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Trump Imposes Sanctions against Iran; Trump Speaks About Iran Sanctions; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Speaks About Iran Sanctions. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired June 24, 2019 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Against Iran. President Trump announcing additional sanctions. That, of course, after the president made a last minute call on Friday to call off military strikes against Iran. The president says these new sanctions, instead, will be economic retaliation for that shoot-down of an American drone and the president says the measures will target Iran's supreme leader.
The president says his bottom line is Iran cannot, must not get a nuclear weapon. But the president making clear he does not want war and again, even as he imposed new, economic sanctions, says he would love for Iran to return to the negotiating table to negotiate a new nuclear deal.
CNN's Abby Phillip is live at the White House.
Abby, how do White House officials view this -- these sanctions? And do they see a political diplomatic off-ramp?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is the tightening of the screws on Iran. And particularly these sanctions appear to target Iran's leadership, trying to change the strategy a little bit, focusing on the people that the president wants to really hurt the most as they try to get Iran back to the negotiating table.
The strategy here is to continue the maximum pressure campaign, frankly. His -- the president's aides, toward the end of last week, got to a point where they reverted back to saying that the sanction, as they are, are working. They have put an incredible strain on Iran's economy, made it very difficult for Iran to continue in the path that they in. That's the view of the administration.
And so this latest move is just one more additional pressure point that the administration is trying to put on them in order to get them back to the negotiating table. But, of course, we still don't know if this is going to work. But, in the president's view, his message to Iran in this Oval Office meeting that we'll hear in a few minutes was, we exercised restraint last week when we did not carry out that strike in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone. But you can't count on the U.S. to being -- being restrained in the future. And I think this is yet another warning message to that end.
KING: Abby Phillip live in a very busy White House Briefing Room. Abby, appreciate that.
And as Abby noted, we're going to hear from the president of the United States. He was seated at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office as he announced these new sanctions. We'll get the tape of that and any other comments the president made in just a few minutes.
In the meantime, with me in studio to share their reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich with "The Daily Beast," CNN's Manu Raju, Michael Bender of "The Wall Street Journal," and Karoun Demirjian with "The Washington Post."
It is the president intensifying pressure. The president saying this is targeting directly at the supreme leader. The president saying, pick up the phone, I would like to negotiate even still a new, tougher nuclear deal. But it is also a president who just days ago overruled his advisers, called back on military strikes, now making a big bet that sanctions will work.
MICHAEL BENDER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes. Abby made a good point there, this is a continuation of the existing strategy. We -- you -- we haven't seen the details or heard the details of exactly what these sanctions are yet this morning, but already in place, the package of sanctions on Iran is among the toughest ever put on any country. And they have had an effect. They've pushed Iran's economy into a multi-year contraction and, at the same time, they've increased these tensions that have brought us to the precipice of warfare that we saw just a few days ago.
It's important to note here, as you've alluded to, the one thing it hasn't done is brought Tehran to the negotiating table for the one issue that Trump wants, which is to talk about the nuclear -- their nuclear program.
KING: In part --
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's --
KING: In part because Tehran knows that most of the European allies, the European allies don't like targeting tankers, blowing up tankers. The European allies don't like shooting down an American drone, even if it maybe crossed inches over into your airspace. But they think that Trump is responsible because he pulled out of the Iran deal, responsible for the broader climate of mistrust and the broader tensions and so they have not been standing with the United States and saying ratchet up sanctions. They have been actually trying to find a way to get around that.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And at this point you basically see the two sides kind of trying to call each other's bluff. And that's what's causing this situation to escalate step by step by step by step.
The president is in some ways trying to recreate parts of the playbook but tougher than the Obama administration did by imposing severe sanctions to drive them to the negotiating table. Part of the problem with sanctions is while they're fairly bloodless, they're not always -- you can't control exactly how effective they're going to be, even when you have the best minds in the country working on how to target those sanctions on specific leaders given those country's interests.
But, yes, at this point you've got Iran kind of, you know, pushing by saying we're going to start to enrich uranium to those levels again --
KING: This week.
DEMIRJIAN: Right, to -- and --
KING: And let's listen -- let's listen to the president explaining these new sanctions.
