Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer reacted on Wednesday to the revelation that the Obama administration paid Iran $400 million in cash calling it “illegal,” “money laundering,” and “scandalous.”
The payment of $400 million in cash in January in an unmarked cargo plane in the middle of the night at the same time Iran was releasing four American hostages was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The State Department reported the payment was part of the settlement of an Iranian claim against the United States dating to 1979.
“Senior Justice Department officials objected to sending a plane loaded with cash to Tehran at the same time that Iran released four imprisoned Americans, but their objections were overruled by the State Department, according to people familiar with the discussions,” the Journal reported.
Krauthammer responded on Fox News’ Special Report on Wednesday, “Of course the Justice Department objected. It was illegal. It isn’t only the optics. It isn’t only that they are just looking ridiculous in denying that it was a quid pro quo. Obviously, it wasn’t a coincidence.”
“The reason that it was objected to by Justice, there is a statute that prohibits us from engaging in Iran, dealing with dollars. So, they had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and euros and ship it over to Iran. If a private company had done this, this is called money laundering,” the conservative commentator continued. “The CEO would be in jail right now.” (See video below.)
Fellow Fox News panelist A.B. Stoddard agreed with Krauthammer that the State Department’s explanation does not hold up. “The fact that the Justice Department objected to this saying, ‘Look at the optics. You have this package of engagement where you’re dealing with the Iran deal, you’re going to pay back this old arms deal money, and you’re getting the hostages back,’” the Real Clear Politics associate editor stated.
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