tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN January 3, 2020 6:00am-7:00am PST
this is cnn breaking news. >> good morning. i'm jim sciutto in new york. the breaking news this morning. path to war? iran is vowing harsh revenge after the u.s. killed its top general, qasem soleimani. senior administration officials said that counterterrorism officials are now on the lookout for possible retaliation by iran. secretary of state mike pompeo telling cnn just moments ago that killing soleimani was crucial because there was an imminent threat to americans in the region. >> president trump's decision to remove qasem soleimani from the battlefield saved american lives. there's no doubt about that. he was actively plotting in the region to take actions a big action as he described it that would have put dozens if not hundreds of american lives at risk. >> pompeo did not provide further details on these plots. despite saying americans are now
safer in the region, the state department is urging all u.s. citizens to leave iraq immediately. in iran, soleimani's replacement has already. announced, and thousands are protesting in the streets of the capital tehran. the general was head of the iranian islamic revolutionary guard corps, qods force. he was a revered military intelligence and political figure. the second most powerful figure in the country. u.s. military blames soleimani and his forces for the deaths of more than 600 american service members in iraq. iran supplied powerful armor-penetrating ieds to kill u.s. forces there. according to secretary of state pompeo, killing soleimani yesterday has saved american lives. we're covering this story from every angle. it's a crucial time. a potentially dangerous one. first let's go to arwa damon live in baghdad. arwa, speaking to you these last several days, this is a country that was already on edge.
today i imagine it's more so. >> it most certainly is, jim. i think everyone here is reeling from the shock of what just happened given how monumetal it is. and how it really pushes iraq, iran, the region into uncharted territory. qasem soleimani was not just revered inside iran. he was very respected by all of iran's proxies in iraq and beyond. he was quite often spotted or reported to have been spotted on the battlefield in iraq during the battles against isis where he was advising, presumably also helping to equip and fund what's known as the popular mobilization force. this is a shia paramilitary unit that ostensibly now falls under the iraqi security forces. but it is mostly made up of
those very same groups, jim, that you were just talking about. the ones that during the years of the u.s. occupation of iraq were taking iranian technology and figuring out how to build bigger bombs with it targeting u.s. forces. the other significant person who was killed alongside qasem soleimani, the leader of kataib hezbollah. that's the same group targeted by the u.s. in the air strikes on sunday that then led to those protests outside of the u.s. embassy, the attempts to scale the walls. he also -- his group is part of this paramilitary force. right now what you have, jim, is all of these forces at the ready. the iraqi government also viewing this as an aggression against iraq. and even within the iraqi population, jim, iraqis who are
anti-iranian who have been protesting against iran do not necessarily support this happening because in this country, they know only too well what the price of american aggression is. >> no question. and there are very many, thousands of pro-iranian forces in iraq. armed ones. arwa, please stay with us. let's get to cnn's rahim live in tehran for reaction there. we hear iranian leaders promising retaliation at this point. there are protests in the street there. how seriously today is the iranian government taking this assassination? >> it is very important because in terms of the human casualties, the number of killed in baghdad assassination operation is not many, but because qasem soleimani, the most admired commander here and in the region, and so it's very important and everybody,
especially analysts from across the board, they say the -- they attach importance to these assassinations. as i talk to you, in front of office in front of tehran, young people, old people are gathering in protest to shout their anger. and among them you can see, according to the footage i have seen and eyewitnesses, fashionable ladies with lock of hair exposed and also boys, young boys. they're showing their solidarity with other iranians. so what happens now is -- they feel they can consolidate thanks to trumps mistakes. >> it's good to have you on the ground there. we'll continue to follow the story from tehran.
let's get to kaitlan collins in west palm beach, florida, where the president is. he's just tweeted talking about soleimani and the reasons for this strike. what is the administration saying about how the u.s. handles any potential retaliation from iran? >> essentially mike pompeo said earlier on cnn they're anticipating all kinds of responses, though he didn't really offer specifics on what those responses could look like or really what the administration's larger strategy here is. so far the president hasn't hinted that either but we're getting the most extensive comments yet since we found out it happened last night while the president was dining at his mar-a-lago club behind me over my shoulder. he's writing that general soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of americans over an extended period of time. he was plotting to kill the many more but got caught. he was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people including the recent large number of protesters killed in iran
itself. the president goes on, while iran will never be able to properly admit it, soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. they are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside leaders believe. he should have been taken out many years ago. so there you have the president defending his decision to approve this strike which the pentagon said explicitly came at his direction. and as far as whether or not we're going to see the person the president in person today, the reporters were called to go to mar-a-lago this morning at about 7:30. we just got word from the white house that there's been a lid called which means we'll not see the president until at least 2:00 this afternoon. he's scheduled to depart for miami in several hours. >> soleimani certainlily responsible for many. not sure where the president gets the figure there. let's bring in arwa damon who remains on the ground and becky anderson, the managering imanaf cnn in abu dhabi.
