Former Secretary of State John Kerry slammed attacks by President Donald Trump and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, saying the president "should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran's foreign minister."

Iran Press/America: Trump originally attacked Kerry on Thursday evening, accusing him of  having "illegal meetings" with Iran . The tweet was an apparent reference to Kerry admitting on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Wednesday to meeting with Iranian officials, specifically Foreign Minister  Mohammad Javad  Zarif, "three or four times" at gatherings of world top officials , such as the World Economic Forum reported ABCnews.

Related News: Zarif: "If Europe remains passive, we can increase our uranium enrichment"

The meetings came while Rex Tillerson was secretary of state and before Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA in May.

Kerry took delight in ripping the president on Friday afternoon. He chided him over former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's guilty plea and even former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman's leaked recordings.

Related News: Trump-Omarosa row deepens with more revelations about Trump White House

"Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran's foreign minister," he tweeted. "But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra."

He followed that tweet with the line, "PS - I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa."

But the attacks from the Trump administration continued on Friday afternoon.

Pompeo, the current secretary of state, followed up on Trump's criticism at a briefing, calling the meetings "unseemly," "unprecedented" and "beyond inappropriate."

Related News: US poised to re-impose sanctions on Iran: Pompeo

A spokesperson for Kerry responded Friday evening, "Let's cut through the distractions and talk about real facts, not alternative facts. Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian’s view. No secrets were kept from this administration."

"There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts," Kerry's spokesperson said.

Former Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who was also singled out by Pompeo, tweeted the current secretary of state "tried to distract from Manafort and gain points with president by attacking me today."

Ned Price, former CIA analyst and adviser to Barack Obama on his National Security Council, was even more direct.

"Pompeo was speaking to an audience of one," Price said in a statement, referring to the president. "This was nothing more than an attempt to parrot and please his boss. We know that because Pompeo’s State Department was briefed on these discussions, which are commonplace among former diplomats, both before and after the fact."

Recently , former US  secretary of state  , John Kerry has claimed that he had meetings with Iranian Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  for three or four times on the sidelines  of international  gatherings and summits, mostly discussing the Syrian and  Yemeni  crises.

 

 

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Sep 16, 2018 06:54 Asia/Tehran
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