fact check
March 4, 2019

President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday in National Harbor, Maryland was a whirlwind, with the president proudly going "off script."

The decision to ad-lib resulted in 104 "false or misleading claims" during the two-hour speech, raising Trump's overall tally of such claims to 9,014 since he entered the Oval Office 773 days ago, per The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" database.

The CPAC speech was prolific, but Saturday only registers as the fourth-highest day for "fishy" claims during Trump's presidency. Still, it boosted his daily average for 2019 up to 22 claims per day, up from 5.6 during his first year in office and 16.5 in 2018.

Among the falsehoods the Post caught during the CPAC speech, were Trump's claims that the proposed Green New Deal resolution seeks to ban air travel and energy, and that if the U.S. relies on wind power and the wind stops blowing, there will be no electricity. He also rehashed some old false favorites — that his administration passed the largest tax cut in history, the border wall is under construction, and the U.S. economy is in the best shape it has ever been. Read the full breakdown at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

February 26, 2019

On Monday morning's Fox & Friends, Donald Trump Jr. dismissed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into his father's campaign, arguing that Mueller and New York federal prosecutors have found "no actual crimes," but instead have put "incredible pressure" on "regular guys" with regular incomes to make them "slip up on say something incorrectly." CNN's Jake Tapper took issue with Trump's assertions, noting on his show Monday evening that, among other things, those "regular guys" include Michael Cohen, the president's longtime lawyer and fixer; former Trump campaign heads Paul Manafort and Rick Gates; and Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

"Just a bunch of regular guys," Tapper deadpanned. He ran through Mueller's stats: 199 criminal charges against 37 people and companies, four people sent to jail, and counting. And no actual crimes? "Well, lying to Congress is a crime, lying to the FBI is a crime, witness tampering is a crime, violating campaign finance laws is a crime," he said. "Criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States by interfering in the U.S. election — which Mueller is charging several Russians with having done — that's definitely a crime. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, that's is a crime. Bank fraud, that's a crime. That's just some of them. And as far as we know, Mueller's not even done."

Despite setting up an iffy meeting with Russians, "Donald Trump Jr. has not been charged with anything, and he may make it through this entire Russia investigation without being charged with anything," justice reporter Laura Jarrett noted. "But all of the crimes that you just listed are real crimes — just ask Manafort and Gates and [George] Papadopolous and Flynn, who are all going to prison." Political correspondent Sara Murray ran through some of the crimes we may never know the details about. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 12, 2019

Early on Tuesday, President Trump expressed that he was not happy with the preliminary bipartisan deal in place to avoid another government shutdown. But he also added that he was "thrilled" with where things were going overall and that "the bottom line is we're building a lot of wall."

Fox News anchor Shep Smith quickly dismantled this notion, reminding viewers that the president has "been saying this for a while now, but it's simply not true." Instead, Smith said that workers "have replaced and repaired sections of the existing wall and fences, but so far they have not built anything new."

He added that the new deal — if it passes through Congress and the president signs it — "could create 55 miles of new fencing and border," but no wall. Smith did say that there is "some wiggle room" in the new deal "that could allow the president to add more money for his proposed wall and more money for detaining people."

Smith also fact-checked Trump's declaration at his rally in El Paso on Monday evening that the city's wall "turned a violent city safe." Smith pointed out that violent crime was at a historically low level in the Texas city when Congress authorized the El Paso section of steel fence in 2006. Watch Smith's full debunking at Mediaite. Tim O'Donnell

February 11, 2019

President Trump will rally supporters in El Paso Monday evening, where he is expected to use the city as part of his case for building more walls along America's southern border.

"The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and [was] considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities," Trump claimed in his State of the Union address last week. "Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities. Simply put, walls work, and walls save lives."

This may be a compelling argument, but the facts don't support it. As is the case across the country, violent crime has markedly declined in El Paso for decades after peaking in the early 1990s. It was already historically low when Congress approved new border wall construction in 2006 and when new barriers were built in El Paso in 2008 and 2009. In fact, NBC reports, violent crime in the city actually increased during and after those years of wall construction.