[12:04:34] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK, thank you very much.
In a few moments, I'll be signing an executive order imposing hard- hitting sanctions on the supreme leader of Iran and the office of the supreme leader of Iran and many others. Today's action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of U.S. drones. They shot down the drone. It's, I guess, everyone saw that one, and many other things. They've done many other things, aside from the individual drone. You saw the tankers and we know of other things that were done also, which were not good and not appropriate.
The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. He's respected within his country. His office oversees the regime's most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Sanctions imposed through the executive order that I'm about to sign will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader's office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support.
The assets of Ayatollah Khamenei and his office will not be spared from the sanctions.
These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran's increasingly provocative actions. We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.
The agreement that was signed was a disaster. It was not doing what it was supposed to do. Many bad things were taking place.
And most importantly, it was so short-term that within a very short number of years, they would be able to make nuclear weapons. And that's unacceptable. Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.
Also included in this is we want the stoppage immediately of their sponsoring of terrorism. They sponsor terrorism at a level that nobody's ever seen before. And that's been over the last number of years. And they've taken all of that money that was given to them by the past administration -- and much of it was given out to terrorist organizations.
In fact, I remember when John Kerry was asked a question about whether or not this money will be spent for terror, he actually said, "Yes," or at least he was referring to some of it. But he said yes, it will be used for terror, if you can believe that. We've giving them money. We're saying, "Yes, it can be used for terror." That was not a good answer but that was the least of it, frankly.
So America's a peace-loving nation. We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country. I look forward to the day when sanctions can be finally lifted and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous and productive nation. That can go very quickly. It can be tomorrow. It could also be in years from now.
So I look forward to discussing whatever I have to discuss with anybody that wants to speak. In the meantime, who knows what's going to happen? I can only tell you, we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon. And it won't happen.
And secondly, and very importantly, we don't want money going out to sponsor terror. They are the number-one sponsor of terror anywhere in the world.
So I'll sign this order right now.
And I want to thank our military. I want to thank all of the people that have been working with me over the last number of months on this.
I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us, a lot of restraint. And that doesn't mean we're going to show it in the future. But I felt that we want to give this a chance, give it a good chance. Because think Iran potentially has a phenomenal future.
Just -- and I say that about North Korea too. I've said it about North Korea. I think North Korea has a phenomenal future and I think Iran also has a phenomenal future. And I would like to -- I think a lot of people would like to see them get to work on that great future.
So I'll sign this now and I appreciate you all being here. Thank you.
OK. Thank you very much, everybody.
QUESTION: Mr. President, is your goal to negotiate a new deal with Iran? Mr. President, is your goal to negotiate a new deal...
TRUMP: We would love to be able to negotiate a deal if they want to. If they don't want to, that's fine too. But we would love to be able to. And, frankly, they might as well do it soon.
[12:10:00] TRUMP: But, obviously, the people of Iran are great people. I know many of them. I lived in New York. Haven't been there very much the last two and a half years, but I know many Iranians living in New York and they're fantastic people. I have many friends that are Iranian. And it's just -- it's very sad what's happening to that country.
The deal should have never been done. It wasn't ratified by Congress. Wasn't properly done, as you know, as a treaty. It wasn't properly done. It was incorrectly done. But we'll get it properly done.
So we'll see what happens. I hope it's going to be for the good. But the people in Iran are great people. And all of the people I know, so many in New York, these are great people.
OK. Anything else?
QUESTION: Just, (inaudible), just to be clear, is this the U.S. response to the Iranians shooting down the drone?
TRUMP: This -- you could probably, Steve (ph), add that into it. But basically, this is something that was going to happen anyway.
QUESTION: If they breach the uranium limits on the 27th (ph), will you take additional action?
TRUMP: I won't say what I'll do, but I don't think they should do it.
QUESTION: What is your message for the supreme leader? And do you want to meet with him one-on-one?
TRUMP: (inaudible), my only message is this: He has the potential to have a great country, and quickly -- very quickly. And I think they should do that, rather than going along this very destructive path -- destructive for everybody. Destructive for everybody.
We can't let them have a nuclear weapon. He said he doesn't want nuclear weapons. It's a great thing to say, but a lot of things have been said over the years, and it turns out to be not so.