i can imagine countries bracing themselves for iranian retaliation which can take many forms and take place including where you are in the emerates. how seriously are they preparing for that? >> well, this is a dramatic escalation, jim, of what is an already extremely tense and dangerous situation here in the gulf. the secretary of state suggesting the world is a safer place this morning. you would be hard pressed to find people in this region who buy this. this is all about declaration of war, people will say here. donald trump basically saying the ball is in your court, tehran. we know iran will retaliate. the question is how. so to your point, the uae and saudi arabia are the u.s.' closest allies in this region. and by geographic proximity, of course, the closest to iran. so they are an obvious potential
target. there are thousands of u.s. troops and military assets deployed across this wider region right here in the uae, about 5,000 u.s. troops. at least 3,000 in saudi. as many as 13,000 in kuwait. another 10,000-plus at centcom at the base in qatar. so when ayatollah khamenei warns that a harsh retaliation is waiting, that puts people here on extremely high alert. we've just heard from the united arab emirates. in light of rapid regional developments, wisdom, balance and political solutions must prevail in the face of escalation. the issues that are facing the region, he says, are complicated and suffer from the loss of trust between a party's rational deal with the situation. it requires a calm approach.
the bottom line is the response from the gulf is echoed across this wider middle east region. if this attack has done anything, it's to align countries otherwise at odds geopolitically. real concern here. >> you make the note there, thousands of u.s. forces stationed around the region. there are more because the president deployed more. there are thousands of u.s. diplomats and civilians in the region and iran has not hesitated to attack nonmilitary targets in the past. that's a concern. arwa, i want to go to you because iraq's government was already talking about considering legislation to force u.s. forces out of iraq several days ago before this strike. there's now a special session of parliament called. are u.s. forces now more likely to be forced out of iraq in response to this? >> it's hard to imagine a scenario, jim, where this bill that parliament was already meant to be drafting and working
on addressing the u.s. troop presence here does not somehow pass. this strike as we've been hearing from iraqi government officials, the prime minister and even the president was a direct violation of iraqi sovereignty. not only was a top general who, by the way, like him, hate him, support him, admire him, despise him, did have a significant role in the anti-isis fight in iraq. wasas sassinated on iraqi soil alongside a top iraqi commander. this is something that it's hard to see how the washington/baghdad relationship recovers from militarily and politically. some will even go so far as to say the u.s. killed qasem soleimani but they also may have entirely obliterated their relationship with baghdad. the iraqi population already
knows the price of american aggression as i was saying, jim. and so there are great concerns right now that what's happening between washington and tehran is going to further destabilize the region. we already know what happened the last time america decided to come in and carry out something monumental here. that's the u.s.-led invasion of 2003. the toppling of saddam hussein that led to the rise of al qaeda in iraq, these various shia militias with close ties that led to isis. there will be consequences to this. we just don't know exactly what they're going to be. >> a case where the president seemed to bypass the national security policymaking infrastructure here. reporting to the gang of eight. those are congressional leaders of both parties on the relevant committees. instead, speaking to his pal lindsey graham, chairman of the judiciary committee, not a member of that group, and there
are reporting responsibilities for a president to congress. so he bypassed that team again, much as he did with his ukraine policy. has the white house explain idea he did so? >> no, they haven't made any comment on that yet, though we've asked. and the question about lindsey graham being even briefed is a question of whether he was in the right place at the right time. he came down here to palm beach on monday. he was seen golfing with the president and he was also at the president's club on tuesday when the president was there. he said he had not golfed that day but had had a briefing on the middle east. of course, that was as those protesters were storming the u.s. embassy in baghdad. so that's raising big questions about whether or not congress was left in the dark here and just how imminent this threat was that pompeo says was being posed by this commander and why they carried out the attack so quickly. of course, they didn't offer a lot of specifics on what that threat looked like. so those are going to be the questions that lawmakers have going forward. why wasn't there congressional authorization? why weren't they briefed? as of last night there had been
