January 7, 2019

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sat down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on Sunday, and she made the White House's case that Democrats, not President Trump, were the intransigent party in the negotiations to end the government shutdown. Trump isn't demanding just a wall, she argued, but the wall is a huge part of the "border security" the Democrats say they support. Wallace seemed skeptical, and he took special issue with the idea, put forward by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, that thousands of "special interest aliens" are stopped at the southern border each year.

"Special interest aliens are just people who have come from countries that have ever produced a terrorist, they're not terrorists themselves," Wallace noted, adding that the State Department says "quote, 'there was no credible evidence' of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico." Sanders replied that "we know that, roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border." Wallace cut her off, saying that statistic refers to people detained at airports.

"It's by air, it's by land, it's by sea, it's all of the above," Sanders said. "But they're not coming across the southern border, Sarah," Wallace said, "they're coming and they're being stopped at airports."

Sanders also suggested Trump really believes he can declare an emergency to build the wall using money earmarked for the military, a controversial idea also cautiously promoted by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on CNN's State of the Union. But later on that show, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called that idea a desperate "nonstarter." Look, he told Jake Tapper, "if Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion-dollar wall on the border." Watch below. Peter Weber

October 25, 2018

A super PAC supporting President Trump, Future 45, is running an ad claiming that a vote for "any Democrat" is a vote for "socialism," "undefended open borders," "immediate tax increases," and "100 percent government-run health care." PolitiFact had a very concise response:

And, since these very allegations are being used by a lot of Republicans against their Democratic opponents this year, PolitiFact also had a longer fact-check. The short version is that no, no Democratic candidates are socialists (not even Sen. Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez); none of them support undefended open borders; Democrats won't have any power to raise taxes; and the most extreme Democratic health-care plan, Medicare for All, "doesn't call for a fully government-run health-care system." You can read and, if you want, argue with the longer version at PolitiFact. Peter Weber

July 17, 2017

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer returned to the lectern Monday to deliver a defense of Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting in June 2016 with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer. Spicer insisted at the press briefing that "there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe" that Trump Jr.'s meeting was not focused on Russian adoption policies.

Except, of course, Trump Jr.'s own emails: Last week, Trump Jr. published his emails with publicist Rob Goldstone setting up the meeting, in which Goldstone explicitly said the lawyer claimed to have compromising information on Hillary Clinton that would help his father's chances in the presidential election.

Just hours before Spicer made the claim, President Trump tweeted that his son "attended in order to get info on an opponent." Becca Stanek

January 5, 2017

One of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's more memorable lines in his interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity is that "a 14-year-old" could have hacked the gmail account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — it was the phrase Donald Trump used when he cited the Assange interview Wednesday morning to cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's consensus that Russia hacked Podesta's emails. Trump fans in the conservative media have latched on to Assange's evidence to back up the claim: "We published several Podesta emails which shows Podesta responding to a phishing email. Now, how did they respond? Podesta gave out that his password was the word 'password.'" It's a good anecdote — Trump boosters ran with it:

But Podesta's password was not "password," according to the emails published by WikiLeaks. One stolen 2015 email from Podesta's assistant did list "p@ssw0rd" as the login for his Windows 8 computer, but the only password tied to his gmail account was a more-respectable combination of the word "runner" and four digits. The actual way hackers broke into Podesta's email account is bad enough — an unfortunate typo by Clinton's tech adviser and Podesta's decision to use the corrupt link in the phishing email instead of the legitimate one sent by Clinton tech support. There's no need to make stuff up. Or as Sen. Lindsey Graham puts it:

Assange's steady release of Podesta's emails in the campaign's final months kept "Clinton" and "email" in the news, and while there were no bombshells, the emails did lead to a gunman shooting up a D.C. pizza restaurant. WikiLeaks did not publish any emails from Trump's campaign or the Republican Party. Peter Weber

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