Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeated a claim he watched a “top secret” video showing Iranian officials receiving money from the U.S. in exchange for five prisoners, even after one of his staffers admitted no such video exists. This is Trump speaking on the campaign trail on Wednesday in Florida.
Donald Trump: “I’ll never forget the scene this morning. And remember this: 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. Right? $400 million in cash. How does a president do that?”
Trump repeated the claim on Thursday in Maine. But then, on Friday, Trump tweeted, “The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran!” Some Republicans, including Trump, have said the money was a ransom for five prisoners, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, released by Iran. The Obama administration said Wednesday the $400 million in cash paid to Iran in January was a pre-planned transfer that was part of the landmark nuclear deal. The money has been owed to Iran since the 1970s, when the U.S. refused to send weapons Iran had already paid for following the Iranian revolution.
Ten thousand people have signed a petition circulated by California Congressmember Karen Bass calling on mental health professionals to determine whether Donald Trump is fit to be president. Bass says Trump exhibits all the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. The petition reads: “It is entirely possible that some individuals with NPD can successfully function in many careers, but not the Presidency of the United States. We deserve to have the greatest understanding of Mr. Trump’s mental health status before we head to the polls.”
Meanwhile, a group of military veterans is calling on Arizona Senator John McCain to withdraw his endorsement of Donald Trump after Trump attacked the Khans, the parents of a U.S. Army captain who died serving in Iraq in 2004. McCain served in the U.S. Navy and was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The veterans announced their initiative at a press conference Thursday in Washington, D.C. This is Marine veteran Alexander McCoy.
Alexander McCoy: “Senator McCain, this is my message to you. You served and you sacrificed in ways Donald Trump cannot begin to understand. You have heard enough, too. Now, I am joining, and I am proud to join, hundreds of—a hundred thousand veterans, military family members and voters across this country in demanding that you, John McCain, act. We cannot afford Donald Trump to be our commander-in-chief.”
Trump has previously attacked McCain and his military record, saying, “I like people who weren’t captured.” McCain has so far refused to retract his endorsement of Trump. But he became evasive on Wednesday when asked by a reporter about the idea of Trump having control of nuclear weapons. This clip starts with the reporter.
Reporter: “Are you comfortable with Donald Trump possibly having control of the nuclear arsenal?”
Sen. John McCain: “Anyone that the people of this country choose to be the commander-in-chief and the president of the United States, therefore, can lead this country and will lead in a responsible fashion—anyone who is elected president fairly in this country. And that’s the way that our democratic system works.”
Multiple polls suggest Hillary Clinton has gained in popularity over Donald Trump since the conventions last month. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Clinton leading Trump by 9 points in November’s election. Meanwhile, a McClatchy-Marist poll that had Clinton leading by 3 points before the conventions now shows her leading Trump by 15 points.
The owners of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino said Wednesday the Atlantic City landmark will close after a 34-day workers’ strike. Donald Trump opened the Taj Mahal 26 years ago, but it now belongs to Trump’s friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn. Icahn said the strike was costing him millions of dollars a month. Even after the closing was announced, workers continued to picket, demanding reinstatement of health, pension and other benefits eliminated during 2014 bankruptcy proceedings. This is Diana Hussein from the union UNITE HERE.
Diana Hussein: “The plan is to continue to hold down the line and continue to fight for what was taken away and to continue to fight for the healthcare and continue to fight and stand up to the billionaire bully Carl Icahn.”
The Summer Olympic Games begin today in Rio de Janeiro against a backdrop of political turmoil in Brazil. A Brazilian Senate committee voted Thursday to put suspended President Dilma Rousseff on trial for breaking budget laws. The entire Senate will vote Tuesday on whether to move forward with a trial, which could lead to Rousseff’s impeachment. Lawmakers voted to suspend Rousseff in May in what many consider a coup by her right-wing opponents. Leaked transcripts show at least one official plotted to oust Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation targeting him. This is Rousseff’s lawyer, José Eduardo Cardozo.
José Eduardo Cardozo: “Do I think it has been a fair trial, based on all relevant evidence? In summary, no. Unfortunately, what dominated were affirmations which were not based on fact. Everything is in place for her to leave. That is not what was predicted, but unfortunately that was the majority.”
A jury has recommended a sentence of two-and-a-half years for Virginia police officer Stephen Rankin, who was convicted of shooting an unarmed African-American man he had suspected of shoplifting. The killing of William Chapman was Officer Rankin’s second fatal shooting of an unarmed man.
In Britain, Black Lives Matter movement demonstrators have blocked a road leading to London’s Heathrow Airport and held protests in other cities. In addition to drawing attention to British police discrimination against communities of color, demonstrators were marking the fifth anniversary of the shooting death by police of Mark Duggan. Duggan’s killing sparked protests and the worst civil unrest in the U.K. in decades. The officer who shot Duggan claimed he had pointed a gun at police, but a jury decided Duggan was unarmed when he was shot.
The Israeli government has accused a representative of a U.S. evangelical Christian charity of providing millions in aid money to Hamas. Israel arrested Mohammad El Halabi, World Vision’s manager of operations in Gaza, last month. He has been held incommunicado by Israeli authorities since then and accused of funneling more than $50 million to Hamas in his decade working for World Vision. World Vision has denied the allegations and said that the amount of money Israel claims was given to Hamas exceeds World Vision’s total budget for Gaza during that time. Hamas has also denied the Israeli government’s claim.
On Thursday, the parole board at Guantánamo said prisoner Hayl Aziz al-Maythali no longer posed a danger, and cleared him for release. The 39-year-old Yemeni was once accused of having plotted the 9/11 attacks and had been considered one of the prison’s “forever prisoners”—those least likely to ever be released. Thirty-four of the remaining 76 detainees at Guantánamo have now been cleared for release. Some have been cleared for years.
Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association will vote today on whether to roll back some of its new rules prohibiting its members from participating in interrogations that could lead to torture. The APA is the world’s largest professional association of psychologists. In a historic vote last year, the APA banned its members from such work after an independent investigation documented how the APA leadership actively colluded with the Pentagon and the CIA torture programs. Click here to see all our past coverage of the APA, including the 2015 vote.
And tomorrow is the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The bombing killed 140,000 people and seriously injured another 100,000. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 74,000 people. In May, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. He spoke at a memorial for victims of the attack, but disappointed some by failing to offer a formal apology for the bombing. The U.S. is the only country ever to have dropped an atomic bomb.