CNN’s Erin Burnett declared this week that anti-American protesters in Iran who chant “death to America” were very friendly people, which comes just days after Iran fired missiles at U.S. troops in Iraq.
Burnett made the remark on her show “Erin Burnett OutFront” during an interview with Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) about the recent provocations from Iran.
“Even on your network we’ve seen the video of the prior attack that’s happened on the Baghdad embassy,” Turner said. “We all watched the flames and smoke boiling out of the embassy in Baghdad as a result of the attack that occurred there.”
“So, I don’t think reporting or even speculating on what Iran has been threatened – I mean, you know, Iran itself continues to have even its entire parliament chant ‘death to America,'” Turner continued. “It’s not as if it’s a surprise that Iran has been coordinating and targeting American interests throughout the Middle East.”
“Well, I will say, I was in Tehran when they were chanting ‘death to America’ once,” Burnett continued. “I was at a rally, the people couldn’t have been more friendly to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a thing and a trope as opposed to anything that was actually seriously meant and considered. I understand your point but my experience was different.”
Turner responded, “Erin, your entire life, Iran – pretty much your entire life, just by a few years, has chanted death to America and they have taken actions against Americans and American interests and in ways that are lethal killings of Americans, given weaponry to people who do kill Americans.”
And some wonder why people don't trust the media? pic.twitter.com/WRI7aibOwO
— Mary Vought (@MaryVought) January 11, 2020
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Erin, good to see you.
CNN’S ERIN BURNETT: So, is this news to you that there were attacks planned on embassies or earlier today, he said specifically the embassy in Baghdad?
TURNER: Well, as you know, I serve on the Intelligence Committee, and I can’t confirm or deny the information we received. I received an extensive briefing on what information that the president had reviewed, what the intelligence community had put together about what threats we were facing from Soleimani and what they were planning.
I can tell you it was incredibly extensive. There was no one on the Intelligence Committee upon the presentation that was not deeply impressed with the threat both to our men and women in uniform and our men and women who are serving.
The president has the luxury to being able to declassify information as he goes, so he’ll decide what to reveal and when he reveals it. But I think it was very clear.
So, if you look at what’s been happening with Iran, both before this administration exited the JCPOA and after, their malign activities throughout the region have been increasing, have been more destabilizing. Their support for the terrorist organization, Hezbollah, Hamas, what’s happening in Yemen throughout the area, and their attack directly on Saudi Arabia has certainly placed I think the entire area in a significant amount of disarray.
And the president taking this response, obviously to turn that corner, try to have that impact and have some deterrence effect on Iran’s actions in the future.
BURNETT: I just want to be clear though, because you’re being very precise, as you always are and you’re not revealing classified information, which means that while he has the ability to do so, the president of the United States is doing at a rally, correct?
TURNER: Well, I mean, that’s what you reported. I don’t know in what other manner he has made those statements. But it is within his purview to determine what remains classified and what does not remain classified.
TURNER: I can tell you that there are different levels of briefings that happen on Capitol Hill, the Big Eight, which you reported before —
TURNER: — which are the chairmen and ranking members, and, then, of course, the Intelligence Committee gets a briefing and then there’s the full congressional group that gets a briefing. I know, on the Senate side, there were some dissatisfied with what they received —
BURNETT: To say the least for sure, right?
TURNER: On the House side, the briefing was full and complete. On the Intelligence Committee, I can tell you that there was in-depth reporting and in-depth information. The Intelligence Committee was very confident of the information they had and the rising threat to the United States and Soleimanis’ direct actions.
BURNETT: Do you think there’s any possible negative or risk that comes from him revealing information that obviously is classified about these embassy planned attacks? Do you think in any way that it is inappropriate for him doing so?
TURNER: I don’t really have a concern. Even on your network we’ve seen the video of the prior attack that’s happened on the Baghdad embassy. We all watched the flames and smoke boiling out of the embassy in Baghdad as a result of the attack that occurred there.
So, I don’t think reporting or even speculating on what Iran has been threatened — I mean, you know, Iran itself continues to have even its entire parliament chant “death to America”. It’s not as if it’s a surprise —
TURNER: — that Iran has been coordinating and targeting American interests throughout the Middle East.
BURNETT: Well, I will say — I will say, I was in Tehran when they were chanting “death to America” once. I was at a rally, the people couldn’t have been more friendly to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a thing and a trope as opposed to anything that was actually seriously meant and considered. I understand your point but my experience was different.
TURNER: Erin, your entire life, Iran — pretty much your entire life, just by a few years, has chanted death to America and they have taken actions against Americans and American interests and in ways that are lethal killings of Americans, given weaponry to people who do kill Americans.
So, it’s not just a slogan. This obviously is something that Iran has systematically continued to do, it’s part of their —
TURNER: — seeking weapons of mass destruction and their claim to want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. These are real threats from the leadership of Iran, even though and I’m glad you had a safe and warm response, the people on the street may be different than those who are controlling their military.
BURNETT: And that is true.
TURNER: And the ones who are controlling their military mean it.
BURNETT: And on that point, you along with your Republican colleagues and Democratic colleagues said that General Soleimani was doing horrible things.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, there’s no question Soleimani was a vicious terrorist. Chuck Schumer, no one should shed a tear over his death. Pelosi, no illusions about Soleimani. He was a terrible person who did bad things. Menendez, Soleimani was a terrorist.
Those are your Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate.
Your Republican colleague, Doug Collins, top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, though, said this about Nancy Pelosi and her decision to hold a vote today on the president’s right to strike Soleimani.
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COLLINS: Nancy Pelosi does it again and her Democrats fall right in line. One, they’re in love with terrorists. We see that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Would you have ever said that?
TURNER: Well, what I would say is — thank you for couching it in that way, Erin, that’s very polite in your raising the issue, is — what I would say is that I think there have been some irresponsible statements on the Democrat side. Jackie Speier was just on your network, just several hours ago, claiming that Donald Trump would be responsible if the Iranians had with — their military rockets downed their own the departing Ukrainian civilian aircraft.
So, I think there are irresponsible things. I think the resolution today was misplaced. We could have done a resolution that calls for Iran to become a peaceful, active force in the Middle East. Instead we took a resolution to try to restrict —
BURNETT: Right, but you have an issue with Democrat comments, but what about Collins’ comments?
TURNER: I believe that Doug Collins needs to obviously respond to you as to your criticism of his comments. We see troubling comments on the Democrat side that I think really have caused people to pause and say, you know, are we all on the same team here, understanding that Iran is a threat to our country, the United States, and our men and women in the uniform.
BURNETT: All right. Well, hopefully, everyone can agree calling Democrats terrorists from the other side or loving terrorists is not productive.
Thanks very much. I appreciate your time as always, Congressman.
TURNER: Thank you, Erin.