Speaking on CNN Saturday evening, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) said Trump must have been given "misinformation" for his SOTU claim about El Paso's past crime rates, because it was "not factually correct." Should Trump repeat his claim at the rally, Margo said, he would "absolutely" correct him. Bonnie Kristian

December 17, 2018

Rudy Giuliani is convinced Special Counsel Robert Mueller won't get to question President Trump. Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano has a reality check.

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday, Trump's lawyer declared Mueller's investigation a "joke" and said the special counsel would get to question the president "over my dead body." But Napolitano, who serves as Fox News' legal analyst, told Fox News' Bill Hemmer on Monday that wasn't quite true.

While Giuliani's message was intended to be a message to Mueller, "Rudy knows that, one way or another, Mueller gets to question the president," Napolitano said. It might be "one-on-one with Rudy whispering answers in the president's ear," Napolitano said, or it could be "before a grand jury without Rudy there," he said.

Monday's comments mark the latest in Napolitano's skeptical streak on Fox News airwaves. On Wednesday, Napolitano told Fox News' Shep Smith that federal prosecutors "have evidence" that Trump "committed a felony by ordering and paying [his former lawyer] Michael Cohen to break the law." And on Thursday, things got a little more harsh, with Napolitano going on a fact-checking spree against hosts and guests on Fox & Friends. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 30, 2018

President Trump says it's legal for him to end America's constitutionally-guaranteed birthright citizenship. Legal scholars and even members of his own party definitely disagree.

Trump confirmed Monday to Axios that he wants to issue an executive order ending America's guarantee of citizenship to all people born in the country. That's explicitly unconstitutional, and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) didn't hesitate to let Trump know in a Tuesday tweet. The congressman has maintained his GOP roots while "distancing" himself from the president on immigration, NPR recently noted. And in his tweet, Curbelo continued to call for "broad immigration reform" that "secure[s]" America and "reaffirms our wonderful tradition as a national of immigrants."

Trump used to think "you needed a constitutional amendment" to end birthright citizenship, but now says he learned "you don't," he told Axios Monday. Despite what Trump claims, legal experts say the 14th Amendment ensures the president is wrong. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 5, 2018

After most of the Philadelphia Eagles opted out of a traditional Super Bowl victory visit to the White House, Trump scrapped the whole thing for a national anthem extravaganza instead.

It's blatant retaliation for NFL players kneeling during the national anthem — except the Eagles never kneeled.

So when Fox News reported the cancellation over footage of Eagles players kneeling, the players were quick to punt back. Tight end Zach Ertz clarified that they weren't kneeling in protest, they were kneeling in prayer, and called the manipulative usage of the images "propaganda."

Defensive end Chris Long went even further, implying that Trump is Fox News' "boss."

And wide receiver Torrey Smith concisely dispelled with the notion that any Eagle kneeled during the 2017-18 regular season.

Even if players weren't kneeling, Trump tweeted that staying in the locker room during the anthem was just as bad. (The Eagles didn't do that either.) Kathryn Krawczyk

Update 11:01 a.m. ET: Fox News issued an apology for using the "unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer" in its segment about the canceled White House visit. You can read their full statement here.

May 24, 2018

President Trump and his allies have spent the past week stoking unfounded fears that the Deep State planted a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump didn't let up on Thursday, tweeting:

Trump was immediately called out on his lies. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper actually said the opposite of what Trump claims, Politifact reports: Clapper's exact quote when asked "was the FBI spying on Trump's campaign" was, "No, they were not. They were spying on — a term I don't particularly like — but on what the Russians were doing."

There is no publicly available evidence that there was any politically motivated spying on Trump's campaign. Rather, an FBI informant spoke with two Trump campaign advisers in 2016 after being alerted to suspicious contacts with Russia. "Accusations that the FBI was 'spying' on the Trump campaign — rather than spying on foreign spies, which is its job — erase the important distinctions between counterintelligence and criminal investigations," argued Asha Rangappa at The Washington Post.

Many critics believe Trump is intentionally branding the intelligence community as partisan as a means of discrediting Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Read how Trump's strategy might just be crazy enough to work here at The Week. Jeva Lange

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