This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," May 8, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When I make promises, I keep them. I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn't bring calm, it didn't bring peace, and it never will.
In the meantime, powerful sanctions will go into full effect. If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. Swift reaction. European allies releasing a statement together. "It is with regret and concern that we, the leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, take note of President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States of America from the JCPOA. Together we emphasize our continuing commitment to that agreement. This agreement remains important for our shared security. We urge the U.S. to ensure that the structures that the JCPOA can remain intact, and to taking action which obstructs it full implementation by all other parties to the deal," saying essentially they are negotiating further.
Not all countries sharing that. Saudi Arabia tweeting out, "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fully supports the measures taken by the president of the United States with regards to the JCPOA. We always had reservations with regards to sunset clauses, ballistic missiles program, and Iran's support for terrorism in the region." Similar statements coming from the UAE, Bahrain, the Gulf allies, and of course Israel.
Let's bring in our panel: Matt Schlapp, contributor with The Hill; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics and host of "No Labels Radio" on Sirius XM, and Eli Lake, columnist for Bloomberg View.
Eli, looking at looking at across the board the world reaction, your take on this and the hopes that, perhaps, you heard the secretary of treasury say there may be a renegotiation in the offing?
ELI LAKE, BLOOMBERG VIEW: There is also the period of 90 and180 days for the re-imposition of the sanctions. There are now negotiations that I guess have been announced between Iran and the European allies. And so far there has not been any kind of clear statements from the Iranians as to saying that they are going to begin enriching beyond the limits on uranium or building up their program, or kicking out inspectors.
All of that is pretty good. And I think in some ways it could be a continuation of the strategy that Trump has pursued really since the beginning of his presidency, which is to try to renegotiate a better deal.
But there is a paradox also in what he said today which is that he really made a very clear statement of solidarity with the Iranian people. And the question is, if Trump negotiates a bargain with the Iranian regime, where does that leave the Iranian people? I think now is a perfect opportunity for Trump to begin thinking about ways to support the democracy movement which has been gaining momentum really since late December in Iran.
BAIER: Right, exactly, those protests in December and January essentially about the weakening economy in Iran. Here is the president of Iran reacting to this announcement after President Trump spoke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Tonight we witness an important historic experience. The same thing that we have said and repeated for 40 years has happened. Iran is a country that is loyal to its commitments, and the U.S. is a country that never sticks to its commitments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Matt, your thought on that? And you hear it not only obviously from the Iranians but other opponents of this action, saying if the U.S. can't keep its international deals, how does any country believe that the U.S. can keep agreements?
MATT SCHLAPP, THE HILL: Right. And of course there is no future between an American bilateral relationship with the Mullahs in Iran. We have to look past the Mullahs in Iran to the future. And I agree with Eli completely. It's about the Iranian people who in many ways are aligned like no other country in the region to actually be in a position where they could be allied with us on several key issues. So it's about looking past the Mullahs. It's about weakening the Mullahs. Unfortunately we will never get the billions of dollars back that they got at the beginning of this arrangement with President Obama, but this does knock the second big pillar out of the Obama legacy. The Iran nuclear agreement is dead.
Now it can be negotiated, there are ways in which it transitions, but the fundamental premise of it is dead. And I'd have to say one other thing. When you have John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in there staffing the president to fulfill his promises, great things can happen.
BAIER: A.B., you hear some Democrats out there saying this was the wrong move because the next step is not set in stone yet. We don't know the way frankly. And they are comparing it to Obamacare and repeal and replace where there wasn't that next step. But here are some Democrats about this deal as it came to pass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: We should not go forward with this agreement.
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: The whole purpose of our negotiation was to ensure that there would be no pathway for Iran to achieve nuclear weapons capability. And this deal doesn't achieve that.
REP. ELIOT ENGEL, D-N.Y.: I've said more times than I can count that I opposed the deal when it was announced. I voted against it on the House floor.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BAIER: Obviously, A.B., they are all saying different things now. What about this move today?
A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Bret, this was a flawed agreement from day one, and there were critics on both sides. That's perfectly clear. Right now there are senior members on Capitol Hill, House Armed Services Committee chairman, Republican senior members of the -- sorry, of the Foreign Affairs Committee, senior members of the House Armed Services Committee who are Republicans, very worried about the fact that you get out of this deal and you are left in a perilous place. Very difficult. It makes the challenge with North Korea much more difficult, and it creates a whole host of problems and consequences in the years to come.
It might have allowed for time for the kind of democracy-building and fighting for freedom that Eli Lake wrote so eloquently about today. It might have helped us keep our word with our allies, an area where we are really struggling because we actually don't have a new NAFTA deal. President Macron of France said getting out of this would be insane because there's really nothing left in its place.
I think that these next critical days and weeks are going to tell us whether or not he can actually keep Iran at the table, and whether our European allies can keep them from some kind of proliferation activity and keep them at the table. And if President Trump can end up renegotiating something, that will be a masterstroke. As of now we're just going to have to wait and see what they are willing to give.
BAIER: Part of this speech was to say, here's your opportunity, Iran. This deal was not working. You could still negotiation it. But Eli, very quickly, at the same time you have Secretary of State Pompeo on the ground in North Korea. Who knows, he could come home with three Americans as part of laying the groundwork for this, what is supposed to be a locked in meeting. Put the juxtaposition of those two things.
LAKE: I actually think what Trump did today could help in North Korea because it shows that he is willing to defy establishment, foreign policy Washington, and impose crippling sanctions over the objection of his closest allies and everything else.
I argued in columns that he should wait it out, and in some ways if the North Koreans are looking at that, I think they might say to themselves, we don't necessarily want to cross the sky. We are in good graces now. Imagine what happens if these negotiations don't work out. It could be perilous for us. That's one calculus. I think it's really hard to predict what Kim Jong-un will do. I don't think any intelligence agency really can get inside of his head. But I do think there could be this benefit of it which is that Trump is a disruptor, and he is willing to do things which other adversaries did not think was possible, and that could be a benefit in the context of North Korean negotiations.
BAIER: That's 100 percent true. Panel, thank you.
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