no formal gang of eight briefing and then lindsey graham is saying this morning he was pleasantly surprised he was brought in and that he was briefed on what it was the president had to say about this. so that's another big question. not just what is the administration's larger strategy here. why wasn't congress told is going to be a big one as well. >> becky, you are based in the region and know the region well. the u.s. and iran were already in a low-grade conflict prior to this. iran has attacked oil shipping, attacked saudi oil facilities, shot down a u.s. drone. carried out an attack a number of days ago that killed a u.s. contractor. and that shows you some of the range of targets that iran can hit already. in response to an attack like this, explain how far that range extends. diplomatic facilities in the region. other economic facilities. shipping, et cetera. explain that range and the level of concern there. >> so, you know, we are a flight, an hour's flight away
dubai to tehran for example. we see, i remember this region has already suffered in the tit-for-tat escalations between tehran and washington. many of those actions thought to be at the order of general soleimani as we've been pointing out today. so we've seen these attacks on the saudi aramco, blamed allegedly on actions by the al qods force associated with or run by soleimani, the gulf's oil supply in the strait of hormuz. badly -- badly disrupted. much of last year, it has to be said, by attacks which have been blamed on the iranians. we've got diplomatic facilities as you rightly point out across this region. and we have also, of course, got oil installations. u.s. employees, the oil
installations, we've already seen the u.s. employees in iraq being told to leave the oil facilities. u.s. senator lindsey graham saying in iran continues to attack america and our allies they should pay the heaviest of prices which includes the destruction of their oil refineries. so we're not just talking about troops or diplomatic sort of installations. we're talking about much wider potential environment here for attacks on a tit-for-tat base us. >> and the very tactic of this group that soleimani led, the irgc, the qods force, was to carry out violence against, whether uniformed or ununiformed and to the many relatives and friends, military or diplomatic posts. we'll continue to bring you all the information we have on these threats. kaitlan collins, arwa damon and becky anderson. thank you. what could that retaliation
look like? who is at risk from cyberattacks in the u.s. to potential attacks on americans and americans around the world. plus -- newly released emails show the order to withhold that critical military aid from ukraine, where did it come from? directly from the president. there are emails documenting that. this fueling democrats' calls for witnesses in an upcoming senate trial. senator mcconnell will speak as he gavels in the first congress of the year just hours from now.
it will be fought throughout the region with a wide range of tools versus a wide range of civilian economic and military targets. the region, and possibly the world, will be the battlefield. those are alarming words but those are the very capabilities iran has. and it's demonstrated them before. iraq's prime minister calling the drone strike that killed soleimani a flagrant violation of conditions for the presence of u.s. troops in his country. meanwhile, american ally france says, quote, today we wake up to a more dangerous world. that can be agreed upon. joining me to discuss, barbara leaf, former ambassador to the uae and senior military analyst and retired general mark hertling. thanks to both of you. you have tremendous experience in the region at diplomats and soldiers. this is a threat not just to uniformed military in the region but americans whether civilians or diplomats serving abroad. what is the danger to them today, and what could be done today to protect embassies, diplomats and their homes, et
cetera. what's your level of concern? >> well, look, in situations such as these, the -- normally the administration, the state department, along with other agencies sends out alerts in advance to missions they think are in harm's way to basically batten down the hatchs. as a number of your speakers have pointed out, there's a surplus of targets across the gulf and across the region. i, frankly, don't expect anything from iran in the immediate days. i think there will be reprisals but i will also be concerned those reprisals will come against targets of our partners in the gulf. perhaps not taking on the u.s. directly. >> it's interesting as you speak there, barbara. we're hearing that u.s. embassies in bahrain, pakistan, elsewhere are now issuing security alerts to their staff here in light of this. that's natural. it's warranted.
