How Israeli evidence impacts Trump's decision on Iran deal

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," April 30, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program. The Iran deal, the nuclear deal, is based on lies. It's based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception. And in a few days time President Trump will decide, will make a decision, on what to do with the nuclear deal. I am sure he will do the right thing, the right thing for the United States, the right thing for Israel, and the right thing for the peace of the world.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: That is just not an acceptable situation. And I have been saying that it's happening. They are not setting back idly. They are setting off missiles which they say are for television purposes. I don't think so.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The Israeli prime minister with a detailed lay out of evidence he says the Israelis got from Iran. You heard the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. saying in recent weeks they've been sharing it with the U.S. The Iranians pushing back on Twitter today, "Breaking: The boy who can't stop crying wolf is at it again. Undeterred by cartoon fiasco as United Nations General Assembly. You can only fool some of the people so many times," referring to a speech Netanyahu gave there. But the seriousness here is that 12 days from now the president of the United States decides whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Let's bring in our panel: Guy Benson, political editor at, host of the new show "Benson and Harf" on Fox News radio which begins next Monday - - congratulations on that; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, and Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist.

OK, Mara, you heard the ambassador here saying how serious it is with the reams of information that he says the Israelis got about a nuclear program that essentially was designed to make a nuclear weapon.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Right. And what Netanyahu did today in incredibly simple, clear exposition with big letters and the graphics was to give the reasons why the Iran deal was a bad deal and should never have been entered into. He didn't really explain what happens after the U.S. gets out, but he certainly corroborated all of President Trump's instincts, and everybody who has talked to the president expects that he will pull out on May 12th or sometime before that.

BAIER: A lot of articles, a lot of people have been saying the prime minister was essentially doing that for an audience of one, for President Trump.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: I noticed that was said early in the show, and I actually disagree with that. I think Trump actually has a pretty good idea of what he wants to do. The real conflict is with European countries who really do want to uphold the deal and who do want to find a way to keep it going. Learning that this deal was broken -- failing to be honest going into the deal means that the deal is no good, and it is interesting that we've been told for so many years Iran is in compliance, Iran is in compliance, that echo chamber from the Obama administration is very good at getting its talking points out. They've been saying over and over that there is nothing that you can because Iran is in compliance. When today Netanyahu says this is built on a throne of lies, then they say we always knew that. You have to pick one or the other. Either they are complying or there is a complete falsehood at the foundation of this deal.

BAIER: Right. So the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal's structure, says essentially that you had to say the honest statements at the beginning. That was the first compliance. If you're not complying with that then the whole thing is not in compliance.

GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM: That's right. So as a prerequisite for the deal going into implementation in the very first place. And the requirement of Iran was to attest fully and completely and transparently what they had done in regards to their nuclear program in the past. And the Iranians lied through their teeth, saying that they never had a nuclear weapons program. And now we see today I think very strong, incontrovertible evidence laid out very clearly from the Israelis that that was just not true. The Iranians absolutely had this program up through 2003, then they broke it off into overt and covert. And crucially the same person who oversaw the illicit, illegal program that they denied existed, is still in control of the covert side of the nuclear program. I thought it was a devastating and powerful performance today from Netanyahu, and it should influence, that information should influence our president.

BAIER: Here is the French president characterizing days ago the Iran nuclear which


FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON: There is an existing framework called the JCPOA to control the nuclear activity of Iran. We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it. But we should not abandon it without having something substantial and more substantial instead.


BAIER: So I guess the real question, Mara, is can this evidence force or push the European allies, France, we say Angela Merkel here. They president's going to London to see the British prime minister. Can it force them to get on with a new round of sanctions outside of the Iran deal.

LIASSON: That is the big question. They haven't wanted to. They were willing to build on extra protections about ballistic missiles or maybe about Iran's meddling in the region. But they want to build on this deal. They don't want to start from scratch. And that's the question. Can the United States get the Europeans to agree to extra sanctions, more.

And don't forget, the president has another deadline, and it's midnight tonight see if he's going to continue those exemptions for the steel and aluminum tariffs against the EU. That matters when he's asking Europeans to cooperate on something else like the Iran nuclear deal.

HEMINGWAY: I also think it's interesting Macron points out that they signed this treaty at the U.S.'s behest, and it is important that we be good with our word and why learning that other people aren't being good with their world is important. It also speaks to why it was such a mistake to not take this to the Senate and have a broad public discussion where people could really hash out what we wanted to do with Iran.

This is not a treaty. It's very easy to get in and out of it precisely because it's not a Senate approved, Senate ratified treaty. It's a good warning for Donald Trump that if he wants to sign a peace treaty he does need to make that public case and get everybody on board so we can have a good treaty in North Korea.

BAIER: Yes, it was kind of a backwards disapproval by the Senate in the construct that was put together.

I want to turn topics North Korea Here's the president on the meeting upcoming, he says, and the meeting sites.


TRUMP: We've looking at various countries including Singapore, and we are also talking about the possibility of the DMZ. Peace house, freedom house, and there's something that I thought was intriguing. There's something that I like about it because you're there, you are actually there, where if things work out, there's a great celebration to be had.


BAIER: So he's looking at the images here. Meantime the South Korean president had this to say according to Reuters, translated by Reuters. President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace. There's some good feelings I guess coming out of South Korea from that meeting.

BENSON: If this does work out of course the president deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. The last president got one for doing literally nothing. This would be something. I'm among the crowd that is pleased to see these developments but skeptical of the North Koreans and their willingness to keep their word, speaking of outlaw regimes that do not. But the South Koreans are at the table as well. The handshake was historic. And it does seem like President Trump's unusual approach to foreign policy has at the very least brought both sides together. Not sure what the Americas might be willing to do. And here we are, definitely positive steps, but a lot farther to go.

BAIER: Yes, trust but verify. The nuclear site that they are closing down is a nuclear site that in part collapsed, so you have to look at --

LIASSON: And the administration has been very good at sending these messages, look, we know how difficult it is, we know that they've cheated on every other deal. We're going to walk away if we have to. But the president now seems to be getting super optimistic. He's already talking about the victory party and the celebration that he wants to have right there at the DMZ. So the question is, is he really, really willing to walk away if he can't get the kind of assurances that he needs from the North Koreans.

HEMINGWAY: I think there is an issue, though, too, if they were to do this onsite it ramps up the pressure in a way that could motivate people toward a good solution, not just that it would be great --

BAIER: You mean the surroundings would then force the inevitability of the deal?

HEMINGWAY: It might help contribute to that. But it's absolutely true if we are talking about Iran being a regime that lies, we have such a great history of North Korea being duplicitous and falsifying what they're doing. And so it is good that people are being cautious.

I think it is true, though, that a year ago, close to a year ago, we were talking about how Donald Trump is supposedly bringing us to the brink of nuclear war. We are in a very different place, and that alone is important. People should think about what about his foreign policy has led us to this place.

BAIER: It is amazing when he talks talked about the images and the power of images. Clearly he knows that part of it.

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