Pompeo on Trump threat to strike Iranian cultural targets: 'We'll behave lawfully'

Pompeo on Trump threat to strike Iranian cultural targets: 'We'll behave lawfully'

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Former Laura Bush staffer decries Taliban's treatment of women amid peace deal Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions MORE responded Sunday to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE’s threat to attack 52 Iranian sites, including those "important to Iran & the Iranian culture" if Tehran retaliates for Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s death by saying the U.S. will “behave lawfully.”

ABC’s “This Week” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosTrump says he wants 'no help from any country' in 2020 election Rahm Emanuel: Sanders is 'stoppable' National security adviser: 'I haven't seen any intelligence' that Russia is trying to help Trump MORE pushed Pompeo on the president’s Saturday tweet, saying the Geneva conventions forbid attacks on places of worship and cultural objects.

“We’ll act lawfully," Pompeo responded. "We’ll behave inside the system. We always have, and we always will.”

“The American people should know that every target that we strike will be a lawful target, and it will be a target designed at the singular mission of protecting and defending America,” Pompeo said. 

CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperAcosta to Trump: CNN's 'record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours sometimes' Murphy: No concerns with Sanders on gun policy Dean says he's not worried Sanders would harm down-ballot Democratic candidates MORE also pushed Pompeo on the point, asking “So cultural centers are theoretically fair targets in your view?” 

“We’re going to the things that are right and the things that are consistent with American law,” Pompeo responded.

“We will respond with great force and great vigor if the Iranian leadership makes a bad decision,” he added. “We hope that they won't.

The president posted a threat Saturday directed at Iran, saying the U.S. has targeted 52 Iranian sites and was ready to attack “very fast and very hard” if the country retaliates in response to the killing of Soleimani last week. 

Trump approved the strike to kill Soleimani last week, saying he was a “terrorist leader” who caused the deaths of many Americans.

Iran’s foreign minister responded to Trump’s Twitter threats on Sunday by saying that attacking sites of cultural significance would classify as war crimes.