(CN) – Donald Trump on Friday morning did something he’s rarely if ever done over the course of his highly unusual campaign for the presidency he admitted he was wrong when he claimed this week that he saw a video of the U.S. cash payment to Iran.
It a Tweet shortly after 6 a.m., the Republican presidential candidate said “The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!”
In several campaign appearances this week, Trump excoriated the Obama administration about a $400 million payment the United States made to Iran in January.
Because it was delivered on the same day Iran released four Americans they had detained, the GOP and Fox News has been fast to describe it as ransom.
The administration. meanwhile, insists that the payment was money the U.S. legally owed Iran.
During a news conference Thursday at the Pentagon, President Barack Obama said the payment “wasn’t some nefarious deal,” but rather a byproduct of achieving a nuclear accord with Iran that allowed the two governments to move on to other issues that divide them.
“It’s been interesting to watch this story surface,” the president said in response to a reporter’s question. “Some of you may recall we announced these payments in January many months ago. There wasn’t a secret. We announced them to all of you. … And at the time we explained that Iran had pressed a claim before an international tribunal about them recovering money of theirs that we had frozen; that, as a consequence of its working its way through the international tribunal, it was the assessment of our lawyers that we were now at a point where there was significant litigation risk and we could end up costing ourselves billions of dollars.
“It was their advice and suggestion that we settle. And that’s what these payments represent. And it wasn’t a secret. We were completely open with everybody about it. And it’s interesting to me how suddenly this became a story again,” Obama said.
To claim that the U.S. was paying ransom for hostages “defies logic,” the president said.
“What we have is the manufacturing of outrage in a story that we disclosed in January,” he added.
The president said the only bit of “news” surrounding the story at all is the fact the U.S. paid Iran in case.
“The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money,” Obama said.
“Maybe because it kind of feels like some spy novel or some crime novel because cash was exchanged. The reason cash was exchanged is because we don’t have a banking relationship with Iran which is precisely part of the pressure that we’re able to apply to them so that they would ship a whole bunch of nuclear material out and close down a bunch of facilities that, as I remember, two years ago, three years ago, five years ago, was people’s top fear and priority that we make sure Iran doesn’t have breakout nuclear capacity. They don’t. This worked,” the president said.
Whether the story will now die is difficult to say, The Trump campaign acknowledged its candidate was mistaken about the video Thursday afternoon. Trump, however, was reportedly still making the same claims about the video at a campaign rally later in the day.
- White Cops Who Shot|Black Man Sue L.A.
- U.S. Economy Added |255,000 Jobs in July