But he said very openly and plainly for everyone to hear that he does not want to have nuclear weapons.
So, if that's the case, we can do something very quickly, OK.
Thank you very much, everybody. .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, president. This way. Thank you, guys.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you -- you --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thanks, guys. Thank you.
KING: The president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, press. Right this way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) --
KING: Let's listen to the president.
TRUMP: But it was just a friendly letter both ways.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, thanks, guys.
TRUMP: We have a very good -- very good relationship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) this way, press.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks. Right this way. This way.
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.
[12:12:10] KING: At the end there, the president saying he had a very nice exchange of letters with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. But most of that conversation was about new sanctions the president is imposing now against the supreme leader of Iran. Both nations of which the Trump administration says does not want nuclear programs. North Korea has nuclear weapons. Iran was on the path of developing nuclear weapons. The deal struck in the Obama administration. The Trump administration pulled out. Obviously the events in recent weeks where Iran blamed by the United States for attacking tankers in the Straits of Hormuz and then last week's shooting down an American drone.
The president did not give us the specifics there. The Treasury secretary is going to brief shortly on the specifics.
It was odd, U.S. officials were saying that this was a direct response in retaliation of the shoot-down of the drone, but then the president answering a questions from Steve Holland of Reuters saying it might have happened anyway.
So we're going to put together the pieces of this as it unfolds before us, but here you have a president, again, there was a -- his national security adviser, his vice president and his secretary of state were all on board with targeted military strikes to response to the shoot- down of the drone. The president pulled back. He has since said several times, tweeted several times, he does not want a war. He's trying to deescalate. And he hopes sanctions will bring Iran back to the table.
RAJU: Yes, I mean the question is, will it change Iran's behavior? And much -- there have been punishing sanctions that have been issued already. Mike Pompeo said just yesterday I believe that 80 percent of the country's been hit with some level of sanctions. So how much more will additional sanctions effectively change what -- that dynamic?
And the question ultimately the president's going to be judge by is whether or not he made the right decision pulling out of the Iran nuclear deem. Does this other tactic that he is now employing, does that change how Iran is behaving? Does that actually deter their ability to get a nuclear weapon? That will -- he'll have to take to voters and convince them that he made the right choice here. It still remains to be seen.
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And, frankly, surrounding himself by who he's surrounding himself with, Bolton first and foremost, isn't really something that could foster a new Iran nuclear deal. It just -- they don't like him. They don't trust him. And that in and of itself would probably be an impasse.
KING: All right, the Iranians have said they have no interest in talking to this American president, and they often add -- Iran officials often add, especially with John Bolton around.
It's always fascinating when the president talks about this issue. And, again, we're going to hear the details of the sanctions momentarily from the Treasury secretary. But the president saying that one of the reasons he walked away from the Iran nuclear deal is because it wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. Every other signatory to the agreement says it was doing exactly what it was supposed to do, which was, it was a limited agreement deal to contain, slowly Iran's nuclear program.
What the Trump administration and many conservatives didn't like about it is that's all it was. It did not, and the Obama administration was open about this, they said that they could not get an agreement with Iran to stop its ballistic missile programs. You could not get an agreement with Iran at that time to stop funding Hamas and Hezbollah. You could not get an agreement at that time to get Iran to stop funding other proxies that support -- yes, support terrorism and other bad actions in that area. So they decided to get an agreement on the one thing that they thought that was most important than they could.
[12:15:09] The Treasury secretary in the White House Briefing Room.
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Hello, everybody.
So I think, as you know, I just left the Oval Office where President Trump signed a new executive order authorizing even more expanded sanctions against Iran. So now with -- along with our existing sanctions authority, we have additional sanctions to go after the supreme leaders' office and lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets.
Along with that action today, we are also announcing specific actions targeting those responsible for recent activities. I think, as you know, previously we have sanctioned Soleimani for his behavior. Along with that today, I am going to announce three of his other senior leaders: Tangsiri, who was responsible the Iranian regime's forces threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz; Hajizade, who is the commander of the air force and responsible for downing the U.S. unmanned aircraft in international airspace; as well as Pakpour, who is responsible for IRGC's ground forces.
