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not buying it
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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