President Donald Trump was relentlessly dishonest last week about the scandal over his dealings with Ukraine, making false claims about just about every component of the story.
Trump made 96 false claims last week, the second-highest total of the 16 weeks we’ve counted at CNN. He made 53 false claims last Monday alone — a remarkable 31 in rambling comments at his Cabinet meeting and 22 more in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Fifty-three false claims is by far the most Trump has made in any day in the 16 weeks we’ve tracked, beating the previous high of 41. Trump has averaged about 68 false claims per week over the 16-week period — just shy of 10 false claims per day.
His deception last week was focused on his conduct toward Ukraine and Democrats’ related impeachment inquiry. Deep breath now:
He falsely claimed he had released an exact transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He falsely claimed he did not ask Zelensky for anything on the call. He falsely claimed people aren’t talking about the call anymore.
He falsely claimed the whistleblower complaint about the call was “totally wrong.” He falsely claimed the whistleblower alleged he had made seven or eight mentions of a “quid pro quo.” He falsely claimed the whistleblower has vanished. He falsely claimed Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff was the whistleblower’s source.
He falsely claimed Schiff had spoken about the call at a committee hearing before, not after, the release of the rough transcript. He falsely claimed Schiff’s committee comments were illegal. He falsely claimed Republicans aren’t allowed to ask questions in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry hearings. And he falsely claimed those closed-door hearings are unprecedented.
The most egregious false claim: Trump’s “prediction” about Osama bin Laden
The President complained that the media doesn’t want to talk about his declaration, in a 2000 book, that Osama bin Laden needed to be killed. In fact, he didn’t say anything like that.
The President claimed that things would be different today if his prescient words had been listened to. Again, those words do not exist.
The President claimed that he still has people coming up to him marveling at his amazing “prediction” about bin Laden. Again, he did not make any prediction about bin Laden.
And the president claimed that it was an especially remarkable prediction because “nobody” had ever heard of bin Laden at the time. Bin Laden was being pursued by the CIA and had been put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list the year before.
Here’s a full fact check of Trump’s elaborate fiction.
The most revealing false claim: How people “don’t talk” about his call with Ukraine’s president
Trump’s phone call with Zelensky is at the center of Democrats’ push to impeach him. It remains the subject of discussion in the media and in the impeachment inquiry hearings.
Trump said last week: “They don’t talk about it anymore.”
“They don’t like to talk about the phone call,” he told Hannity, “because it was perfect.”
Most politicians spin, exaggerate, mislead. Trump invites people to join him in a fantasyland that bears no resemblance to what they can see with their own eyes.
The most absurd false claim: George Washington’s “two desks”
Trump is fond of adding vivid little details to his tales to theoretically make them sound more authentic.
Attempting last week to defend himself against criticism of his aborted plan to hold a G7 summit at one of his own resorts, he claimed that George Washington not only ran a business while in office — Washington was a major landowner and took an active interest in his farm, so there’s at least a smidgen of truth there — but that Washington, “they say, had two desks. He had a presidential desk and a business desk.”
For good measure, Trump gestured as if there were two desks near him, side-by-side.
Fact checking Trump involves asking weird questions to experts who do not traditionally get roped into articles on the dishonesty of elected officials. In this case, one of our recruits was Mary Thompson, a research historian at Mount Vernon, Washington’s historic home.
“I am not aware of Washington having had two desks in the study in the presidential mansion, which was a fairly small room,” Thompson said.
Here’s a full fact check of this claim. And below is this week’s full list of 96, starting with the ones we haven’t included in a weekly update before:
Polls, elections and accomplishments
Trump’s poll numbers
“And I had great polls. I have my best polls now. I think it’s because people think that it’s terrible what they’re doing. Pelosi, Shifty Schiff, Schumer — these people are trying to destroy the country.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
“I do say this — and I can see it, because I’ve been — I mean, look at our fundraising. The money’s never come in like this. Look at — my poll numbers have been, like, the highest.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: Trump did not say what polls he was referring to, but there is no sign that he is at his “highest” or “best” level ever or that there has been any kind of spike in his numbers as a result of Democrats’ impeachment push.
