not buying it
August 12, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, expressed his doubts over Russia's claim that it has quickly created a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that his health ministry has approved a vaccine after just two months of trials. It "works effectively enough," he said, adding that his daughter has received a dose.

During a virtual panel discussion with National Geographic on Tuesday, Fauci said he hopes the Russians have "actually, definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt they've done that." There are several vaccine candidates being tested in the U.S. right now, Fauci continued, and "if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people, or giving them something that doesn't work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to. But that's not the way it works."

The Russian vaccine has not gone through Phase III testing, when scientists compare the vaccine to a placebo in tens of thousands of people, The New York Times reports. This is not the time to cut corners, Fauci said, and Americans need to know that the U.S. isn't rushing to produce a vaccine "because we have a way of doing things in this country that we care about safety." Worldwide, there are more than 20 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with at least 737,000 people dying of the virus. Catherine Garcia

April 9, 2019

Meghan McCain finds President Trump's statement on National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day mighty disingenuous.

Trump on Tuesday tweeted a statement honoring "Americans captured and imprisoned by foreign powers while carrying out their duties to defend this great Nation." For obvious reasons, McCain was not buying this, writing that "no one believes" he actually cares about prisoners of war.

McCain, of course, was referencing Trump's infamous comments about her late father, John McCain, who was captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967 and not released until 1973. Trump had said when he was a candidate for president in 2015 that McCain is "not a war hero" because "I like people who weren't captured."

Despite being roundly criticized for this statement at the time, Trump never apologized for it and has continued to mock McCain even after his death from brain cancer last year. Last month, he repeatedly tore into McCain nearly every day for an entire week, to which Meghan McCain said that the president's life is "pathetic." Brendan Morrow

April 4, 2019

President Trump once again said on Wednesday he's not "inclined" to release his tax returns because he says they're under audit — but even Fox News believes his hands are probably tied at this point.

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has formally requested Trump's tax returns in a letter to the IRS, but the president batted down the suggestion, per The New York Times.

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano on Thursday concluded that an audit doesn't matter, saying the "obscure statute" Neal cited says the committee can ask for anyone's tax returns without needing a reason. He also said that Trump's taxes being under audit would "not be a defense," and he wasn't sure what the legal argument against releasing them would be, per Mediaite.

Fox's analyst was in agreement with one over on MSNBC, with Jake Sherman saying on Morning Joe that it's the law that the committee "has the unilateral right to obtain any American's tax returns." Sherman noted that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can perhaps "put up some roadblocks" by saying Trump is under audit, but he noted that "this is the law." MSNBC's Willie Geist, meanwhile, mocked the very idea that Trump is still under audit after years, quipping, "This is the longest audit in the history of audits, if in fact there is an audit." Earlier, Hardball's Chris Matthews said the situation is "black and white" because the law requires Trump to turn over his taxes when requested.

Those on Fox and MNSBC didn't agree, however, whether this is a good thing, with Napolitano expressing his outrage at this law he says he didn't even know existed until this week and fretting, "they did this to Donald Trump, they could do it to any of us." Brendan Morrow

October 16, 2018

One of President Trump's closest allies in the Senate is not buying his theory about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that he believes the missing Washington Post columnist was murdered and that it was likely "orchestrated at the highest levels of government," per CBS News' Alan He.

Trump suggested on Monday that "rogue killers" may have been responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance, but Graham doesn't "think it was a rogue event." Graham said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is "the one pulling the strings right now." But Trump on Tuesday, seemingly without skepticism, promoted the crown prince's claim that he has no knowledge of Khashoggi's fate.

Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month and has not been heard from since. Turkish officials told the United States they found evidence he was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi security team, and gave The Washington Post scans of seven men they believe were part of the Saudi team responsible. Trump promised that "answers will be forthcoming shortly" as Saudi Arabia will "rapidly expand" its investigation. But Turkish officials told the Post that there has been a "lack of Saudi cooperation" in the investigation and that it appears the consulate was cleaned and repainted before they could examine it.

