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tv   New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman  CNN  January 3, 2020 4:00am-5:00am PST

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state mike pompeo. what was the imminent threat that secretary pompeo mentioned moments ago was the cause for the u.s. air strike that killed general soleimani? our breaking news coverage continues right now. welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world. this is a "new day." we do begin with breaking news. the state department is urging all americans in iraq to leave that country immediately. this is after president trump ordered the assassination of iran's top military and intelligence leader near the baghdad airport. this is some aftermath footage of that. general qasem soleimani was the commander of the quds force of the iran guard. that title does not explain what a huge role he played in the region. he was one of the most powerful men in iran. maybe the second most powerful man across the region. he was behind iran's military
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and intelligence strategy for the last several decades. imagine the head of the cia combined with the chair of the joints chief of staff combined with shadow secretary of state. he was that big. according to the united states, he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of americans in iraq over the last 15 years. he was revered by iranians inside iran. this is what's happening on the streets of iran. it's been going on all morning long. tens of thousands of people protesting against the united states. >> reaction to this in washington has been swift. the responses pouring in from lawmakers overnight. most republicans backing the president on this applauding him backing the air strike. but top democrats are questioning the president's authority to conduct an assassination, a targeted killing like this without congressional approval overnight. house speaker nancy pelosi called this a dangerous
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escalation. she demanded congress be briefed immediately. that is kpmt expected later tod. we have the global reach of cnn covering this. let's begin with our arwa damon who is live in baghdad this morning. arwa, explain the man and the enormity of this moment. >> reporter: just how monumental this moment is is quite difficult to adequately articulate given who qasem soleimani was, not just within iran but how he truly represented iran's tentacles, its military tentacles reaching far outside of its own borders to iraq, to syria, to lebanon. those who have been on the other side of his policies. remember the quds force is the entity that is meant to be carrying out iran's
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unconventional warfare. those who were on the other side of this will view this as a success to a certain degree, but they will tell you that his tactics were very calculated, very brutal, and very merciless. alongside qasem soleimani, also killed was al muhendez. he is the leader of kataib huz bow la. that is the group the americans targeted on sunday in the multiple strikes in iraq and syria. he is also a member of -- his group is also a member of what's known as the popular mobilization. force. this predominantly paramilitary shia movement. this unit is under the umbrella of the iraqi forces.
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saying this isn't just a violation of iraq's sovereignty that this is an act of aggression by the united states on iraqi soil. that this is akin to a declaration of war or at least igniting a war in iraq, a war that is actually between america and iran but playing out right here. >> thank you to you and your team. just look at these lye pictures. this is playing out in the streets of tehran right now. tens of thousands of people rallying after these strikes. let's go back to our journalist who is in tehran live there for us. the reaction, these pictures do speak a thousand words. >> yes. in fact, in more than 800 towns and cities in iran, hundreds of
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thousands of people in post-friday prayers took to the streets to vent out their fury against america and to shout death to america and revenge, revenge, revenge. and they ask their officials to take advantage as soon as possible. the officials are talking and using what to do and pondering about what should come next. and they are showing some at the same time. deciding what to do. any interest should come but to catch american by surprise. >> thank you again for being critical there. we'll keep you posted on that.
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we are waiting to hear from the president after he ordered for a drone to kill an intelligence leader and why the leader was executed now. let's go to kaitlan collins now from west palm beach. all we have seen is that tweet of the american flag overnight. secretary pompeo who will join us in a moment said this is in response to an imminent threat to american lives. do you know what led to this and how long the president had this in the works? >> well, the question for these officials is going to be just how imminent was that we do have answers yet. so far it's just been that tweet. silent from the president. though we did see him golfing yesterday on the course for about five hours. he didn't make public appearances. we do expect to hear from him
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later on this afternoon. still on open question. because so far we've gotten that statement from the pentagon which the white house was referring us to late last night. at the direction of the president and they were citing that intelligence that they were worried about attacks on americans. part of that statement said this strike was aimed at deterring future iranian attack plans. says the u.s. will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world. but the bottom line is wherever you fall down on whether this was the right decision or not, the question is going to be what happens after this and is the white house prepared for the aftermath, how the iranians respond. and that's going to be the question, some questions for secretary pompeo who's been on the phone with world leaders this morning talking about this decision saying that the united states is committed to de-escalation. though of course john, the question is going to be this is a move that is not seen as de-escalation.
