Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed John Kerry over the latter's admission earlier this week that he met with top Iranian officials "three or four times" since Trump took office.
Pompeo called Kerry's meetings which took place outside of authorized diplomatic channels and without White House knowledge "unseemly and unprecedented" and further described the former Obama secretary of state's actions as "beyond inappropriate" in statements made today at a State Department press briefing.
Adding fuel to the controversy after a Thursday evening tweet by President Trump which also charged Kerry with "illegal meetings" that served to "undercut" US policy, Pompeo followed with a personal anecdote, saying he personally witnessed Kerry engaged in improper contact with Iranian officials and former Obama-era nuclear negotiators in Munich, Germany.
"I saw him in Munich with my own eyes, with Moniz and Wendy Sherman" Pompeo said, in reference to former Obama Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and chief nuclear deal negotiator Wendy Sherman.
“What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented,” Pompeo told reporters at the press conference in Washington. “This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
He accused Kerry of “actively undermining U.S. policy” by going behind Trump's back. “It is beyond inappropriate,” he added.
The controversy was reignited this week (following prior accusations from last Spring) when former secretary of state Kerry was asked point blank during a Wednesday radio interview about his rumored meetings with top Iran officials in which Kerry admitted, "I think I've seen him three or four times," but attempted to claim he was not trying to "coach" Iran on how to restart the Iran nuclear deal after Trump pulled out last May.
John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2018
Kerry is of course now a private citizen out of government but holds significant clout and influence with the Iran FM as the two hammered out the details of the JCPOA brokered under President Obama in the first place. Conservative pundits have long cast his actions as a violation of the Logan Act.
He responded to Trump's accusations late in the day Friday, via Twitter, while not forgetting of course to hawk is new book:
Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran's FM. But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra: https://t.co/DKjc33Kvvu https://t.co/cesltkt0zW— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) September 14, 2018
Also on the same day as the Wednesday Hugh Hewitt Show admissions, former Secretary of State Kerry appeared on FOX and was interviewed by Dana Perino.
"I think everybody in the world is sitting around talking about waiting out President Trump," Kerry said to Perino. "You've got our allies, remarkably — the people that we've worked with the closest through the years — who are sitting there saying, 'What's next?'" Kerry added.
During Pompeo's Friday comments addressing the matter, he concluded of the Kerry Iran meetings, "I will leave legal questions for others".
It appears this was in echo of Trump's Thursday evening tweet which suggested the potential for legal inquiry: "He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?" Trump stated rhetorically.