general hertling, you commanded forces in iraq. soleimani has been on the other side as you've been on the ground there. i know and i'm sad to say we should remind our viewers you've lost soldiers under your command to ieds supplied by soleimani and his quds force. i want to ask about the danger to forces in the region. secretary pompeo says americans are safer as a result of this strike. is that true or are they more at risk? >> i don't concur with the secretary's assessment. whereas this certainly could have prevented some kind of attack like the secretary said. in this day and age, it's hard to do this, but i trust the intelligence assessment of what soleimani was doing. the kinds of actions he was preparing for. so i'm sure that they had some really good intelligence on some potential attacks. so, no, i'm not in agreement that it is going to make the region safer. it certainly is not going to make our allies safer in the region. and it is going to come as the
ambassador just said in the form of attacks that some of us are familiar with, but it will go beyond that. the asymmetric warfare and i'll give a plug to your book, that you give such great examples of talking about what russia is doing, what iran is doing. this general was a clone of another general in russia. he used asymmetric warfare and the power of government and the power of politics to bring conflict to nation. not just military forces. we are trained in overt use of military forces. a drone strike. a conventional fight. a counterinsurgency. a counterterrorist action. this guy with this portfolio and his number of forces has been training and arcing his background across a wide area using asymmetric warfare. >> they call it the gerasimof doctrine.
i call it a shadow war. hybrid warfare tactics and soleimani was expert tat it. barbara leaf, this is a tactsical success. you've taken out a bad guy via military action. what is the strategy here? what's next because when president trump came into office, there was a nuclear deal. iran's nuclear program was at least under limits. it's now expanding. that nuclear program. and, in fact, carrying out more hostile acts in the region. is there a strategy you can discern here for dealing with iran? >> not as yet. although the president tweeted out overnight a tweet that was a bit perplexing but was clearly signalling to the iranians, yes, i've hit somebody. i've hit one of your guys, but let's not forget about negotiations. i don't know that's going to be a very compelling message for the iranian leadership in the days ahead. i think the administration's strategy, such as it is, has suffered chronically for the
past year as to where it was going and how it was going to lead to negotiations. the ostensible purpose of the maximum pressure campaign. that's still an open question. i agree with mark. i'll take it on face value that there was compelling intelligence reasons of an imminent threat to respond. i think doing it on iraqi soil has its own dimensions of complexity. that's what i'm most concerned about in the days ahead. >> you heard hear from iraqi officials responding to that saying this is a violation of the agreement for the u.s. for the status of u.s. forces in iraq. general, news is coming in as we speak. we're learning soleimani will have a funeral in both iraq and iran. interesting in that he has a following in both places there. i wonder, is it possible that he is, if not more dangerous, still dangerous as a martyr than as he was as a general? >> it's interesting you say that, jim, because in part of
the intelligence read i read many years ago about soleimani, they called him the living martyr. he was as valuable to khamenei alive as he would have been a martyr dead. so in taking on this martyrdom role, as he's doing now, the implications of this with followers of shia, and this is going to outrage shia no matter what side of the equation they live in. if they're partly pro-american, which many of them are, are most of them contrary to americans. they are all going to see this as an attack on the tehran government. and it's going to be -- it's going to be chaotic for a while. i disagree with ambassador leaf a little bit. i think we will see some actions, very covert from the iranian government and it could take the form of various pmf forces conducting action throughout the range of their swath of land between lebanon and tehran.
but it could be certainly cyberattacks and the stoking of an increasing number of cyberattacks and even some homeland security issues as we know there is a network of iranian elements within the united states that the fbi is watching. all of those things, to me, are scary. and i come down on the side of, we've got to be prepared for what's going to result from this action. >> you mentioned the u.s. homeland. soleimani has publicly threatened attacks on the u.s. homeland and the u.s. believes he was behind a plot to carry out an assassination in washington, d.c., in a busy restaurant in 2011. barbara leaf, lieutenant general hertzling, we'll be coming back to you in the coming days. we'll get reaction next from a republican member of the armed services committee. also a veteran. what's his response to this assassination? stay with us.
