Ted Cruz Gets Testy With John Kerry, Ernest Moniz Over Iran Deal

"Please, don't distort my words."

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz grew visibly annoyed on Wednesday when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) began to grill them at a Senate hearing on the nuclear agreement with Iran. 

The Texas conservative, who is running for president, first drew Kerry's ire by attempting to trick the secretary of state into apologizing to the people killed by Iranian commander Qassim Suleimani. The commander became a focal point for opposition to the Iran deal after critics mistakenly alleged that the agreement would require the U.S. to lift sanctions against Suleimani.

"Senator, I never said the word 'apology,'" Kerry said to Cruz. "Please, don't distort my words."

But the rebuke landed perfectly in Cruz's trap. The senator turned the tables on Kerry and, with a heavy dose of sarcasm, said it had been "duly noted you don't apologize to the family members of the servicemembers murdered by Suleimani."

"That's not what I said, senator," responded a visibly riled Kerry. "I thank them for their extraordinary service and I would remind them that the United States of America will never take the sanctions off Qassim Suleimani."

Cruz then moved to his next target, Moniz. The senator wanted to know why, in another hearing on the Iran deal several days ago, Moniz had appeared to be unfamiliar with a report on electromagnetic pulse attacks and the threat they pose to the U.S. homeland. But Cruz read an incomplete portion of the secretary's remarks, which had been part of an exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
"That is incorrect," Moniz said. "I said I did not know this 2008 report recommendations. I said I was quite familiar with the issue. And we all know EMPs from air burst nuclear weapons."

Cruz prodded Moniz again, demanding to know whether the secretary -- an MIT nuclear physicist -- was aware of the threat.

"Of course I know about the issue," Moniz shot back, his voice rising. "I happen to know something about nuclear weapons. I know about EMPs."

Cruz had previously warned that if a nuclear warhead detonated in the atmosphere over the Eastern seaboard, it "could result in tens of millions of Americans dying." He asked whether the secretary agreed with that assessment.

"That would depend obviously on the specifics," Moniz said.

Watch parts of Cruz's exchanges with Kerry and Moniz, above.