President Donald Trump is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani without preconditions while maintaining “maximum pressure” on Tehran, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.
“Now the president has made clear, he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin said, just days after Iran said it had fired up centrifuges to boost its enriched uranium stockpiles.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, standing alongside Mnuchin in the White House briefing room, said “sure” when asked whether Trump could meet Rouhani later this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The remarks came just 90 minutes after Trump announced he had removed John Bolton as his national security advisor.
But Mnuchin swatted away suggestions that the departure of the hawkish Bolton could signify a more moderate Iran policy, as the administration announced new terrorist designations against leaders of several organizations with close ties to Tehran.
The sanctions apply to commanders or senior leaders of groups including the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, Hezbollah, the operational arm of Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
“You know we’ve done more sanctions on Iran than anybody, and it’s absolutely working,” Mnuchin said.
“I would say Secretary Pompeo and myself and the president are completely aligned on our maximum pressure campaign.”
Tensions have been escalating between Iran and the United States since May last year, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran and began reimposing sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
The announcement of new sanctions comes one day before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, which were carried out by Al-Qaeda.
Pompeo said the designations add “further muscle to US counterterrorism efforts (and) will help to ensure that the deadly attacks of September 11th that occurred 18 years ago this week are never repeated on American soil.”
© 2019 AFP
Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady
MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.
"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."
Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.
Watch the video below from MSNBC.
‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case
Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."
She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.
"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."
WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial
President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."
"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."