the assassination of a top iranian military leader in sending shock waves through financial markets around the world. the dow now falling. investors worried about a volatile situation in the middle east. of particular concern there, oil prices. they are surging. middle east not only home to major oil-producing countries but key supply routes which, remember, iran has attacked in the past. joining me to discuss, republican congressman mike gallagher of wisconsin. he's on the armed services committee but we should note he served in the united states marines in iraq in 2007-2008. we appreciate you taking the time this morning. >> thanks for having me. >> you served in iraq in
2007-2008 at really some of the worst moments of the iraq war, at a time, in fact, when soleimani's quds force he's controls were supplying powerful ieds, which killed by the pentagon's estimate more than 600 u.s. soldiers and wounded thousands more. what does this assassination mean to you and other veterans who served on the ground there? >> well, i think it means we've taken iran's most dangerous warrior off the battlefield. as you reference, that's one out of every six combat facilities in iraq. so soleimani was a mass murderer. not only in iraq. he not only had american blood on his hands but he's responsible for the death of thousands around the region. he is the architect of the hezbollah model throughout the region whereby iran builds proxies in places like syria, lebanon and yemen to threaten our interests and indeed soleimani is the man responsible for taking iran away from the iraqis and making it an iranian
satrap and a forward operating base to attack saudi arabia and israel. >> as you know, you mentioned them. iran has enormous capabilities in the region and around the world, including through its proxy forces that you mentioned there. there are thousands of u.s. forces deployed now around the region. in addition to that, u.s. diplomats and civilians which iran has not been shy about attacking before. are those interests, are those americans at risk today, greater risk today than they were before this assassination as iran contemplates and threatens retaliation? >> well, i think it's important to remember that iran has indeed been engaged in systematic escalation for the better part of the last year. they attacked our shipping vessels in the region and those of our allies. they attacked -- they downed an american drone. they attacked the facility in saudi arabia. and we actually were very measured in terms of not responding to those incidents.
and now we established a clear red line of don't kill americans. and if you, do we will respond. and we have enforced that red line. i just would argue it's the iranians that have been escalating. and it is inaction that's the most provocative. and that president trump has absolutely made the right call here. he has sent a simple and strong signal that if you kill americans, we will kill you. >> should americans be prepared for war with iran today? >> well, the whole paradox of deterrence is in order to avoid war you have to be prepared to go to war. it's my hope this bold action, this strong action restores our deterrent posture. it's fundamentally a defensive action. it's prudent deterrence. and thereby, will allow us to stand strong with our allies in the region in order to avoid war. i would further note that iran is an increasingly weak position regionally. it's in an increasingly weak position domestically, politically. i think we have an opportunity to de-escalais and iran should
know that we've prepared to respond if our people are threatened. >> when you served in iraq, you served alongside general petraeus. george w. bush listened to general petraeus before he made decisions. this is a president who often has ignored or surprised even his advisers with decisions. for instance, the withdrawal of u.s. forces from syria which i should note you opposed here. in this again, senator lindsey graham, he's chairman of the judiciary committee, not one of the gang of eight who, you know, of the relevant committees, he was informed in advance. are you confident in a president that consistently bypasses the national security structure that is designed to help him make difficult decisions like this? >> well, i don't think that's the case here because i know for a fact that this target package was under discussion for days, if not weeks if not months. this has been something that the administration has been debating for a while whether or not to
take muhandis and soleimani off the battlefield. over the course of 11 attacks against our interests by iran, the president has chosen to either not respond or respond with things below the threshold of the use of force like cyberweapons and now he consulted with his generals, the secretary of defense and decided to take bold action against soleimani. so that the iranians don't continue to escalate. i don't agree that that criticism is in this case. >> let's ask them what the goal is with this policy here. we had john bolton until recently the national security adviser to the president praising this. he says this decision was long in the making but goes on to say hope this is a first step to regime change in iran. something bolton has championed before. is that what americans should prepare for here that the intention is to change the regime in iran? >> i don't think that's the goal that secretary pompeo has laid out. he's talked exclusively about
behavior change in iran. we have no problem with the iranians deciding the future of iran themselves. we look forward to a day when the iranian people are able to have more of a say in their own future and aren't dominated by the clerical evil theocratic regime that keeps them oppressed. however, we'll not stand idly by while that regime exports terrorism and continues to threat eens our interest and kis americans. it's about behavior change and hopefully the iranians will be able to change their regime democratically one day in the future. >> i want to ask you about impeachment, a senate trial looming here. during the house process here, house republicans argued there was no direct link between the a decision to withhold aid from ukraine and the president himself. we now have emails which were blocked by the white house but now released through good reporting showing the opposite. one email from the omb to the department of defense obtained
saying clear direction from potus to continue to hold. can you and other republicans still argue this was not the president's decision to withhold the aid? >> well, the president has the authority to withhold aid for a variety of reasons. the president has had a long -- >> the pentagon said it was an illegal decision. pentagon officials protested and said this broke the law because congress appropriated the funds. >> well, you talked earlier about the president ignoring the interagency process. this is how the interagency process works. various stakeholders that have different opinions. oftentimes it's the state department arguing against the pentagon. in this case, the president withheld aid for potentially a variety of reasons. as it pertains to the impeachment trial, mitch mcconnell isn't foreclosing the possibility of witnesses. he's merely insisting on the same clinton standard that was unanimously agreed to by people including chuck schumer at the end -- in 1999. and usually you have opening arguments, then written questions and then you decide on witnesses from there.