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>> kaitlan collins, please keep us posted there. joining me now, max rose. he served in the u.s. army, just returned from a trip from the middle east. congressman, thank you so much for being with us. your reaction to the news from overnight? the killing of this huge figure. >> so, first of all, no one should mourn the loss of qasem soleimani. i think of the men and women i served with in afghanistan, many of whom had deployed to iraq and some of whom were still dealing with injuries from iranian-made ieds that were put in iraq under the direction of qasem soleimani. with that being said, though, we cannot understate how dangerous of an escalation this could be, how significant this decision is. so my thoughts on the matter are contingent on really two points, two questions. one, what was the intelligence underlying, undergirding this decision? how significant was it? how imminent was this intelligence. and secondly, what is the plan
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for tomorrow because an iranian response in inevitable whether it was a cyberattack, further attacks in iraq, an attack on u.s. embassy, something is inevitable. and if we are committed to de-escalation, then we have to have a plan and lastly, we have to make a point about separation of powers. the united states plain and simple cannot go to war with iran without congressional authorization. it is not constitutional. >> is this tantamount to going to war with iran? >> well, again, the intelligence is of critical importance. you know, to say that qasem soleimani was just a national figure, i don't think does his role justice. this was an organization that was a power military, non-state actor force. >> secretary pompeo just said it was in response to imminent threats to american lives. >> well, that -- again, we have got to get an understanding of what exactly that means. that can mean many different
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things. again, this happened less than 24 hours ago, but these are incredibly serious questions and briefings at the highest levels of congress should be absolutely mandatory and quite frankly should have happened before this attack was carried out. >> president trump moments ago retweeted the state department directive for all american who is are in iraq to get out of that country. how concerned should you be if you're an american in iraq and frankly anywhere in the middle east? >> you should be extraordinarily concerned. less than a week ago i was in the part of the world visiting kuwait and bahrain and qatar. our soldiers stationed over there. all too often, we think of when -- of that region just iraq. right? just afghanistan as it pertains to central asia. but now our soldiers in that area are moving into iraq undoubtedly and are also in harm's way. tease are the best and brightest soldiers we have to offer, but our hearts and prayers and our thoughts need to be with them this evening because they -- this is a very serious matter.
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>> do you feel that the trump administration had the legal authority to carry out this killing? >> again, it depends on the intelligence. it depends on how imminent this threat was. and it also depends on how it related to the safety and security of our soldiers on the ground in iraq. if it was imminent, if this was a matter of minutes, hours, even a day or two, then yes. i mean, as a commander in chief, he does. but as we think about tomorrow and the next day, what i am certain of is that the president does not have the constitutional authority based off the 01 and 02 aumf. >> do you feel that this administration or have you been convinced in the last 24 hours that this administration has a plan for how to deal with the iranian response in the next few days? >> well, that is the most critical question right now. and unfortunately because of an
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absence of congressional partnerships and briefings, there's no telling. there is no telling. i look forward to you asking the secretary of state that very question. we need to have a plan. if we are committed to de-escalation, we have to have a plan because a cyberattack is inevitable. an attack on an embassy, virtually inevitable. we need a plan on how to respond. >> there was a statement put out this morning that said the world is less safe this morning after the killing of general soleimani. do you agree with that? >> so the world was incredibly unsafe with general soleimani alive. we cannot forget that this man had the blood of hundreds if not thousands -- >> 600 americans he was directly responsible for in iraq. he was very much involved with. >> very much involved with these most recent attacks. the question is going forward, though, and this is what i am
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certain of, is if we want some type of pathway to peace, in the region, we will not be able to achieve that solely via military means. if you look at the history of iraq in the 21st century, that has also been the case. we were only able to achieve some type of enduring peace via the sons of iraq, a sunni militia. and the only way to achieve that is yes with american strength but also with american leadership and a commitment going forward. >> we do appreciate you being with us this morning. >> thank you for having me. all right. so stay right here because next mike pompeo will be with us to answer all of those critical questions. don't go anywhere. hey, saved you a seat.