Along with those, we are also designating five naval districts' leaders: Colam Shahee (ph), Zirahi (ph), Yoad Badin (ph), Mansour Ravamkar (ph) and Ozam Mayee (ph).
These sanctions are all very important for recent activities.
The president has also designated -- instructed me that we will be designating Zarif later this week.
So with that, I am happy to take a few questions.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the president indicated last week that he believed that the shoot-down of the drone may have been a mistake that was made by local commanders on the ground. Taken together, what you have announced today would seem to indicate that maybe this wasn't a mistake; that it was an intentional act that was known all the way up the chain of command.
MNUCHIN: No, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't read anything into that.
Again, many of these -- the -- the executive order that the president signed was in the works previously. These actions are people who have either made threats or specific things.
And again, I don't think you should interpret this anywhere (ph) otherwise -- other than we are designating people who we believe were responsible for the chain of command, whether they knew it or not.
QUESTION: Secretary Mnuchin, thank you so much for doing this briefing.
What is your response to your critics who say these sanctions are more symbolic than substantive, and they won't bring Iran to the negotiating table, because Iran has said they're not coming back to the negotiating table after the president ripped up the nuclear deal?
MNUCHIN: Well, I think the president was very clear: If they want to come back to the negotiating table, he's ready; if not, they won't.
For the people who say these are just symbolic, that's not the case at all. We've literally locked up tens and tens of billions of dollars. These sanctions will come along with additional entities where people are hiding money. So no, these sanctions are highly effective.
(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: We've seen the attack -- we've seen the attack on the oil tankers. We've seen the attack on the -- the drone. What makes you think that these sanctions have been effective? What signs are there that they...
MNUCHIN: Oh, there's no question these sanctions have been very effective in cutting off funds going to the IRGC and other people. And I can only -- I can only presume -- I'm not going to presume why they're doing things, but these are highly, highly effective on locking up the Iranian economy.
And as the president said, we look forward to a time in releasing sanctions, if they're willing to negotiate.
QUESTION: Thank you.
When you talk about sanctions on the supreme leader, that is as high as you can go inside of Iran. Can you give us the thinking as to why the administration wanted to bring it up to that level?
MNUCHIN: I think the president is clear: maximum pressure on the sanctions. So that is -- that is our strategy. And it's not just him; it's -- it's the leader's office, which encompasses a whole range of activities.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you.
Have you done the intelligence research to figure out what assets any of these individuals that you just named actually have in the United States or in the global financial system? That is, do any of these people have money or assets outside of Iran?
MNUCHIN: So the answer is, whenever we do sanctions, we do do intelligence. I can't comment on any of the specific intelligence, but again, I would say we follow the money and it's highly effective.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you.
Is a military option or military reprisal still on the table (inaudible)?
MNUCHIN: I -- I obviously can't comment on that. I'm going to leave that to the president.
QUESTION: Thank -- thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Have you consulted with America's allies regarding these sanctions? And is there a buy-in from America's allies? Will they also be imposing sanctions similar to what the U.S. (inaudible) today?
MNUCHIN: I -- I have not consulted on these specific sanctions.
The answer is, in general, I've had many, many conversations with all our allies. I was in Japan 10 days ago, meeting with the finance ministers, and discussed our sanctions program. I'll be going to the G-20 with the president and this will continue to be a topic of discussion.
QUESTION: Yeah, Mr. Secretary, if that's to me, I'll go...
MNUCHIN: I'll give it to you. It wasn't, but then we'll go to you.
QUESTION: All right, thank you.
I just -- you said this is in response to events of -- and the recent events. Is that about the shooting-down of the drone or the attack on the six tankers or both?
MNUCHIN: Again, what I said is, some of these were in the works. Some of these are in addition. All of the above.
QUESTION: What's the direct response -- is it a direct response to the drone? I mean, you know, if this is -- the president came close to military action. Now you're coming back with sanctions. What was...
MNUCHIN: Again, I...
QUESTION: ... direct response to the shoot-down of the drone?
MNUCHIN: Some of them -- I'm not going to identify which ones are which. I've said that some of this was in the works, some of this is a result of recent activities.
