Mike Pompeo Gives Update On How Trump Admin Plans To Deal With Attack On Embassy In Iraq

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks onstage during a briefing on the past 72 hours events in Mar a Lago, Palm Beach, Florida on December 29, 2019. - Pompeo says they came to brief POTUS on events of past 72 hours Pompeo: We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday night that the Trump administration will not be backing down in Iraq after the attack this week by Iranian-backed terrorists on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Appearing on Fox News’s “Special Report” with guest host Mike Emanuel, Pompeo said that the administration has no plans to evacuate the embassy in Baghdad and no plans to withdraw the troops that are in Iraq.

“This is 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran engaged in global terror campaigns, nuclear weapons dreams, and nuclear enrichment capability to existing today,” Pompeo said. “We came in when the previous administration had provided lots of money, lots of money that was used for that nuclear program, lots of money that had been used for terror all around the world develop their missile program.”

“The Trump administration’s taking a very different view,” Pompeo continued. “We put real pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. We will continue to do so and we saw the president say today we will continue to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable wherever we find their malign activity, and we’ll make sure we have the resources to do so.”

Several minutes later, Pompeo shifted to talking about the devastating effects that the sanctions the Trump administration has leveled against Iran has had on Iran.

“We’ve imposed an incredible economic burden on the regime,” Pompeo said. “We’ve watched the Iranian people demand that their leaders behave differently. You’ve seen the protests. Unfortunately, Iranians responded by killing hundreds of their own citizens.”

“But we’ve watched even in Beirut and in Iraq, even today, we saw protesters today, they weren’t covered in your footage, they weren’t at the embassy, but we saw protesters, real protesters, not Iranian backed militiamen who’d been directed to go to the embassy by [name of foreign official], but rather real protesters demanding to say that those folks at the embassy there, those aren’t Iraqi people,” Pompeo continued. “They’re not people who care about Iraq. We care about Iraq. And we want an Iraq that is free, independent, and sovereign in the United States under President Trump will continue to work on that project.”

WATCH:

Transcript of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s interview on Fox News’s “Special Report” with guest host Mike Emanuel provided via Fox News:

Emanuel: Let’s get the latest from America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joins us tonight. Good to see you, Mr. Secretary. The images are striking. What is your assessment of what we saw in Baghdad today?

Pompeo: Well, what you saw was Iranian backed terrorists. Many of them are individuals who have been designated terrorist by the United States and others come into the American embassy and posing a risk to American diplomats and personnel inside the embassy. You saw President Trump direct a quick, decisive, prudent response, but making sure that we had all the resources necessary to keep people safe and to secure the compound as well. And as we go into the evening tonight, we’re continuing to watch. We’ll continue to monitor. As you know, Mike, this is a difficult place, tough terrain. And so we continue to take the situation seriously. And President Trump and our entire team are watching it closely.

Emanuel: Any plans to evacuate the embassy in Baghdad, sir?

Pompeo: None.

Emanuel: OK, any plans to pull some of the 5000 U.S. troops in Iraq out?

Pompeo: None.

Emanuel: OK, we are reporting that up to 4,000 more troops, 82nd Airborne could be going into the region to bolster American forces in the region. Is that accurate, sir?

Pompeo: You know, you have to put this in a larger context. This is 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran engaged in global terror campaigns, nuclear weapons dreams, and nuclear enrichment capability to existing today. We came in when the previous administration had provided lots of money, lots of money that was used for that nuclear program, lots of money that had been used for terror all around the world develop their missile program. The Trump administration’s taking a very different view. We put real pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. We will continue to do so and we saw the president say today we will continue to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable wherever we find their malign activity, and we’ll make sure we have the resources to do so.

Emanuel: So is that likely to be more ships in the region, sir?

Pompeo: So, I’ll leave to the Department of Defense to talk about specifics. But make no mistake about what the guidance President Trump has given to both the State Department and the Department of Defense is to make sure that we have all that we need to perform the missions that he set before us with respect to pushing back against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Emanuel: What’s your assessment of the Iraqi government’s response to what we saw at the embassy today?