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we're moments away from hearing from secretary of state mike pompeo. we're also waiting to hear from president trump this morning. this after the u.s. air strike in baghdad that killed general qasem soleimani. he is the man responsible for
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iranian actions all over the middle east. one of the most powerful men in the region, one of the most important men in iran. what are the implications on all of this for u.s. troops stationed overseas, for americans traveling overseas, for u.s. security and u.s. power around the world? with us now, cnn chief national security correspondent jim sciutto and military analyst retired military general james spider marks. as you sit here this morning, there are big questions. mike pompeo is talking about this attack being needed to thwart an imminent threat from general soleimani and iran. >> i think here we should -- before we talk about how iran can respond, let's talk about the u.s. this was an enormous intelligence victory for the u.s. one, to know where soleimani was at this time and to carry out this strike. in iran, you could imagine there are concerns today about the extent of america's intelligence capabilities.
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we should keep that in mind. plus, the u.s. aware of him planning other attacks means as well that u.s. intelligence resources were gathering conversations, intersections, et cetera that indicated who's going to attack somewhere. again, that shows enormous capability. trouble is iran has enormous capabilities. not just regionally but globally. they run the full gamut from hard military assets but also to shadow war assets whether it's cyberattacks, terrorist forces, kind of the ununiformed iranian navy that is patrolling the persian gulf. small fast attack boats that can attack shipping, navy shipping but also oil shipping. and that is the concern today. how does iran respond. how does it use those capabilities around the world? wost in dangerous today? if you are u.s. diplomats in that region, it's a genuine concern. our interest today is not to stoke the flames or anything, but it's to talk about the real risk. i'll tell you, the potential
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danger to diplomats is something someone inside the pentagon mentioned to me as one thing that comes to mind. >> and all of their families. >> exactly. there are thousands of americans serving overseas and therefore thousands of americans here at home concerned about those americans. >> so general marx, officials in france say that we wake up to a more dangerous world. democratic senator chris murphy asked the question did america just assassinate without congressional authorization the second most powerful person in iran knowingly setting off potential massive regional war. so is america safer without soleimani this morning or more dangerous world because of his assassination in this way? >> well, first of all, let me congratulate jim in terms of how he laid out very agnostically -- excuse me -- the concern that we should have vis-a-vis what just occurred. it is really about our capabilities and iran's capabilitie capabilities. what i would say to senator
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murphy is why don't you just be quiet? look, when has iran ever demonstrated self-restraint? that's the question i have. so is the world more dangerous? maybe it's more dangerous, but when has it not been dangerous? when have we not been a target of a regime like exists in tehran? i mean, it happens as a matter of routine. what i find amazingly brazen is that soleimani felt comfortable and he felt somewhat naive that he could simply show up in baghdad and in his role as a leader of the irgc and the quds force. he shows up saying, how's this going? how's the attack on the u.s. embassy going? and in that moment, in advance we had built up intelligence which was pattern of life, different forms of intelligence. so we had this target folder on soleimani and this opportunity presented itself. and i'm certain what happened was the president made the determination let's pull the
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trigger now and i would say it's not causely linked to what occurred at the u.s. embassy a few days before. >> that's one of the questions we'll ask secretary pompeo. is this something that was months in the making? weeks in the making? days in the makes? >> well, intelligence certainly was, john. i mean, that's how the -- that's how target folders -- jim laid this out. that's how target folders are produced. over the course of incredible amounts of diligence and time, intelligence experts and special ops guys and intelligence community writ large, you build up this evidence. >> but when was the decision made to kill general soleimani if the opportunity presented itself? take that in conjunction with the emphasis that we're now hearing today from senior u.s. officials that this was due to an imminent threat which has legal implications. >> here's the thing. we know this president has had military options to attack iran before. we remember in response to the shoot down of the u.s. drone just a number of weeks ago, the
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planes were already in the air when the president turned them around -- he says when he learned of the possibility of iranian casualties on the ground. the president has been presented options. after the attack on the saudi oil facility. we was presented military options again. he balked at those times. this time he did not. so what made the difference here? it may be that the president's red line is danger to or attacks on u.s. personnel. right? because the strikes this weekend that sparked that assault on the embassy, that was in response to killing of the contractor. is that the president's red line? it may be. >> it's the clearest indication we have of one right now. great reporting all night. you'll have it on the show right after this as well. we are waiting for the secretary of state. why did the president order soleimani to be killed at this moment? that is the key question. the secretary of state mike pompeo is here next.
