Republican nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday described a video of the U.S. delivering cash to Iran, but the video may be classified — or it may not exist at all, at least not in the way that Trump described it.
At a rally in Daytona Beach, Trump suggested that the information he was about to give the crowd was not widely available: "I don't think you've heard this anywhere but here," he said.
He went on to describe a "top secret" "military tape" of the U.S. unloading money off an airplane, supposedly as payment for a previously unsettled weapons sale between the two countries. Trump alleged that the sum was $400 million, in cash, and linked it to the recent Iran nuclear deal.
Trump, as well as his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton, became eligible to receive classified briefings upon becoming a party's nominee, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
But those briefings may not have started yet, according to Trump's campaign manager and NBC News.
During his rally, Trump made a joke about the "paparazzi" not being in Iran, then went on to describe the particulars: "They have a perfect tape, obviously done by a government camera, and the tape is of the people taking the money off the plane. ... It’s a tape that was a perfect angle, nice and steady.”
There's some dispute over whether the tape — which Trump said "Iran sent us" — is actually a publicly available tape that was recorded in Switzerland, but the Huffington Post explained why that adds even more confusion:
UPDATE: 9:11 p.m. ― A video clip shown on Fox News Wednesday morning appeared to show U.S. citizens arriving in Geneva on Jan. 17. The video was clearly marked “Geneva, Switzerland.”
If this is the “top secret” Iran video that Trump claims to have seen, it would mean that Trump told his audience a half-dozen things about the tape that aren’t accurate. Contrary to what Trump said about the video he claimed to have seen, this video was not shot in Iran, it did not show the exchange of cash, it was not “top secret,” it was not “a military tape,” and it was not “provided by Iran.” Nor was it released to “embarrass the United States,” as Trump repeatedly claimed.
On the contrary, the safe return of U.S. citizens to neutral Switzerland was widely viewed as a victory for international diplomacy and U.S. foreign policy.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Washington Post that the video Trump was talking about was not classified, "merely the b-roll footage included in every broadcast."
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