CNN Grills Pompeo on Airstrike, But Treated Iran With Kid Gloves

Listen to the Article!

As NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham recently reported, CNN’s Erin Burnett conducted a sit-down interview with Iranian ambassador to the U.N., Majid Takht Ravanchi on Friday where she treated him to some slow-pitch softball questions. The network took a complete 180 on Sunday when State of the Union host Jake Tapper unloaded on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by grilling him on the airstrike that killed Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani, and acting skeptical about the need to take out the terrorist.

On Friday, Burnett appeared to comfort America’s enemy by flat-out refusing to question the Ambassador on the American contractor his country killed in Iraq and the assault they led on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Instead, she offered up these softballs:

BURNETT: With these sudden developments, obviously, the entire world is focused on this story. When you look at what happened here, was this a declaration of war?

(…)

BURNETT: So you say it is tantamount to opening a war against Iran. President Trump today said, his words, "We took action to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war." What do you say President Trump, Mr. Ambassador?

Compare that to Tapper kicking off the interview by insisting President Trump was intent on blowing up Iranian civilians when responding to possible Iranian retaliation:

JAKE TAPPER: Let’s start about this new threat from President Trump. Is the tweet accurate? Is the U.S. really prepared to hit non-military cultural targets in Iran, which would obviously, possibly result in civilian threats and almost certainly violate a U.N. resolution that the U.S. voted for in 2017.

(…)

TAPPER: Well, you’re saying two different things there, sir, with all due respect, because President Trump's threat on the Iranian cultural centers – or centers of interest to the Iranian culture would not be in accordance with international law, so which is it?

Tapper even refused to admit that the world was safer with Soleimani out of the picture. “Yet, you said that, quote, ‘the world is a much safer place today,’ unquote. Now, I can see you making the argument that the world would be safer in the long-term, but how could you say we’re safer today given the increased and heightened threat level,” he argued over semantics.

To point out the hypocrisy, CNN would certainly bash the administration as negligent if they didn’t advise caution with the obvious threats of retaliation coming from Iran.

 

 

It was also clear that Tapper was skeptical of the threat Soleimani presented at the time of the airstrike. “Let me ask you a question. Do you know for a fact that the mission that Soleimani was working on, you say, the attacks that you say he was planning, have they been called off, those attacks,” he pressed.

He continued to push that assertion by relying on claims from Democrats that Soleimani didn’t pose an imminent threat:

TAPPER: Let’s talk about why you carried out the strike and the intelligence behind it all. Some members of Congress and others who have been briefed on the intelligence say they have not seen sufficient evidence to conclude that the attack you refer to, the attack on the Americans was actually imminent as you have claimed. When do you plan to share evidence with Congress, with the American people to clear up any questions here?

Clearly, Tapper was insinuating the administration wasn’t being truthful and had something to hide. The liberal media had the same skepticism when the Trump administration blamed Iran for planting explosives on cargo ships, at least they were before other countries confirmed it.

Tapper circled back around to combat the idea that Americans were safer, but this time Pompeo confronted him on it (click “expand”):

TAPPER: I keep coming back to the fact that you keep saying it’s safer now even at the same time that the U.S. government is telling all Americans to leave Iraq. I mean, again, I understand the idea that in the long-term the region could be stable.

SEC. STATE MIKE POMPEO: You don't seem to, Jake. You don’t seem to understand that. You know, oftentimes I have heard you say, Jake, America thinks just about the moment and doesn’t think about the long-term strategic implications. This administration.

TAPPER [Speaking over Pompeo]: I don't know I have ever said it about America. I’ve certainly said that about leaders of this country.

Citing polls that said Americans didn’t trust President Trump, Tapper placed the lies of past administrations on the Trump administration:

And there is this credibility gap, in addition, to obviously, this nation has heard leaders whether it is blaming a YouTube video for the attacks on the embassy in Benghazi or WMD in Iraq, people have heard this government, the government of the United States say things to them that were not true when it comes to the war.

Do you understand that there may be a special responsibility to provide proof and evidence to the American people of the imminence of this attack – of the need to carry out the mission that you carried out,” Tapper demanded to know.

