May 14, 2019

Stephanie Ruhle introduced foreign correspondent Richard Engel to talk about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's big meeting with Vladmir Putin today.

"Richard, silly me, I would have thought election meddling would have been the big topic. Lately it seems Iran is a bigger issue. How do you see it?" Ruhle said.

"Well, President Trump said he already spoke with Vladimir Putin, and they effectively put that issue behind them. That they agreed in this phone call or video conference call, I think it was, that election meddling was a tempest in a teacup, nothing to see there. Now the focus internationally is on Iran," Engel said.

"And once again, we seem to be edging toward a conflict in the Middle East. Every day, the tensions seem to be getting more and more intense with the British foreign secretary saying just yesterday saying that in this climate of escalation, there is a real concern that there could be an accidental conflict with Iran. And what you have is each day these incremental steps.

"First the U.S. said it was sending that aircraft carrier and fighter jets to the Persian Gulf to confront Iran, should Iran act on relatively vague intelligence that the U.S. was picking up that Iran might want to carry out attacks against U.S. interests. Then this report overnight in the New York Times saying the U.S. has dusted off its war plans and updated the war plans to confront Iran, potentially sending 120,000 troops to the Middle East," he said.

"Then over the weekend there were four tankers that were somewhat suspiciously attacked or sabotaged, according to claims in the Emirates. And there are U.S. intelligence officials suggesting it was a sabotage or attack carried out by Iran. There is a drum beat here and growing concerns about where this is headed."

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