(CNN) –– US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his department would “honor” the “promise” of the Trump administration earlier this week to begin the transition with the incoming Biden administration. His remarks come weeks after suggesting that the president would win a second term.
“Those things that are required, that the president ordered us to do in compliance with the decision that the GSA made yesterday, we will do them all,” Pompeo said about the transition. Rightly, he referred to the General Services Administration (GSA, for its acronym in English), which provides the presidential transition team with office spaces. The GSA also coordinates the team’s access to federal agencies to plan the change from one administration to another.
“It’s a legal requirement,” Pompeo says of the transition
“It is a legal requirement and we will always honor that promise,” Pompeo said during an interview with Fox News. The conversation took place earlier this week but aired this Thursday.
In the same interview, Pompeo alluded to the Trump administration’s willingness to deal with terrorists and perceived threats of murder. Just days before Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated on Friday outside the capital Tehran, according to Iranian state media IRIB and the semi-official Tasnim news agency. No one has claimed responsibility for the murder.
The State Department and Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to requests for comment.
Iran’s Defense Ministry confirmed the death. “During the conflict, the security team protecting the Iranian scientists was also injured and taken to hospital. In a statement, the Defense Ministry expressed its condolences to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and to the Iranian nation for the unjust murder of a committed manager and an expert, “the state news agency said on Friday. IRNA.
“We will get him out of the way”
Pompeo said it was important not to combine security with the number of soldiers on the ground in one location. And he noted that the United States also watches for terrorist threats beyond Afghanistan’s borders.
“The threat of terrorism around the world – from Islamic extremism, Islamic terrorism – is real. It doesn’t just emanate from Afghanistan, “Pompeo said. Referring to the senior Iranian general who was killed during a US operation in January 2020, and an al Qaeda leader who was killed by a US airstrike in 2019, Pompeo said: ‘If Qassem Soleimani is a problem, We will crush them. If Hamza bin Ladin presents a risk, we will get him out of the way. ‘
Pompeo was also asked if Trump would order a complete withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan before ending his term on January 20. Pompeo replied that achieving that is “mission set,” but declined to answer whether that would happen before the end of the Trump administration.
“Well, the president will obviously make the decision on that,” Pompeo said. “The president to date has said that we are going to go from where we are today, which is a little more than 4,000 (military), to about 2,500.”
What Pompeo Said Just Over Two Weeks Ago
Excerpts from the interview released Thursday began with a question about the transition, which Trump has yet to accept clearly and publicly. But, the president instead continues to tweet lies and unfounded allegations about electoral fraud.
Bret Baier of Fox News asked Pompeo about a statement he made just over two weeks ago. These are the comments in which he refused to acknowledge the victory of Joe Biden as president-elect. He specifically said “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” Which sparked criticism and confusion among his own staff.
Pompeo’s comments at the State Department on Nov. 10 added to the confusion generated by Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 elections. Also to growing concern that a chaotic transition period could undermine national security. Some measures from his State Department seemed more petty.
Traditionally, the State Department supports all communications from the president-elect during a transitional period. But when many countries began sending messages to the State Department to congratulate Biden, the Trump administration prevented the president-elect from accessing them, according to department officials familiar with the messages.