QUESTION: Secretary, how do these sanctions deal -- how do these sanctions relate to President Trump's deal of the century, what's happening, coming up in Bahrain?
MNUCHIN: I look forward -- I'm leaving for Bahrain in about an hour, so I look forward to our discussion in Bahrain. We'll be rolling out the economic plan, which will be great opportunities for the people of Palestine. We have a terrific group there of finance ministers, business leaders all around the world. I think we have about 350 people going, so I look forward to it. (CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Thanks, sir.
Yeah, just following up on the earlier question, you talked about the sanctions are effective in terms of inflicting pain on the economy. Is there evidence yet or will there be evidence, do you think, that it's (ph) having an effect on Iran's behavior?
MNUCHIN: Well, let me first comment that our issue is not with the people of Iran. So I just want to be very clear, we are not looking at creating issues for the people of Iran.
Having said that, we are -- have sanctions against bad behavior. And there's no question that locking this money up worked last time. And there's no question locking the money up works now.
Thank you very much.
[12:22:15] KING: Secretary the Treasury Steven Mnuchin leaving the Briefing Room after explaining -- some contradictions in his answers -- but explaining how these sanctions came about, who they would target. He making the case he believes they will be quite effective, going all the way up the chain to the supreme leader of Iran. At one point the secretary said these were in the works before the attacks on the tankers and the downing of the American drone. Then he seemed to suggest that at least some additional sanctions were added to those the United States believes were in the chain of command for those incidents.
Again, it's a bet from the administration here that increasing sanctions, including on the supreme leader, you're directly targeting the effective head of the Iranian government and saying that the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, could be added to it down the chain. He's essentially Iran's spokesman for the world. He has been tweeting repeatedly over the weekend that Iran's view, that the drone did cross into Iranian airspace. The United States military says that did not happen. But also interesting, the secretary of the Treasury, in a normal world, would answer the question, I just got off the phone with my counterparts in London, in France and in Germany. He said, no, he has not consulted with them because the United States, frankly, know it stands pretty much alone on this issue, right?
RAJU: Yes, it's -- Mnuchin said I have not consulted on these specific sanctions. He said they have discussed this more generally. But, of course, we know the U.S. allies are not happy with the way that the president has handled the Iran nuclear deal. Will they get support from this going forward in new sanctions?
Ultimately, the question is that if it does not deter Iranian behavior, what will the U.S. response be afterwards? What will be the next thing? This president is reticent in going forward with a military strike. Will he feel more pressure to do so if these sanctions do not deter its aggressive actions by the Iranians remains to be seen.
KING: It's also interesting if you come into the home front here in the sense that Liz Cheney, right after the president, you know, she -- Liz Cheney raised in a Hugh Hewitt interview, a conservative congresswoman from Wyoming, her dad obviously the former vice president and defense secretary, at first saying, you know, we better be careful here, Iran needs to see a retaliation. Iran needs to know it can't punch us without being punched back. You spoke to her a couple of hours after that and she pulled back, said she was confident the president -- how he was handling this and eventually Iran would get the message.
It will be interesting to see the conversation here because you have had hawks saying they shot down a drone. You have every right and every reason to punch back, to show a military retaliation to send a message. And in the context of that, an interesting tweet from the president just this morning. Again, he just announced new sanctions. Iran, days ago, shot an American drone out of the sky. The president tweeting today, maybe the United States should pull back its military presence in the region, saying China gets 91 percent of its oil from the Strait, Japan, 62 percent, many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries for many years for zero compensation? All of these countries should be protecting their own ships. And then he goes on to talk about it.
[12:25:01] This has long been the president's view, why is the United States the policeman of the world? But in the middle of this confrontation, to suggest part of the solution is to pull back, pull back United States military presence in a very tense region right now is striking.
DEMIRJIAN: It's also undercutting the main argument that Republicans who are not Trump have been making for why they could do a counterstrike, which is a self-defense argument. It's not based on any sort of, you know, arcane authorization that there's legal debate around. They're saying, if you hit an American interest or you hit something that is an international interest, like shipping lanes, we have the right to retaliate in kind.
