Politics

Trump Admits He was Wrong on 'Iran' Plane

Admits he saw video of hostage plane, not offloading of cash in Iran

 
In a rare about-face, Donald Trump on Friday admitted that he was wrong when he gave a detailed description of a "top secret" video showing American officials carrying bags of cash off a plane in Iran.
 
As evidence mounted that such a tape did not exist, the Republican presidential nominee tweeted — with an exclamation point — that he was actually referring to something else!
 

Trump's tweet sets the record straight on a claim he made at a campaign rally Wednesday, the day a Wall Street Journal article raised questions about American cash payments sent to Iran in January, as three Americans were released from Iranian prisons.
 
American officials have said that the payment, an overdue installment of money owed from a 1970s arms deal, and the prisoner release were part of a controversial nuclear deal reached with Iran in 2015. Critics have said the money was paid as ransom. Trump was the only one to say he saw it all unfold on a secret camera.
 

“I’ll never forget the scene this morning,” Trump told supporters in Daytona Beach. “Iran — I don’t think you’ve heard this anywhere but here — Iran provided all of that footage, the tape, of taking that money off that airplane.”

“They have a perfect tape, obviously done by a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane,” Trump continued. “It’s a military tape. It’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady.”

Trump's claim came as national intelligence officials confirmed that he and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would soon be allowed access to classified intelligence briefings, raising questions — first raised in the Huffington Post — about whether he was leaking privileged information.

But, as several media organizations reported, those briefings had not started yet. And even if they had, it is unlikely either candidate would have been shown a video like the one Trump described.

As Trump admitted Friday, the video he was talking about was actually the widely distributed footage showing the American prisoners arriving in Geneva after they were freed.

Trump has been repeatedly challenged on outlandish assertions he has made throughout his campaign, from his descriptions of — also nonexistent — television footage of Middle eastern immigrants celebrating in New Jersey as the twin towers fell on 9/11 to his allegations that rival Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When questioned about such claims, his strategy has frequently been to repeat them, or say that other people have said the same thing.

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