Tuesday 23 October 2018

Trump launches Twitter attack over payment to Iran

Congressional Republicans decried the payment as ransom, which the Obama administration denied.

President Donald Trump (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
President Donald Trump (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

President Donald Trump has launched another attack on Twitter, this time over an Obama-era payment to Iran.

President Trump said in a tweet that he has “never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars (£1.2 billion) in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!”

The Obama administration transferred the money to Iran in 2016, using non-US currency.

The administration said it was the settlement of a decades-old arbitration claim between the countries.

An initial payment was delivered the same day Tehran agreed to release four American prisoners.

The Obama administration eventually acknowledged the cash was used as leverage until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran.

Congressional Republicans decried the payment as ransom, which the Obama administration denied.

Mr Trump insisted that he never denied Russia’s election meddling and declared that “they are laughing their asses off in Moscow”.

While the nearby town of Parkland, Florida, continues to mourn a deadly school shooting that left 17 dead, Russia was clearly at the top of the president’s mind. The administration has focused on the fact that the Russian effort began in 2014, before Mr Trump announced his White House run.

He said the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Representative Adam Schiff — calling him “Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control” — “is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election”.

Mr Trump appeared to be referring to an interview Mr Schiff did in which he said the previous administration should have set up a “more forceful deterrent” against foreign adversaries considering cyber attacks.

Mr Obama in late 2016 defended his administration’s response to the Russian meddling, also saying he had confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin that September, telling him to “cut it out”.

Mr Trump also argued that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election”, adding: “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

The president has repeatedly expressed scepticism over the Russian election meddling. In November, he said he believed the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that there had been meddling. But Mr Trump also said he believed Mr Putin is sincere when he says Russia did not interfere.

Mr Trump also argued that the ongoing investigations are just what the Russians want, saying: “Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”

Press Association

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