And so the president is kind of undermining his best argument right there and also creating more chaos in a situation that is already a bit confusing where, frankly, even members of the Trump administration know it would behoove them to have allies on board, otherwise they would not be talking about, you know, openings for more negotiated deals or people working together, but to kind of pass the buck, suggesting the United States doesn't have to pick up the slack on this when we have the most resources and kind of stirred the pot a bit creating the tension that exists right now, or at least contributing to it more than those allies does not -- it's playing hardball with everybody, and that may not work.
KUCINICH: And it fully assures that anything the United States decides to do with Iran, and perhaps have conflicts in the future, it would be going alone.
DEMIRJIAN: Right. And the other thing that we should remember in all of this is that we talk about the United States and Europe and that -- what sort of united front they present toward Iran, there's very little discussion going on about what Iran's regional bottom line interests are here, which matter a lot, especially when you talk about the Trump administration's relationship with Saudi Arabia. It's all very, very relevant. You can't forget about one element when you're talking about another.
KING: The Trump administration is more in touch with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example, which, you know, look across in the neighborhood with great suspicion in (ph) Iran than it is with the tradition coalition that you would have, especially if you want economic sanctions to take place because of the economic relationships. But it's striking -- we're seeing the president's impulses here more than we're seeing, you know, we know the hawks in the administration, especially after the drone was shot down, so now you had every reason to send a military message. And then you had others saying, but, Mr. President, remember, if you do that, that could escalate.
You're -- and his own instinct of a not -- a, not getting into a war in the Middle East and then today pulling back even, it's just the timing of that is very odd in the sense that at this moment of high tension, why would you suggest to the Iranians you're willing to pull back? I mean they --
RAJU: It's confusing. I mean you're in the middle of this very tense conflict. You want to have a clear message coming from the United States about what the -- is acceptable. What's not acceptable. Where your thinking is and message to the American people about exactly why you're taking the actions that you are when the president is saying these different things, it undercuts what he's saying and it makes -- increases the situation that people are finding it hard to follow, why we're in the situation that we're in.
KING: This, every year, almost always seems to be the case that there is some big, pressing event in the world that forces its way onto the agenda at the G-20. The president's about to fly to Osaka, Japan. The 20 -- the world's 20 largest and most powerful economies will be at the table.
Again, the European allies especially, who with the Obama administration, but Russia and China were involved as well, helped negotiate the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear agreement, they're frustrated that the president pulled out. They understood its limits, but they thought within those limits it was working.
However, you can talk about that. Look in the rear view mirror. They are mad at President Trump. They think that he spoiled the neighborhood, if you will. But in the here and now, Iran blew up those tankers. The intelligence seems to be pretty clear. Iran admits it shot the drone down from the sky. Will those allies work with the president now or are they so -- because of what has happened in the here and now, or are they so mad about what happened before that they're going to just stay back?
BENDER: We heard Mnuchin allude to that, right, when the -- on the question of whether he's talked to allies he brought up the -- or alluded to that these talks will continue once they get to Osaka. I was at the White House on Saturday when the president came out and talked to reporters at length about some of this. And as far as the -- to this point, when he was talking about the straits, it sort of sounded to me like he was interested in some of these folks with bigger interest in the straits supporting his position.
And it seemed like a negotiating tactic to bring more people to the table, which obviously would just complicate this further and would -- sort of ignores the fact that they had several allies in place before he -- obviously this was before he came -- took over in the Oval Office.
But the -- the one thing I think that will be -- definitely be on the minds of the allies in Osaka is how close -- what Trump's red line is now, all right. We heard him in the Oval Office a few minutes ago saying I showed great restraints, but not always, right? And it's -- we -- I don't know how often that -- how long that restraint is going to last.
That is the line that Bolton has been picking up. He was -- Bolton was definitely embarrassed by the events on Thursday night. He was pretty furious about how all of that unfolded and the president's last minute decision to cancel that. Since then, over the weekend, in Israel, he has -- he has used almost that same line to say that he showed restraint, but we'll see how -- for how long.
KING: All right, we'll keep an eye on this obviously in the days ahead. We'll get more specifics on the sanctions and we'll watch as the president travels.
[12:30:02] Up next for us, back to domestic politics. He's got a plan for that. Senator Bernie Sanders says it's time to erase all student loan debt.