so if there is more to be investigated, i'm sure they'll get to it. i haven't followed the machinations of the senate that closely. i will, however, note that the whole argument for rushing this in the house was -- and that ignoring the courts is now bunked because nancy pelosi has not sent the articles to the senate. >> true, although it could have been made easier by the white house if they allowed the officials to testify or supplied the documents. we'll save that discussion for another day. appreciate you taking the time this morning. >> thank you, jim. we'll head to capitol hill next. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is set to speak during the impeachment standoff. we'll see what he says his next steps are. patients. get them out of pain, get them out of pain fast. we have a new product out there: sensodyne rapid relief. if you use it on monday, by thursday, you'll be enjoying that chocolate ice cream again. they can start it, and 3 days later, i know that they're going to have the results they were looking for. [ gunshot ]
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an office of management and business official makes it clear the order came directly from president trump. cnn senior washington correspondent joe johns has more. the republican defense throughout the impeachment inquiry in the house was no proof the president ordered this. no direct tie. in fact, there were a host of emails that attest to that, that were blocked, redacted by the white house. >> right. blocked and redacted, and now we know at least the gist of it. and the fact of the matter is democrats are using that as more evidence that there need to be witnesses in the impeachment trial of the president of the united states. but the up shot here on capitol hill is the impasse continues on the issue of the trial. and there hasn't been very much movement at all, at least as far as we know. what we also know however, is today is going to be a good opportunity to try to get a read at where the major players in all of this are right now at this point, including senate
majority leader mitch mcconnell, the republican, expected to address the senate some time around noon eastern time, thereabouts, followed right after, apparently, by the democratic majority leader. democratic minority leader chuck schumer. and the question, of course, whether we'll hear from speaker pelosi. we're told most likely we'll hear from her in the form of a written statement, if anything. so the impasse continues. probably the important points are that the senate majority leader wants a procedure that essentially allows the members of the united states senate to listen to counsel and others, the impeachment managers and then decide whether to have witnesses. schumer says he wants witnesses first. pelosi, of course, aligned with schumer. back to you. >> of course, an open question. does the senate majority leader say danger in the region, can't
do the trial now. not to put words in his mouth. something to listen for. joe johns, thanks. another look at the stock market. the dow slipping on iran tensions. down about 200 points there. we'll have an update on the markets coming up. win? hey, hey-we're all winners with the hilton price match guarantee, alright? man, you guys are adorable! alright, let's go find your coach, come on! book with the hilton app. expect better. expect hilton.
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facility. that is a potential retaliation point, is it not? >> and a lot of people think you're going to see more harassment of oil tankers. they super tankers that go through have to go through. the iranians can do things like have impromptu military exercises. oil flow, a quarter of the world's daily oil supply goes through that narrow route so that is the leverage that iran has here to drive up global oil prices, which drives up gas prices which in an election year is something thakdz be economic warfare that they could try to do. when you mention the saudi oil fields, back in september, they bombed those oil fields back in september, you had five days of energy outputoff line. >> the rgc which soleimani led had attack boats or tankers that
could attack tankers or navy vessels. that benefits iran, does it not? >> when the oil prices go up, it benefits iran, it benefits russia, it benefits consumers and hurts producers. ironically, the united states is a big producer of energy. one of the reasons they've been trying to produce more oil in the u.s. is so that we're not as dependent on that part of the world. but we still really are. that part of the world is still very important for the price people will pay here in their gas tank. >> gas prices. people see it immediately. it's a very immediate response there. christine romans, thanks very much. we'll continue to watch the prices and the oil markets. still ahead, mike pompeo says the strike disrupted what he called, quote, an imminent attack and saved american lives. how and where? we'll tell you more. stay with cnn.
good morning. i'm jim sciutto in new york. the breaking news this hour, the u.s. has killed the top iranian general. iran is now vowing revenge against the u.s. secretary of state mike pompeo says killing qasem soleimani was crucial because of imminent threats to americans in the region. >> president trump's decision to remove soleimani from the battlefield saved american lives. there's no doubt about that. he was actively plotting in the region to take actions, a