FOX 32 NEWS - President Obama says $400 million in cash delivered to Iran last winter was not a ransom payment, and that it was disclosed at the time.
But now, critics are complaining it looked very suspicious because it coincided with Iran's release of several American prisoners.
Those critics note some Iranian officials suggested the cash was a ransom. The President on Thursday reiterated what his Administration said at the time last January, that It was part of a settlement to a multi-billion dollar financial dispute with Iran dating back four decades, which was part of a controversial deal to reduce Iran's nuclear program.
“We are so strict in maintaining sanctions. And we do not have banking relationship with Iran, that we couldn't send 'em a check. And we could not wire the money,” Obama said. “Which is precisely part of the pressure we were able to apply to them, so that they would ship a whole bunch of nuclear material out and close down a bunch of facilities.”
To critics complaining about the "appearance" of a ransom payment, the President noted he meets regularly with relatives of Americans being held hostage overseas.
“But those families know that we have a policy that we don't pay ransom. And the notion that we would somehow start now in this high-profile way and announce it to the world, even as we're looking into the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage and say to them that, "We don't pay ransom!" defies logic,” Obama said.
The President's news conference came as the woman he's endorsed to replace him is surging in a series of new voter opinion surveys.
In addition to a FOX News poll that found Hillary Clinton with a national lead over Donald Trump of 49% to 39%, she also leads in must-win swing states:.
In Pennsylvania, it's 49%-38%.
In Florida, 48% to 42%.
In Michigan, 41% to 32%.
New Hampshire, tied a few weeks ago, is now a blowout: 47% to 32%.
As for Trump's claim that this November's election may be "rigged" against him, the President was visibly irritated.
“I don't even know where to start on answering this question. Of course the elections will not be rigged. What does that mean? The federal government doesn't run the election process,” Obama said. “If Mr. Trump is suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that is being propagated across the country…That's ridiculous. That doesn't make any sense,” Obama said.
Thousands of local officials are the ones who actually run elections and count the votes. As for those polls, his campaign chairman says they expected Trump to slump after the Democratic convention and it's no cause to worry.