Pompeo: So we worked alongside them today. Early this morning, spoke with Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi. I spoke with President Barham Salah. Later in the day, some of my officials did. The president spoke, as your piece reported, spoke with the prime minister late in the day to. We were urging them to continue to fulfill their responsibility, their obligation to protect our facility and our people. We were happy to see them to deploy forces there to do that. We continue to ask them to do everything it takes to ensure that that facility is protected as they have an obligation to do.

Emanuel: Is the administration confident the Iraqis can protect U.S. personnel and facilities going forward?

Pompeo: Collectively, we’re going to make sure that that gets done. We’re gonna make sure we do everything we can to keep that facility safe and secure and have the resources to push back against anything that may confront us there.

Emanuel: President Trump tweeted this afternoon, let’s put it on the screen. Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost or damage incurred at any of our facilities. They will pay a very big price. This is not a warning. It is a threat. Happy New Year. Your reaction, sir?

Pompeo: Been working on convincing the Islamic Republic of Iran to be him like a normal nation. For the entire three years we’ve been in office, we inherited a terrible nuclear deal. We had the terrible situation where the regime had lots of money to go foment bad things around the world. We withdrew from the nuclear deal. We’ve imposed an incredible economic burden on the regime. We’ve watched the Iranian people demand that their leaders behave differently. You’ve seen the protests. Unfortunately, Iranians responded by killing hundreds of their own citizens. But we’ve watched even in Beirut and in Iraq, even today, we saw protesters today, they weren’t covered in your footage, they weren’t at the embassy, but we saw protesters, real protesters, not Iranian backed militiamen who’d been directed to go to the embassy by [name of foreign official], but rather real protesters demanding to say that those folks at the embassy there, those aren’t Iraqi people. They’re not people who care about Iraq. We care about Iraq. And we want an Iraq that is free, independent, and sovereign in the United States under President Trump will continue to work on that project.

Emanuel: We reported at the top 100 U.S. Marines going to the embassy. They’re all there, sir?

Pompeo: They’re all there’s a security and deterrence to ensure that we have the resources available to combat anything that should come at the embassy, but also to signal very clearly to those who might think about bringing harm to our facility, to our people, that they ought to think twice. These are very capable young men prepared to deliver real force if that’s what’s called upon.

Emanuel: Are other assets likely to go into Iraq if necessary?

Pompeo: Absolutely, if required. I’m confident President Trump will authorize whatever it takes to keep American young men and women safe wherever we find them, not only at our embassy, but at the other locations and facilities we have where there are Americans today.

Emanuel: Now that ISIS is largely defeated, is your sense that the Iranians really want the United States out of the region so there’s a big void there?

Pompeo: You know, I think they probably do. But more than that, the Islamic Republic, Iran has had a singular mission right there. They’re kleptocrats, they’re theocrats. And they want to steal stuff, loot and destroy the lives of their own people. And they do that. They think they’re protecting themselves by committing terror all around the world, by assassinating people in Europe. The Islamic Republic run has fundamentally failed the Iranian people and I am convinced that the Iranian people know that. And you’ve seen President Trump make very clear we will continue to support the Iranian people.

Emanuel: You’ve made it clear the United States is not going anywhere in terms of its resources there. What do you think would happen if the United States were to leave Iraq?

Pompeo: No, I don’t want engage in hypothetical. We’re engaged. You talked about ISIS, we’re still there working to build out the Iraqi security forces to conduct the counter ISIS campaign, there’s still a threat of terrorism in parts of Iraq and in Anbar province and other places. President Trump is committed to completing that mission. We talked about this in the context of Syria several months back, which said for the caliphate is gone. President Trump put together a strategy that delivered the destruction and defeat 100% lock, stock and barrel of the caliphate. Now we have responsible ensure that the remnants of ISIS can’t harm us here in the United States of America.

Emanuel: Are more airstrikes likely, sir, on Iranian backed assets in the region?

Pompeo: I don’t comment on future activity, only say simply that we’re committed to the project that we began when we made the policy decision that President Trump’s direction, that we’re going to push back against the Islamic Republic of Iran to create stability throughout the Middle East. We’re still fully committed to that mission.