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. overnight we learned that president trump ordered the drone strike that killed qasem soleimani. combined we the head of the cia combined with the head of the foreign mister has now been killed. joining me to talk about the decision to carry out this action, secretary of state mike pompeo. mr. secretary, good morning. thank you very much for being with us. >> good morning, john. thank you for having me on the show this morning. >> you put out a statement a short time ago that says the decision to eliminate general soleimani was in response to imminent threats to american lives. what was the nature of those imminent threats?
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>> john, i can't talk too much about the nature of the threats but the american people should know that the president's decision to remove soleimani from the battlefield saved american lives. no doubt about that. he was actively plotting in the region to take big action as he described it that would have put hundreds of lives at risk. this was an intelligence based assessment that drove our decision making process. hundreds of americans' lives on his hands. he orchestrated an attack here in washington, d.c., that ultimately failed. this was a man putting american lives at risk for an awfully long time. last night was the time we needed to strike to make sure this imminent attack was disrupted. >> a specific target overseas? >> i'm not going to say anything more about the nature of the
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attack, but know this was not just in iraq. this was throughout the region. it was using these proxy forces he has manipulated for so long to bring so much destruction to the shias, the sunnis throughout the region. he created terribly destructive activities hezbollah, hamas, jihad. all of the bad actors in the middle east, qasem soleimani was part of all of it. >> were there any threats to the u.s. homeland? >> these were threats in the region. >> the reason i'm asking on the timing is because general soleimani as you well note has been an enormous threat to the united states and u.s. interests for decades. i was in iraq between 2003 and 2018 when he was responsible for the death of probably 600 or more u.s. servicemen. so what is different or what was different yesterday than over the last 15 years? >> well, john, you're right
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about the history of general soleimani for sure. what's different today is that iran has now been engaged in dozens of attacks throughout the region. president trump has shown tremendous restraint up to this point. we watched the intelligence flow in that talked about soleimani's travels and the work he was doing to put further americans at risk. it was time to take action to deter further aggression from qasem soleimani and the iranian regime. as well as to attempt to de-escalate the situation. the risk of doing nothing was enormous. intelligence community made that assessment and president trump acted decisively last night. >> was this attack in the coming days, do you expect? >> you know, we're prepared -- we've thought about this a great deal, but remember. they've been attacking for months. >> right.
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but i was asking was the imminent attack -- >> oh. i'm sorry. was the imminent attack? i don't want to talk about the details of the plotting. i'm sorry. i didn't understand the question. >> all right. the president of the united states moments ago retweeted the state department directive for all u.s. citizens in iraq to get out. why? what is the nature of the threat against u.s. citizens in iraq this morning? >> i don't want to elaborate on the statement we put out just a handful of hours ago, but make no mistake about it. the trump administration is focused on protecting americans to the maximum extent feasible. we made the conclusion that a statement that we issued was appropriate. that the timing was right for that. we have as you've seen over the past weeks, we've taken actions by building out coalitions in the region, by making sure to strengthen our partners. all things aimed at deterring iran. we'll continue that action and we're prepared to respond.