The difference in the nature and tone of the interviews was stark. It was as if they viewed one as their true enemy and the other as the victim. Tell that to the hundreds of Americans Soleimani killed.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s State of the Union
January 5, 2020
9:02:39 a.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: Let’s start about this new threat from President Trump. Is the tweet accurate? Is the U.S. really prepared to hit non-military cultural targets in Iran, which would obviously, possibly result in civilian threats and almost certainly violate a U.N. resolution that the U.S. voted for in 2017.

(…)

TAPPER: Well, you’re saying two different things there, sir, with all due respect, because President Trump's threat on the Iranian cultural centers – or centers of interest to the Iranian culture would not be in accordance with international law, so which is it?

(…)

TAPPER: And so the cultural centers are, theoretically, fair targets in your view?

(…)

TAPPER: You’ve said you hoped that this strike de-escalates the situation. President Trump is obviously now threatening in capital letters to hit Iran “very fast and very hard.” That does not seeming like de-escalation.

(…)

TAPPER: Do you think that President Trump threatening to attack 52 sites in Iran, one for each of the American hostages taken by Iran in 1979 is de-escalating, is providing an off-ramp for the Iranians?

(…)

TAPPER: The Trump administration is privately warning members of Congress that Iran is expected to retaliate within weeks. Here’s just some of what’s happened in the last 72 hours. The U.S. has told all Americans to immediately leave Iraq. The U.S. is sending thousands of additional U.S. service members from the 82nd Airborne to Kuwait. Soliemani’s deputy has been appointed to replace him! The German government has raised its threat level. The British Navy is now accompanying the U.K. ships in the Strait in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. is bracing for possible Iranian cyber-attack.

Yet, you said that, quote, “the world is a much safer place today,” unquote. Now, I can see you making the argument that the world would be safer in the long-term, but how could you say we’re safer today given the increased and heightened threat level.

(…)

TAPPER: Okay. That’s in the long run, but I am talking about the short term. Let me ask you a question. Do you know for a fact that the mission that Soleimani was working on, you say, the attacks that you say he was planning, have they been called off, those attacks?

(…)

TAPPER: Let’s talk about why you carried out the strike and the intelligence behind it all. Some members of Congress and others who have been briefed on the intelligence say they have not seen sufficient evidence to conclude that the attack you refer to, the attack on the Americans was actually imminent as you have claimed. When do you plan to share evidence with Congress, with the American people to clear up any questions here?

(…)

TAPPER: When you say the attacks were imminent, how imminent were they? Are we talking about days, we talking about weeks?

(…)

TAPPER: I keep coming back to the fact that you keep saying it’s safer now even at the same time that the U.S. government is telling all Americans to leave Iraq. I mean, again, I understand the idea that in the long-term the region could be stable.

SEC. STATE MIKE POMPEO: You don't seem to, Jake. You don’t seem to understand that. You know, oftentimes I have heard you say, Jake, America thinks just about the moment and doesn’t think about the long-term strategic implications. This administration.

TAPPER [Speaking over Pompeo]: I don't know I have ever said it about America. I’ve certainly said that about leaders of this country.

(…)

TAPPER: I do want to ask you, because there does seem to be a disconnect here. But President Trump, according to polling, a majority of the American people have never considered him honest, have never considered him trustworthy. This is the American people, and not me, okay.

And there is this credibility gap, in addition, to obviously, this nation has heard leaders whether it is blaming a YouTube video for the attacks on the embassy in Benghazi or WMD in Iraq, people have heard this government, the government of the United States say things to them that were not true when it comes to the war.

Do you understand that there may be a special responsibility to provide proof and evidence to the American people of the imminence of this attack – of the need to carry out the mission that you carried out?

(…)

TAPPER: Well, we look forward to learning more about that evidence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thanks so much for joining us today.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Middle East Iran Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Double Standards Labeling Military Cable Television CNN State of the Union Video Jake Tapper Mike Pompeo Donald Trump Qasem Soleimani

Sponsored Links