fact check
January 5, 2021

President Trump on Tuesday showed no signs of slowing down his push to overturn the presidential election, despite having no evidence to back up his allegations of widespread voter fraud. His most recent Twitter declaration was that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to reject "fraudulently chosen electors" during Wednesday's Electoral College certification. The claim was quickly shot down, with several folks pointing out that Pence's role in overseeing the process is largely ceremonial.

Some critics went even further, suggesting that not only is Trump's understanding of the limits placed upon the vice president's electoral count authority set in an 1887 law incorrect, but also that his words were akin to "an authoritarian despot" trying to hold on to power. Tim O'Donnell

December 30, 2020

President Trump is back with another far-fetched conspiracy theory about Georgia's election results.

As certified election results and multiple recounts proved, President-elect Joe Biden won the typically red state in the 2020 election. But that hasn't stopped Trump from launching lawsuits and lies aimed at invalidating the election results there, including early Wednesday morning, when he tweeted a provably false claim about the state's Republican secretary of state.

Brad Raffensperger, who runs the state's elections, has faced threats and wild conspiracy theories after refusing to listen to Trump and his allies' attempts to overturn the election results. A commentator on the far-right network Newsmax, Dick Morris, tried to draw up another one Tuesday night, this time claiming Raffensperger's brother worked for the Chinese technology company Huawei. Trump repeated the claim in a Wednesday tweet, implying the alleged relation compromised the secretary of state's election integrity.

Someone named Ron Raffensperger does have a high-level spot at Huawei. But just like thousands of people who share last names in this country, he and the secretary of state aren't brothers.

Trump's continued conspiracy-mongering comes just days before Georgians return to the polls for a runoff election that will determine the balance of power in the Senate. The president and his supporters have tried to undermine confidence in Georgia's election system, with some even encouraging Republicans not to vote in what they're claiming is an insecure election. Kathryn Krawczyk

Update 11:45 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to clarify that Dick Morris made the claim while appearing as a commentator on Newsmax, and to remove an earlier report that Raffensperger has no brother.

December 16, 2020

President Trump is once again trying to discredit his former cybersecurity expert Christopher Krebs.

After Krebs, who Trump fired last month after he debunked claims and conspiracies voter fraud in 2020 election, testified for the Senate, the president tweeted that Krebs was "excoriated" by Republicans on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. But as a publicly available livestream of the hearing made clear, that's just not what happened.

It's true that parts of Krebs' hearing got a little heated, like when committee chair Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) inflated claims of election fraud and ranking member Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) called him out for "running down a rabbit hole" of "false allegations."

But the closest thing to an attack on Krebs came when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the former official didn't have standing to claim this was "the most secure election in history," at least when it comes to domestic threats to the election. There were claims of fraud spread in Trump supporters' lawsuits, but Attorney General William Barr affirmed they didn't significantly affect the election.

And overall, Krebs spent most of the hearing doing what got him fired: making it clear there was no evidence widespread fraud or illegal voting took place in the 2020 election and altered its results. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 15, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger would like Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler to re-evaluate their priorities.

On Monday, the two senators facing re-election runoffs in January tried once again to discourage confidence in the upcoming election, demanding an updated list of registered voters before early voting began. But as Raffensperger, a Republican, pointed out in a Tuesday press release, Loeffler and Perdue already had the information they were looking for.

"Though I've told the Republican Party to stop focusing on me and instead direct their energies to winning the Senate runoffs, clearly they haven't listened," Raffensperger said in the release. He went on to call it "embarrassing" that Perdue and Loeffler not only don't know the information they want is publicly available, but also that it's in the hands of their campaigns as well. A National Republican Senatorial Committee representative confirmed the campaigns have the lists.

Raffensperger has refused to play into President Trump and other Republicans' false claims of widespread voter fraud and election manipulation amid the 2020 election, instead affirming President-elect Joe Biden's win there and receiving threats for doing so. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 10, 2020

President Trump and his allies are filing a torrent of legal challenges in a handful of states that President-elect Joe Biden appears to have won, likely by margins that would survive a recount, seeking to find "fraud" or "irregularities" that could convince state or federal judges to disqualify large enough numbers of ballots to swing the election to Trump. They have had no success so far, mostly due to their inability to provide evidence of fraud that holds up in court.