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>> will you call for the evacuation of u.s. state department personnel from iraq? >> we constantly evaluate our personnel not only in iraq but all across the region and across the world. every day we're evaluating what the right security posture is. we will ensure that we get it right. we'll rely on the people on the ground to help give us guidance about what they're seeing and hearing and we will make appropriate decisions about the posture of our diplomats and our personnel throughout the region. >> what do you anticipate the possible range of responses from iran will be? >> john, we've anticipated a wide range of possible responses. and we have done our level best under the direct guidance of the president to prepare for all of those possibilities. we hope the actual response, john, is that the iraqi people will do what they've been doing for months. they'll demand that the iraqi government give them freedom, prosperity. they weren't burning america a
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flags. they were demanding they stop their political shenanigans and qasem soleimani was at the center of that. he was driving bad outcomes for the iraqi people. he was causing many muslims to be killed. last night there was dancing in the streets in parts of iraq. we have every expectation that people will view the american action last night as giving them freedom. freedom to have the opportunity for success and prosperity for their nations. and while the political leadership may not want that, the people in these nations will demand it. >> we'll see. so far this morning on the streets of tehran, we've been seeing pictures and we have a reporter there. we've been seeing pictures of large scale anti-american demonstrations following the death. this is in iran. we've heard from iraqi leaders so far condemning the u.s. action. we heard from the french official this morning putting out a statement saying that the world is less safe following the killing of general soleimani. and the concern there, no one is
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saying that general soleimani was a good actor. he was a bad actor. what they're discussing is that destabilization will create a threatening environment. when you hear them say the sworld a less safe place, how do you respond to that? >> well, the french is just wrong about that. the world is a much safer place today. i can ensure you americans are safer in the region after the demise of qasem soleimani. as for the protests you described, there's no doubt. the last ves ttages will try to put down these uprisings from the people. they've jailed thousands. they've killed hundreds. it won't surprise me. people understand it is a force for good in the region. i'm convinced the support we have provided to people in iran and the support we will continue to provide will make lives better for those people as well. >> i'm very interested in what
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the future role for the united states in iraq will be. particularly after this. iraq's prime minister condemned this attack. he said it's a flagrant -- forces in iraq and the role which is supposed to be limited to training iraqi forces in fighting isis. so do you see this as a threat to the u.s. presence in iraq which has been crucial over the last several years in the battle against isis. >> john, i've spoken to acting prime minister abdel mahdi in the last couple of days. spe spoke last night with the iraqi foreign minister. i've seen their public statements. i know privately what it is they also see. and i know that what the iraqi people will ultimately demand is that the iranians get out, that the iranians stop with these militias that are undermining their government. america is there to help protect
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iraqi people. i've had friends. i'm sure you have, too, john, that have been killed defending iraqi sovereignty. we're there to couldn't the counter-t counter-terror campaign. as we try and stand up, iraqi sovereignty and give them the space to do that for themselves, we'll protect american interests there. >> i do have to let you go. but will the administration be releasing details of the intelligence which did lead to the raid, the imminent threat, over the next few days? >> john, we'll do our best to release everything that we know that's appropriate that we can that doesn't put anyone at risk. we'll do our best. we want the world to understand that there was, in fact, an imminent attack taking place. the american people should know that this was an intelligence based assessment that drove this. >> secretary of state mike pompeo, we do appreciate you being with us this morning. thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you, john. >> all right. reaction to what the secretary said? with the former nato supreme commander coming up.
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it was interesting to hear. he leaned into the notion that there was a specific threat, a specific attack that was foiled. >> and that dozens or hundreds of american lives were saved and made news saying this was a threat in the region, not on the u.s. homeland. >> we're going to have to see the intelligence on that. stand by. much more coming up. we have to be able to repair the enamel on a daily basis. with pronamel repair toothpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair. this round's on my go to toothpaste hey, can you spot me?
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. you just heard from secretary of state mike pompeo saying that taking out general soleimani saved american lives, dozens to hundreds of them. said this was an intelligence-backed operation. critically important interview. a lot of answers and some key questions remaining. let's talk about what we just heard with the former nato supreme allied commander general wesley clark. thank you for being here. i know you listened to the entirety of the interview. what struck you the most? >> yep. so first of all, i thought he made an excellent case for the strike. soleimani was a really bad guy. everybody understands that. caused us trouble for decades. cost hundreds of american lives. u.s. intelligence was effective. u.s. military action was tactically effective. shows a lot of u.s. strength. the u.s. obviously made a quick decision. sounds like a strong action and there's no question that the loss of soleimani will have some impact on iran's immediate
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tactical options and also probably on their strategy going forward. so tactically a strong case. the questions then come strategically. how did we get in this position with iran and how will we get out of it? what's going to happen down the road? you have to look at the politics on both sides, the strategy, the long-term aides, the allies, the geopolitics in the region. iranian politics, this is a government under siege. it may be that secretary pompeo said the iranian government will say okay we've had enough. you guys are pressuring us economically. you've shown you can attack, kill our best general. we give up. we're going to come back and you got your way. but there's nothing in the record of the iranian government over 40 years of struggle against the united states that would indicate they would do this. >> i was just going to say that. >> more than likely they're going to -- right. they're going to come back at us. so the question then is what do
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we do then? do we escalate this again? what if they strike an ally? what if they strike an american embassy? now, they put a bunch of cruise missiles on the saudi oil facilities. they could go back at that. they could put the cruise missiles on the american embassy somewhere. so these are all issues that decision makers have to consider. >> general clark -- >> so you could call it a preemptive strike, but is it strategically wise? that's the question the world is asking today. >> john asked him a critical final question and that is will you release the intelligence so that congress that will be briefed later today but the american people can know what this was based on. i read it as him saying more affirmative than not they're going to release as much as they can. that is what he said. what will you be looking for in that intelligence? >> well, i think you'd be looking for some sort of
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dramatic plan that would attack an american embassy or attack an american community somewhere or maybe somehow result in the use of chemical weapons or something against an american group. something that is remarkably different from something that's been done before. even there what you have is a tactical rusk that we took in striking soleimani weighed against the overall u.s. strategy. remember, we went out of the iraqi nuclear agreement because we didn't like iran's activities in the region. we didn't think the agreement was tough enough. so we thought by pulling out, putting them under economic pressure, we could then get a better agreement. we don't want a war. and they don't actually want a war. >> general clark, i'm sorry -- >> how do we get off the tit for tat? >> i apologize for interrupting but we just heard from the president. he just tweeted. let's pull it up. i'll read it.
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quote, iran never won a war but never lost a negotiation. that from the president. what do you make of his response? >> well, i think he's trying to take the tactical action and put it into a strategic context that s says you better come talk to us now. and that's the right move. but it's going to be very hard for the iraq -- iranian government to do this. the iranian government is going to be under pressure to take action. and to take escalatory action. that's the challenge. how do we get off the escalation ramp? >> general wesley clark, thank you for your perspective this morning. sorry to cut it short. we've got a lot to get to. thank you very much. we're getting new pictures in from the streets in tehran. let's put those up for people to see. these are demonstrations, tens
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of thousands of people on the street protesting the u.s. air strike that killed the iranian general qasem soleimani. the implications, what does it mean? christian amanpour joins us next. hmph... (food grunting menacingly) when the food you love doesn't love you back, stay smooth and fight heartburn fast with tums smoothies. ♪ tum tum-tum tum tums with tums smoothies. you always want to be able to for your patients.f get them out of pain, get them out of pain fast. we have a new product out there: sensodyne rapid relief. if you use it on monday, by thursday, you'll be enjoying that chocolate ice cream again. they can start it, and 3 days later, i know that they're going to have the results they were looking for. i got this mountain bike for only $11., the fair and honest bidding site. an ipad worth $505, was sold for less than $24; a playstation 4 for less than $16; and a schultz 4k television for less than $2. i
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all right. breaking news. these are live pictures of tens of thousands of iranians on the streets of tehran. this is after the united states killed iran's most powerful military and intelligence leader in an air strike near the airport in baghdad in iraq. secretary of state mike pompeo, who was on with us just moments ago said the attack was carried out to thwart some kind of an
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imminent attack by iran against the united states. joining us now is cnn's chief international anchor christiane amanpour. the secretary would not go into details and obviously those details matter here. the american people after the iraq war do not trust the idea there was an imminent threat, unless we see exactly what it was. he wouldn't tell us. he said that may be coming. what do you see going on? >> i think it's going to be very hard to expect the administration to suddenly deliver all this information. i think what was more interesting was what he said to you, and it was quite, in my view, somewhat conflicting. it was, was it this just about security? or was it about trying to have a regime change in iran, get the iraqis to throw the iranians out there and all the rest of it? was it both? and that also leads to the next question. what is the strategy? and i think that's the most important question we have going forward. it is absolutely clear that
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qasem soleimani, the head of the qods force force of the iranian revolutionary guard corps was as we've been saying all morning, the second, if not the most important person in iran who was the major arm of iran's foreign policy abroad and who has networks and tentacles and huge influence across that region. afghanistan, syria, iraq, lebanon, yemen, you name it. qasem soleimani's footprint, his handprints are all over that place. he was so well known and in some quarters beloved in that region, that they are going to have to take some kind of action. as one expert said to me, maybe draw some blood in response. how, we don't know. we've been listening to the massive, live demonstrations inside tehran. we have to wait to see what happens around places like iraq, lebanon and et cetera.
