President Donald Trump called the Iran nuclear deal "one of the most incompetently drawn deals I've ever seen" on Wednesday night, just hours after his top advisers had briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the president's plan for dealing with the agreement.
"It should have been taken care of long ago," Trump said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity taped in Harrisburg, Penn., where the president had promoted his tax plan.
"I think it was one of the most incompetently drawn deals I've ever seen...we got nothing," Trump added.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
The president's decision about whether to decertify the agreement with Iran comes ahead of a deadline Sunday that triggers a 60-day window for lawmakers to determine whether to reimpose sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program that were lifted as part of the 2015 deal.
Trump also lashed out at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who backed the Iran agreement negotiated by then-President Barack Obama.
"Clinton gave them billions of dollars, gave them lots of other things and before the ink was dry on the contract they were already starting again with the missiles and with the nuclear, frankly," the president said in the interview.
"They got a path to nuclear weapons very quickly and think of this one — $1.7 billion in cash — this is cash out of your pocket. You know how many airplane loads that must be?"
Trump added, "So this is the worst deal. We got nothing. We got nothing."
The Obama administration has previously acknowledged the $400 million cash payment airlifted to Iran in January was used as leverage to ensure the release of four U.S. prisoners.
The payment was part of a $1.7 billion settlement of a decades-long legal dispute related to the sale of military equipment prior to the Iranian revolution. The Obama administration denied claims that the transaction amounted to paying a ransom for the four American hostages, insisting that the timing was coincidental.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed lawmakers Wednesday on Trump's plan for Iran, officials told NBC News.
Administration and congressional sources say that the president's decision on the agreement is part of a larger strategy to crack down on Iran's missile program and its support for terrorism.
The White House denied that advisers had briefed lawmakers about the president's specific plans, but officials said McMaster left no doubt that Trump intends to decertify, as he has indicated numerous times in the past.
Trump often excoriated the nuclear agreement on the campaign trail, once describing it as "a deal at the highest level of incompetence."
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told NBC's Lester Holt in an interview that decertification is tantamount to withdrawing from the agreement, and will have consequences. "No one will trust America again," he said.
Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.