Sen. Bob Corker says he thinks Trump will pull out of Iran deal in May

Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, believes President Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal when the deadline for certification to Congress arrives on May 12. Corker, a Tennessee Republican, told CBS News' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan in an interview airing Sunday that the deal "doesn't feel like it's going to be extended." 

"The Iran deal will be another issue that's coming up in May, and right now it doesn't feel like it's going to be extended," Corker said. "I think the president likely will move away from it, unless our European counterparts really come together on a framework. And it doesn't feel to me that they are. Now, as we get within two weeks of the May 12 date, that could change."

Asked by Brennan if he believes the president will pull out of the deal, Corker responded, "I do. I do."

In January, Mr. Trump said he was offering his "final waiver" on the Iran deal. Corker, along with Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, authored the legislation signed into law after the Iran deal requiring the administration to certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran was in compliance with the deal former President Barack Obama entered into in 2015. Mr. Trump's White House has blamed Corker for the Iran deal in the past. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Corker, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "rolled out the red carpet" for the deal with that legislation.

The possibility of pulling out of the deal, observers suggested, seemed even more likely after Mr. Trump fired his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week. Mr. Trump, who has long been critical of the 2015 agreement reached under Obama, told reporters after ousting Tillerson that he had "a different mindset."

"We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things," the president said. "The Iran deal, I think it's terrible, I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same."

But Corker said he doesn't think backing out of the Iran deal will impact any negotiations with North Korea. Mr. Trump has said he intends to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by the end of May.

"I don't," Corker said, asked about any relationship between backing out of the Iran deal and talking with North Korea. "Look, I have used that argument, OK? But at the end of the day I think this whole situation with North Korea and the way that it's shaping up right now is, as I mentioned, is somewhat unorthodox, and I think you're dealing with a leader there that probably doesn't think the same way that other countries and their leadership might. So I'm not sure that it's going to end up having a detrimental effect."

Corker said he does believe a meeting with Kim will happen, although he suggested the timing may slip past the May benchmark the administration had suggested. Corker said the administration doesn't know "exactly when it's going to occur." 

"I think ultimately it happens. I do," Corker told Brennan. "You've seen the administration sort of move away from an instant meeting. They've said that, you know, well, they don't know exactly when it's going to occur."

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.