'It's very clear the world's a safer place today': Pompeo on death of Soleimani

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is interviewed on "This Week."
8:36 | 01/05/20

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Transcript for 'It's very clear the world's a safer place today': Pompeo on death of Soleimani
morning. We just heard Ian say that there were rocket attacks against military bases in Iraq. You said on Friday that the world's a much safer place after the killing of general soleimani, but more American troops heading to the middle East. The department of homeland security put out a bulletin last night, saying, quote, an attack may come with little or no warning. If the world is a safer place today, why are all those actions necessary? George, good morning. Thanks for having me on the show this morning. It's very clear that the world's a safer place today. Qasem soleimani no longer walks the planet. You know the history. Hundreds of thousands of people in Syria, millions of refugees, Lebanon, Beirut, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, death to Americans in Iraq in the earlier war. This was a bad guy, we took him off the playing field. That's important. Because this was fellow who was the glue, conducting active plotting. President trump made the right decision to stop qasem soleimani from the terror campaign that he'd been engaged in. Against America not only five years ago, but on December 27th when an American was killed by kataib Hezbollah. At the direction of qasem soleimani. The world is a safer place. We're taking the actions that we need to take to protect American interests not only in Baghdad and in Iraq, but throughout the region. You said he was planning an imminent against Americans. What Ed can you share about that? "The New York Times" is reporting this morning there was skepticism inside the government about that rationale saying an U.S. Official described the intelligence as thin, indicating a normal Monday in the Middle East. The senior leaders who had access to the intelligence there was no skepticism. The intelligence assessment made clear that no action, allowing soleimani to continue his plotting and his planning, his terror campaign created more risks than taking the action we took last week. We reduced risk. President trump is committed to protect and defend American lives here in the homeland and we'll continue to do that. Most analysts have said it's not a question of whether or not Iran will respond, should Americans be braced for a counterattack? Well, George, remember, Iran's been at war with us for 40 years. The previous administration, they had Navy sailors on their knees. They launched missile attacks throughout the region. This is a regime that has been acting against America for a long time. We're suffering from eight years of neglect. We're trying to contain them. We developed a strategy. Diplomatic strategy, we're trying to correct for what was Obama administration's appeasement of Iran. We have to do that. We have to continue to do that. Or Americans will be less safe. Before this strategy was put in safe, the Iranians were abiding by the nuclear agreement. We have seen a spate of attacks in recent days and weeks in response to maximum pressure. Can you say your strategy is actually working? Absolutely, George, remember what happened during this terrible nuclear deal, hundreds of thousands killed in Syria. Shia militias, the ones that we're fighting today, taking control in places like Iraq, missiles fired from Yemen that could have easily killed Americans when they attacked on September 14th. All these things, these things were ongoing activities. Resourced and funded by the trade and the money that was provided in October of this year, George. That jcpoa nuclear deal will permit arms trade with Iran, that's crazy. That's crazy. Missiles and high-end systems from China and Russia in Iraq, lawfully in October, that was the deal we inherited. It's the place we found ourself and we're working diligently to execute our strategy. To convince. Iranian regime to about like a normal nation. We'll be successful. In the face of this, we're seeing new threats from Iran, and a strong counterthreat from the president. Let this serve as a warning if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites representing the 52 Americans hostages taken by Iran many years ago. Some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture and those targets and Iran itself will be hit very fast and very hard. As you know the Geneva convention outlaws attacks on property, so why is the president threatening Iran with war crimes? We'll behave inside the system. We always have and we'll always will. You know that, George. The president was getting to this point. In the past, previous administrations had allow shia militias to take shots. We made a very different approach. We told the Iranian regime enough, you can't use proxy forces thinking your homeland will be safe and secure. Weerg going to respond against the actual decisionmakers, the people who are causing this threat from the islamic republic of Iran. We'll take this seriously and we'll defend the American people at every turn, George. Just to be clear, the president had 52 sites that wasn't accurate? George, I have seen what we are planning in terms of the targets set. The American people should know that every target that we strike will be a lawful target and it will be a target designed a singular mission in defending Americans. The president doesn't war. He's talked about this repeatedly. He's a reluctant participant in this one. He'll never shy away from protecting America. Have you had any direct communication with Iranian officials, phone call, a letter, and how have they responded? I don't talk about private conversations. Make no mistake, we have built an enormous coalition, that the primary threat is stability is the Iran. That regime is the terror threat that undermines so much that's taking place in the Middle East today. I have no doubt in my mind that the Iranian leadership understands president trump's view and America's view and gets clearly the message from the American leadership. Before congress, Democrats in congress were given no advanced notice of the strike, the president re-tweeted about that as well, saying, neither were the Iranians for pretty much the same reason. Was the president suggesting that senator Schumer and the Democrats shouldn't be given advanced notice because they can't be trusted? I hope we'll get support from every leader across America. From members of congress, I'm confident they share the trump administration's desire to keep America safe. I'm confident they understand the threat and risk that qasem sole mba -- soleimani presented. We'll continue to do that. We'll brief that. We began our briefings on Friday of last week. We'll brief them more this week. We needed a united American front to keep America safe. President trump will lead it. We ask that they support it as well. There's also the question come going forward, any new action against Iran, is congressional authorization needed? Former vice president Joe Biden spoke about that yesterday. Let me make it clear, president trump has no authority to take us to a military conflict with Iran. Period. The bottom line is, any further action against Iran requires congressional authorization. Will the president go to congress before taking new military action against Iran? It's really something to hear the vice president from the previous administration be critical of this administration's policy on Iran. We'll do everything required under the law to bring us in compliance with the constitutional authorities. Will you seek new authorization or no? We have all the authority to date. We'll continue to do things appropriately, lawfully and konks constitutionally. We've been consistent about that. Secretary Pompeo, thanks for your time this morning. Thank you, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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