House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said Tuesday on Fox News that President Obama "paid a ransom" with his administration’s $1.7 billion payment to free hostages held by the Iranian government.
McCarthy made his statement the day after new information surfaced prompting Congressional leaders to claim the Obama administration may have laundered money to Iran for the release of American hostages.
The Treasury Department said over the weekend that the U.S. wired money to Tehran multiple times in the past year, undercutting claims the president has made about such payments, Politico reported Sunday
The United States made at least two separate payments to the Iranian government via wire transfer within the last 14 months, a Treasury Department spokesman confirmed Saturday, contradicting explanations from President Barack Obama that such payments were impossible.
"The Treasury Department said wire transfers were made, but the president said there was no system for that set up," Fox News host Bill Hemmer said to McCarthy. "Either he did not know or he was not telling the truth. Which one is it?"
"The administration is not being forthright with us about what’s going on. We had not found out about the money until afterward. They had the capability of wiring the money," McCarthy said. "But, no, they did exactly what Iran asked them to do, pay them in cash so they could fund terrorism around the world."
A recent Washington Free Beacon story details how the Obama administration was able to move three separate cash payments to Iran through the New York Federal Reserve and multiple European banks, the first of which coincided with Iran releasing four American hostages. These payments, which settled a decades-old failed arms deal between both countries, added up to $1.7 billion.
McCarthy said he believed the Obama administration caved to Iranian demands. He cited reports that Obama’s own Justice Department argued against the payments because of the precedent they would set for other countries who could hold Americans hostage.
McCarthy noted that this precedent set by the Obama administration could show other countries weakness and that America will pay ransom to retrieve hostages.
"What do you think this has done to the power of Iran. The authority they have now achieved?" Hemmer asked.
"America has taken a step back. And who has filled that void? Iran, Russia and North Korea," McCarthy said. "Why is North Korea testing more now after they watched the way the President handled Iran? It goes to show this administration will give more to its enemies than to its allies."