Trump has showed 'incredible restraint' after Iran provocations: Trump adviser

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien is interviewed on "This Week."
7:37 | 01/12/20

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Transcript for Trump has showed 'incredible restraint' after Iran provocations: Trump adviser
There you see demonstrations in Iran overnight. Taking on the regime after the downing of that Ukrainian jet liner with so many on board. Angry protests in the streets of Tehran. I want to talk about that now with national security adviser Robert o'brien. Thank you for joining us this the president has sent out mess sangs to protesters. And warning to the regime not to mess with him. Is the regime in trouble right now. I think the regime's having a very bad week. They shot down an Ukrainian national airline. The Iranians denied shooting the aircraft down and then gave a different story about the aircraft coming close to sensitive military installations. Changed it again and said it was because of the United States. This regime is reeling from maximum pressure and they're reeling from incompetence in this situation and the people of Iran are just fed up with it. Moreover, they lost their top female athlete kimia Alizadeh has just defected to the west. What more can and will the United States do to support those protesters and does the United States now basically support a policy of regime change? The people of Iran will have the ability at some point to elect their own government and be governed by the leaders they choose. We hope that around the world. But that's not our policy. We're going to support human rights. The best thing we can do for the Iranian people and for the world is to continue our maximum pressure campaign to ensure the Iranian regime never obtains a nuclear weapon. Top the terrorist activities in the region. We'll work with our allies. We'll see some additional assistance on that front coming out of Europe that's not been forthcoming in the past. You'll see the Europeans getting onboard in the coming weeks. We got a new poll out this morning showing a majority of Americans are concerned about the administration's Iran policy. Not convinced that it's going to make Americans safe and the world safer. We just spoke with Nancy Pelosi and other members of congress about the quality of the intelligence leading up to that strike on general soleimani. What the president has said about four embassies being targeted seems to be at odds with what a lot of Democrats and others heard in those briefings. Does the administration has an obligation to come out with better intelligence, better explanation of what happened so American people get behind the policy? I think the American people are behind this president. He's shown he's modest in his deals with other countries. But when you threaten to kill or to maim Americans that's something this president won't put up. We had very good intelligence. I'd love to release the intelligence. This is kind of a Washington story I believe. I'd love to release the intelligence. The reason we don't, George, that same intelligence, those same channels is what allows us to protect Americans going forward. Release the intelligence and tell you told you so, we want to keep American people safe going forward. We'll be circumspect. What the president has said is consistent with the intelligence which showed that soleimani was plotting to kill Americans and our diplomats. So, we feel very good about it. We feel good about the explanation given to congress. But if general soleimani was targeting four embassies, why weren't those embassies alerted or evacuated? Listen, we're not going to cut and run every time someone threatens us. I think you saw what happened in Baghdad. Which was very different in Benghazi. When the Baghdad embassy was attacked we moved a company of Marines in on ospreys, a platoon of army infantry in. We're going to draw a line here. We're not going to have another Benghazi. We're not going to have another embassy takeover. So the president was decisive. I can tell you with respect to other embassies in the region, we have taken very reasonable security precautions there. Something that we monitor all the time. Look, these are dangerous places and our diplomats and forces are representing us well. You mentioned Baghdad. As you know, the Iraqi parliament has voted to have U.S. Troops leave Iraq. President trump said he's okay with that. But secretary of state Mike Pompeo said he won't discuss. What is the U.S. Policy regarding American troops in Iraq right now. We think all agree, secretary Pompeo, the president, the vice president, the whole national security team, we'd love to have U.S. Soldiers come back to the United States. It has been to defeat ISIS. When the president took over, ISIS had a caliphate as big as great Britain. That caliphate, physical caliphate has been defeated. That's why our folks were there. We're looking to bring in our European allies to help the Iraqi people defend themselves against ISIS. In the long run we'd like the Iraqi soldiers and their military to defend their country and allow our men and women to come home. It's fully consistent. The secretary's comments, the president's comments are consistent. Let's get the Iraqi up so we can bring our folks home. I showed speaker Pelosi that Bloomberg article suggesting that U.S. Officials are concerned that the Russians are at it again. You heard the speaker say she believes the president is in some ways complicit with it, repeating these conspiracy theories, has the president told Vladimir Putin to cut out this election interference in 2016, will he continue to do that even if it appears that Russians are trying to hurt Joe Biden? He's told Putin to make sure that doesn't happen. The idea that the president of the United States would collude with the Russians, I mean, this is a partisan fantasy that's been, the flames have been fanned for three years now. There's zero truth to it. There are a bunch of countries who would like to interfere with our elections. Trust me, most of them would like to see president trump leave and have a more malleable leader come in. We're concerned about it. I don't want Russians, Chinese, interfering with the trump campaign, with the Biden campaign, with any campaign. I think the president feels the same way. And to suggest otherwise is unfair and frankly a bit dangerous. We need to stand together and put that sort of language aside. Setting aside the word -- the use of the word "Collusion" if the president is repeating conspiracy theories that are consistent with Russian propaganda, isn't that helping? I don't see that. We've been very clear on our position with Russians to stay out. We've been very clear with the Chinese and the Iranians. Look, I think all of our leaders in both parties should have that same approach. But trying to use these things for some sort of partisan advantage is really disappointing. Mr. O'brien, thank you for your time. Thanks for having me.

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

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