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what they are already saying because i'm trying to listen to the words of the speakers underneath is this is the pride of islam and we have to avenge his death. and they've used the word jihad and other such things. so really, honestly and truthfully, what is the strategy. is this going to be an accidental slouch into a war in the middle east, or are all parties, not just the united states, which said they want to de-escalate, but all the leaders of the shiite, islamic factions which are backed by iran in that region, not to mention iran itself, are they going to try to de-escalate this. and, yes, qasem soleimani is and does have the blood of many americans on his hands from what happened in iraq in the early days of the u.s. war there. but also, remember, that qasem soleimani was the only person with his militias who stood between isis and baghdad when isis took over a lot of iraq back in 2014. so it's a very, very mixed bag,
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and a mixed picture, and it's really hard to see which way this is going right now. >> christiane, give us the global picture on where this leaves our allies. france, the french government this morning said the world is now a more dangerous place. >> well, you know, you heard secretary pompeo say to john that the french are wrong. he categorically said that. remember that on the eve of the iraq war, the u.s. invasion of iraq in march of 2003, then-president chirac said the united states is going to open a can of worms and france did not go along with this action and wanted more time to figure out what exactly was the intelligence with the weapons of mass destruction in iraq. and president chirac was proved right. i think the french have a huge history in that region. so do the british. so do many other people who not only have a history and a diplomatic history but also have
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people and personnel in the region. so that is going to be, again, something to watch because as everybody said, it's unlikely that iran would take on the united states in any effort at symmetrical warfare. it's very, very unlikely. it hasn't happened in the past. it's unlikely to happen now, but the asymmetrical. the ability to lash out in many parts of that region is clear and present. and it is the region or at least one of the main reasons why successive u.s. presidents from george w. bush to barack obama and up until now, president obama, have not -- sorry, president trump, have not taken this massive eskaulatory step. qasem soleimani was at the height of his power when he was taken out. unlike osama bin laden who was a forgotten, you know, nothing burger, sort of hiding in a villa in pakistan. but it's not the person you take out. it's what they leave behind. and the tentacles and who comes
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next. al qaeda terrorism did not end with the sidelining of osama bin laden. isis has not ended with the killing of al baghdadi. so if you're trying to end whatever is happening, this is a major escalation, and we need to see what the plan is. >> also another note, obviously, soleimani, for better or worse, he was a government official which differentiates him from bin laden. you were killing a government official with this. that has different implications. the u.s. relationship with iraq, the iraqi prime minister condemned this. it's a violation of the u.s. agreement to station troops in iraq. what will this do to the u.s. presence there? >> overnight the u.s. missile attacks on the al kataib base changed the u.s./iraq relationship. iraq suddenly went from, you know, demonstrating against iranian presence and others to
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demonstrating against the united stat states. did the united states expect its embassy in iraq to be breached by pro-iranian militias in baghdad? did the united states expect that when it retaliated for the killing of that american contractor? and now the government of iraq is under massive pressure and we'll see whether the militia in iraq, or what is the pressure from the streets and what will iran do. the idea of iran wanting now to do that famous photo op that president trump wanted in september at the u.n., it's over. they're talking about revenge now. and so we just simply don't know what's going to happen and, remember, the french are saying it's more dangerous because emmanuel macron was the mediator between president trump and hassan rouhani, trying to get that relationship back on track. but the u.s. have gone from
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maximum economic pressure to now military action. >> christiane amanpour, great to have you. >> our breaking news coverage continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning. welcome to your "new day." we begin with breaking news. secretary of state mike pompeo said moments ago that the u.s. drone strike in baghdad that killed iran's top security intelligence official, he said it was to prevent an imminent attack on u.s. interests in the middle east, although he would not provide us with the intelligence behind that information. >> we're also now just getting new information about when the president was presented with options to prevent that attack, and who in congress was briefed about it much earlier this week. let's get to kaitlan collins for the breaking details. what can you tell us? >> well, we're learning more about how this decision process was made. senator lindsey graham


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