Evan Vucci / AP
For the second straight day, Donald Trump claimed at a campaign rally Thursday to have watched a “top secret” video showing the US transferring huge piles of cash to Iran, despite his own campaign denying such video exists.
The Republican presidential nominee first told the story at a rally Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he shared his outrage that the US had sent by plane $400 million to Iran in January as the country released US hostages. The White House has said the payment related to an old arms deal and was a previously negotiated settlement. It was announced publicly in January.
“Iran provided all of that footage, the tape of taking that money off that airplane,” Trump told supporters.
“Now here's the amazing thing, over there, where that plane landed, top secret, they don't have a lot of paparazzi, you know the paparazzi doesn't do so well over there, right?” Trump continued. “And they have a perfect tape, obviously a government camera, and the tape is of people taking money off the plane.
An unidentified man leaves a Swiss jet in Geneva, Switzerland on Jan 17, 2016. A US government plane waited nearby to bring back to the US the men released from imprisonment in Iran the day before.
Laurent Cipriani / AP
“That means that in order to embarrass us further, Iran sent us the tapes. It’s a military tape, it’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady, nobody getting nervous because they’re going to be shot because they're shooting a picture of money pouring off a plane.”
The story about a secret video from the Iranian government initially raised fears that Trump was releasing classified information, potentially given to him in security briefings now that he is the Republican nominee for president. No publicly available video showed the U.S. delivering the cash to Iran.
The claim, however, was debunked Thursday morning by Trump's own staff, who confirmed to the Washington Post what Trump actually saw: footage of Americans involved in the prisoner swap with Iran walking off a plane in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Yes,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Post. “Merely the b-roll footage included in every broadcast.” The footage from January was replayed as TV news outlets such as Fox News this week reported on the cash payment.
Though the Trump campaign statement seemed to settle any questions about what footage Trump actually saw, the Republican nominee again claimed Thursday he watched video showing piles of cash delivered to Iran.
“I woke up yesterday, and I saw $400 million, different currencies, they probably don’t want our currency, different currencies. Four hundred million dollars being flown to Iran,” Trump said to crowds in Portland, Maine.
“And you know, it was interesting, because a tape was made, right, you saw that with the airplane coming in? Nice plane,” he continued. “And the airplane coming in, and the money coming off, I guess, right? That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians. And you know why the tape was given us? Because they want to embarrass our country.”
While Trump did not see a secret video provided to the U.S. by the Iranian government, President Obama on Thursday confirmed that Trump and his democratic rival Hillary Clinton would soon be receiving security briefings so they would be prepared to lead the US on Day 1 if elected.
“They have been told these are classified briefings,” Obama said. “If they want to be president, they’ve got to start acting like president and that means being able to receive these briefings and not spread it around.”