Thank you very much.

I want to give a special thank you for being here to chairman and senator, Richard Burr. Thank you very much, Richard. And a very courageous man, courageous, Congressman Devin Nunes. Thank you very much, Devin, for being here, appreciate it.

Most especially I want to thank you, the dedicated men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is a true honor to stand here today before the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet earth. Nobody even close. You faced down our enemies, you protect our families, you stand and watch over our great nation. You don't do it for fame or fortune or glory. You do it for your country.

America is forever grateful. Thank you very much.

We're here today for the swearing in of a very special person, your new CIA director, someone who has served this agency with extraordinary skill and devotion for 30 years, Gina Haspel.

Gina, congratulations. There is no one in this country better qualified for this extraordinary office than you. By the way if you don't agree with that, please let me know now before it's too late. OK. Immediately. Have to do it quickly.

You live in the CIA, you live the CIA, you breathe the CIA. And now you will lead the CIA. Congratulations.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: OK. That means we're keeping her, right? That was -- that's what we're waiting for. They love you. They respect you. They respect you, too.

A native of Ashland, Kentucky, Gina's father served in the U.S. Air Force. She spent much of her childhood overseas. From a young age, she was instilled with a deep love of our country, which combined with a thirst for adventure. That led her to the CIA.

[10:55:12] Throughout her storied career, this agency, Gina has truly done it all. She's completed seven field tours, served as a case officer, recruited assets, run stations, captured terrorists, and disrupted networks that proliferate deadly weapons. They send those weapons all over and you catch them.

You're going to get even better now. Better than ever before. You're the best, you're going to be better than ever before and we're getting you the resources to do it.

Our enemies will take note. Gina is tough. She is strong. And when it comes to defending America, Gina will never, ever back down. I know her. Spent a lot of time with Gina. Gina played a crucial role in our fight against al Qaeda. Her first day on the job at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center was September 11th, 2001. And she tirelessly hunted terrorists for the next three years.

She went on to become deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and most recently deputy director of the CIA. During her decades of distinguished service, Gina has earned the George H.W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism, and the Intelligence Medal of Merit.

Most importantly she has earned the universal respect, admiration and trust of her colleagues here at the CIA, throughout the government and all over the world, Gina is truly respected. And today we also mark another proud milestone as Gina becomes the first woman ever to lead the CIA.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: That's big. Now Gina will lead this agency into its next great chapter. Gina assumed the role of director at a crucial moment in our history. We are reasserting American strength and American confidence. And, by the way, America is respected again. You see that.

Instead of apologizing for our nation, we are standing up for our nation and we are standing up for the men and women who protect our nation. We will be counting on you to confront a wide array of threats we face and to help usher in a new era of prosperity and of peace. Since the CIA's founding more than 70 years ago, its courageous operatives have combined ancient craft with modern marvels to achieve unsung victories in every corner of the globe.

I see what you do. I understand what you do. And it's incredible.

Marked on the hallowed walls of this building are the stars honoring the CIA's fallen heroes who gave their last breath for our nation. Though many of their names remain secret, their stories of service and sacrifice and daring will live for all time.

Today we think of them and we honor them by pledging that the patriots of the CIA will have the tools, the resources, and the support they need to accomplish their incredible, complicated and oftentimes very dangerous mission. The exceptional men and women of this agency deserve exceptional leadership and in Gina Haspel, that is exactly what you're getting.

Director Haspel, congratulations, again. I know that you will thrive as the agency's director and help keep our nation safe and strong and proud and free. Good luck. God bless you. And God bless the men and women of the CIA. God bless America.

And I just want to thank everybody in this room for doing such an incredible job and for giving Gina that unbelievable support that she needed.