For example, dead people did not elect Biden in Michigan, ballots Trump's team challenged in Nevada turned out to have largely been cast legally by military service members stationed out of state, and Pennsylvania election officials did find at least one case of voter fraud, a Republican man who allegedly illegally cast a ballot for his late mother. CNN's John Avlon fact-checked some other GOP claims Tuesday morning.

But a Politico/Morning Consult poll Monday found that Trump's baseless allegations have had an effect: 70 percent of Republicans say they don't believe the 2020 election was free and fair, versus 35 percent of GOP voters who held similar beliefs before the election. Conservative commentator Erick Erickson tried to pop the bubble Monday, explaining why his fellow conservatives are flogging a dead horse on vote fraud.

Erickson ran through the terrible math for Trump in Michigan, then pointed out that Trump would have to overcome near-impossible obstacles in several different states. Besides, "it is not enough to show voter fraud," he added. "The standard is voter fraud to an extent that casts doubt on the election," and that "is very tough."

It isn't clear what Trump's end game is here, but it's pretty obvious he isn't finally, after years of allegations, going to be able to blame fake voters for his loss. Peter Weber

August 27, 2020

It turns out the Republican National Convention's footage of riots in "Biden's America" is neither Biden's nor America.

The Trump campaign has been trying for weeks to pin violence and riots on Democratic nominee Joe Biden, despite the fact that they're happening under President Trump's watch. In a video from the RNC posted Monday, the party's example of that purported left-wing destruction actually came from Spain, Catalonian public broadcaster CCMA first reported and BuzzFeed News verified.

The RNC segment with the mislocated clip features an interview with two entrepreneurs and Trump supporters. They discuss their small businesses, women in politics, and then pivot to what they expect from a Biden presidency. Apparently, it's what has gone on in a few places in America under Trump: "The rioting, the crime," they say, calling it "a taste of Biden's America." Clips of four fires on city streets play as they speak: One from Brooklyn, one from Chicago, one from New York, and then one from Barcelona, BuzzFeed News reports. That clip from Spain was taken in October 2019, and can be found on a website selling stock video footage.

Peaceful protests against police brutality in the United States have at times turned violent, most recently in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a 17-year-old Trump supporter has been charged with shooting and killing two protesters. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 20, 2020

President Trump's claims of ignorance to the private border wall could not be further from the truth.

On Thursday, four organizers of a campaign to build a private border wall were arrested on fraud charges for allegedly rerouting crowdfunded dollars to their own pockets. Trump has since pulled out a familiar line and claimed he knew nothing about the project or the people working on it, even though that's incredibly and obviously false.

For starters, Stephen Bannon, who is accused of taking more than $1 million to fund his "lavish" lifestyle, was literally Trump's chief strategist for his first few months in the White House. Timothy Shea was also arrested Thursday, and a year ago, his wife tweeted that she had met with Trump to discuss the project, HuffPost reports.

Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. has been a very public supporter of the project, calling it "private enterprise at its finest." A $75 donation to We Build the Wall would once secure you a signed copy of Trump Jr.'s book that just came out this year, and the group boasted that its foreman met with Trump Jr. once. A spokesperson for the Trump Organization claimed Trump Jr. didn't know he was quoted on We Build the Wall's website, and that he only spoke on their behalf once.

But it's not just Trump's family that supported We Build the Wall. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf recently visited its build site and met with board members, HuffPost notes. The former head of Trump's voter fraud commission Kris Kobach served on We Build the Wall's board, and once said Trump approved of it.

These are just a small handful of the ways We Build the Wall has tied itself to Trump in an attempt to prove its legitimacy. Read more about the campaign's Trump connections at HuffPost. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 17, 2020

President Trump on Monday once again waded into the mail-in voting debate, suggesting without evidence that drop boxes paved the way for election fraud. He asserted it's not clear who would be collecting the ballots in a scenario this November that allows for universal vote-by-mail, which Trump opposes. His critics were quick to dispense of the unsubstantiated claim, however, deeming it "false" and a "brazen lie."

On the contrary, ProPublica's Jessica Huseman and CNN's Marshall Cohen noted that drop boxes have been in play for quite some time and are quite secure, with round-the-clock surveillance. Both Republicans and Democrats officials have overseen their use in past elections, they said, and there's no evidence to support the president's concerns. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads