The Latest: Pompeo blasts Kerry for Iran meetings

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Trump administration criticism of former Secretary of State John Kerry (all times local):

6 p.m.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry has responded to President Donald Trump’s criticism of his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister by telling the commander in chief he should instead focus on the special counsel’s investigation.

Late Thursday, Trump accused Kerry of holding “illegal meetings” with the Iranian government. Kerry was an architect of the Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from in May, and Kerry met several times with Iran’s foreign minister since leaving office.

Kerry tweeted Friday that Trump should be “more worried” about his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, agreeing to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Kerry says if Trump wants to “learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra.”

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3:55 p.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says his Obama-era predecessor John Kerry has been “actively undermining” U.S. policy on Iran.

Late Thursday, President Donald Trump had accused Kerry of holding “illegal meetings” with the Iranian government.

Pompeo said he would leave “legal determinations to others” but slammed Kerry as a former secretary of state for engaging with “the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror” and telling Iran to “wait out this administration.”

Pompeo contended Friday: “You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history.”

Kerry was an architect of the Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from in May and has met several times with Iran’s foreign minister since leaving office.

Meetings between a private U.S. citizen and foreign official are not against the law and not necessarily inappropriate or a violation of federal regulations.

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2:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is ramping up his criticism of former Secretary of State John Kerry. In the past, Trump has criticized Kerry over the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate change accord.

Now, even though Trump has withdrawn from Kerry’s signature achievements as top U.S. diplomat, the president is cranking up his criticism, accusing Kerry in a late Thursday tweet of breaking the law.

Republican lawmakers are also taking aim at Kerry for his revelation that since leaving office he has met several times with the Iranian foreign minister.

Such meetings, between a private U.S. citizen and foreign officials, are not against the law and not necessarily inappropriate, but Trump and the GOP contend Kerry is trying to subvert the administration’s hard line on Iran.

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