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Kerry: Trump should be worried about Manafort talking to Mueller, not me talking to Iranians
Former Secretary of State John Kerry fired back at President Trump on Friday after the president slammed Kerry's continued meetings with foreign diplomats from Iran and other countries, calling them "illegal."
"There's absolutely nothing unusual about it. The conversation I think he really ought to be worried about is Paul Manafort with Mueller," Kerry said on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," referring to Trump's former campaign chairman who "flipped" on Friday to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.
"It really is giant, and soon you'll be hearing him say that is the worst that's ever been made. When you think about it, it's really gone from the Art of the Deal to the art of the squeal," he added.
Manafort agreed to a plea deal with Mueller's team Friday on two federal charges. The deal involves full cooperation with Mueller in his probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election as well as looking at potential obstruction of justice.
Manafort was among the Trump campaign officials who attended the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Kerry's comments Friday are the latest in a feud between the pair this week over Kerry's maintained contacts with foreign dignitaries after he left the State Department when Trump took office in early 2017.
"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!" Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called the meetings "unseemly and unprecedented" on Friday.
Kerry played a central role during the Obama administration in crafting the nuclear deal Iran signed with the U.S. and five other world powers in 2015, a deal Trump pulled the U.S. out of in May.
The former secretary of State has denied any wrongdoing regarding the meetings with Iran and other countries.
"We have conversations with people about the state of affairs in the world in order to understand them. We don't negotiate, we're not involved in interfering with policy," Kerry said on Fox News earlier this week.
"It's not Iran deal-specific, it's with respect to trade, it's with respect to NATO," he added.