Graham said the Saudi crown prince is "very schizophrenic," and told Fox & Friends that he has "got to go." Until something new happens in Saudi Arabia, Graham added, he has "no interest in engaging with this government" because he "cannot imagine a more blatant example of contempt for a relationship than this." Brendan Morrow

September 13, 2018

President Trump appears to be alone in his baseless assertion that Hurricane Maria's death toll was inflated "by the Democrats in order to make [him] look as bad as possible."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is currently running for Senate and aligns with Trump on most issues, tweeted Thursday that the president is wrong in his claim — though he stopped short of offering pointed criticism of Trump for making it. Trump had suggested without evidence that the death toll in Puerto Rico was much lower than the roughly 3,000 an independent study had determined. Scott noted this and added that he saw the storm's destruction firsthand.

Additionally, the Republican candidate for governor of Florida, Rep. Ron DeSantis, also backed away from Trump's theory. A spokesperson for DeSantis said Thursday that the lawmaker "doesn't believe any loss of life has been inflated," per NBC News reporter Hallie Jackson. This is particularly notable because DeSantis has otherwise established himself as being as passionate a supporter of the president as possible, as NBC News' Benjy Sarlin points out.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) also tweeted that 3,000 Americans did, in fact, die in Puerto Rico. But rather than calling out the president more directly for making claims without evidence, Rubio lamented the fact that "these days even tragedy becomes political." Brendan Morrow

May 4, 2017

President Trump has assured America that the government will not have to borrow more money to compensate for the huge tax cuts he's proposed, but economists aren't sold. A new survey by the University of Chicago found that 84 percent of economists do not believe the Trump administration's claim that the economic growth spurred by his tax cuts — alongside the elimination of some tax breaks — will make up the difference. Only 5 percent of economists said they thought Trump's tax cuts would indeed pay for themselves.

Trump has proposed cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, and whittling the seven existing tax brackets down to three rates of 10, 25, and 35 percent. Trump's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has claimed the cuts "could increase the rate of economic growth from around 2 percent to as much as 3 percent a year," The Washington Post reported.

In another portion of the survey, economists were asked if any tax cuts made since 1980 have "ever paid for themselves in general," the Post noted. None said that they had. "Cutting taxes can stimulate growth, but typically not by enough to increase total revenue collected," Yale University economist Larry Samuelson wrote in the survey's comments section.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated Trump's tax proposal could cost the nation $5.5 trillion. Becca Stanek

August 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton highlighted just how extreme Donald Trump is in a speech in Reno, Nevada, on Thursday, pointing to the Republican presidential nominee's embrace of "discredited conspiracy theories," his "steady stream of bigotry," and his campaign's use of "prejudice and paranoia." Although Trump may be attempting to reposition himself as a more moderate candidate via "some new people putting new words in his mouth," Clinton insisted that we already "know who Trump is."

She then pulled out an old Mexican proverb as evidence: "'Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are.'" Trump, Clinton said, is essentially walking with "hate groups," whose support he hesitates to disavow, and with a campaign CEO who has published headlines praising the Confederate flag.

In her appeal to the center-right, Clinton urged voters — no matter what political party they may belong to — to realize this election is about "who we are as a nation." "If he doesn't respect all Americans," Clinton said of Trump, "how can he serve all Americans?" Becca Stanek

August 11, 2016

Hillary Clinton isn't buying Donald Trump's promise that he'll look out for the "little guy." And, she said at a Thursday rally in Warren, Michigan, the tax proposal Trump outlined earlier this week is proof her hunch is right.

Clinton said a "Trump Loophole" proposed in his tax plans would essentially let him pay "a lower rate than millions of middle class families." "It would allow him to pay less than half the current tax rate on income from many of his companies," Clinton said. She also pointed out that Trump wants to eliminate the Estate Tax, which, she estimated, could save his family $4 billion if he's actually worth what he says he is.

At the end of the day, Clinton said, Trump simply "wants America to work for him and his friends, at the expense of everyone else." Becca Stanek

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