Trump was at 41.8% approval and 54.1% disapproval in the FiveThirtyEight polling aggregate on the day of these comments, October 21. That was down from 43.8% approval and 52.1% disapproval on September 25, his recent peak. Trump was above 44% approval at various points of 2017 and 2018.
Trump’s approval numbers with Republicans in particular are consistently over 80%, but even these numbers were not at their peak at the time he spoke here.
“We revoked the ridiculous Waters of the United States rule. … When I did that, I had people in my office — I had miners and I had farmers and I had builders building homes. And many of them were tough, strong men and women. And almost all of them were crying. They said, ‘Sir, you’ve given our life back to us.'” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: We checked the video of this 2017 event, and nobody standing behind Trump was crying. (Trump had previously claimed that “half” of the people behind him were crying.)
A report from “Moody’s”
Trump spoke three times about data on household income growth under himself and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He said all three times that the figures were from “Moody’s.”
Facts First: These figures were not from Moody’s, company spokesman Gene Kim confirmed; they were produced by a different firm, Sentier Research. (Trump might well just have been confused — he did refer correctly to a recent Moody’s analysis that found he is on track to win the 2020 election if the economy remains roughly as it is today.)
The Sentier Research data had been recently referenced by Stephen Moore, an economic fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a Fox News contributor.
Median household income and energy
“A recent analysis found that middle class income has risen by $5,000. But add to that — that’s median household income — add to that $2,000 from the tax cuts and then $2,000 for energy, because our energy is much cheaper. … And so that would be $9,000 per household. Median income.” — October 25 speech to 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum
Facts First: There is no basis to add “$2,000 for energy” on top of the $5,000 figure for median household income.
The $5,000 figure came from Sentier Research, a private company run by former Census Bureau officials. The company uses a different methodology than the Census Bureau, and the Trump-era household income increase it calculated is much larger than the increase the Census Bureau itself found between 2016 and 2018.
Whichever figure is more accurate, there is no credible estimate that the median household gained “$2,000 for energy” over and above the $5,000 overall pre-tax gain found by Sentier. Household energy costs have increased since Trump took office, as have gasoline costs.
The Sentier data and inflation
“You know, a number just came out … under the Bush administration, for eight years, median household income went up $400. That’s over eight years. OK? So, remember: $400, eight years … so remember this: eight years, eight years, 400 bucks — 400 bucks. You don’t even — that gets wiped out by inflation. Four hundred dollars.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: As the Washington Post noted, Trump was incorrect that the $400 median household income increase under Bush “gets wiped out by inflation.” The Sentier data is already adjusted for inflation, company partner Gordon Green confirmed.
The construction of the Empire State Building
“America built the Empire State Building in just one year. Believe it or not, in nine months.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: The Empire State Building was built in 13 months, not nine months. (We’d have let it go if Trump had stuck to “just one year,” but nine months is objectively wrong.)
The pace of road approvals
“… I mean, roads are under consideration for — we have roads, 21 years, 22 years. They end up costing many, many times more… But permits that took 17, 18, 19 years, we think we can get — we’re down to two years. And we think we can get it around one. And you may get rejected, folks, but it’s going to be fast.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: There is no apparent basis for Trump’s claim that it now takes just two years to get environmental approvals for “roads,” though he was not very specific about which roads he was talking about. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) page, the department’s median environmental impact statement completion time was 47 months in 2018, up from 46 months in 2017 and 44 months in 2016.
A White House report in December 2018 found an average environmental impact statement completion time of 4.5 years and median completion time of 3.6 years across the government, for various kinds of projects.
Brad Karkkainen, a University of Minnesota law professor and expert on environmental and land use law, said in an email that he has “never heard of a highway project taking 18 or 20 years, though it’s certainly possible that when the median time was six or seven years, a few projects took twice as long, perhaps more.” He said some projects can “sail through” much faster than the median time, “but to suggest as Trump does that the typical time has gone from 17+ years to two years is just nonsense.”
The governor of Louisiana
“…In Louisiana the other night, the governor was at 66 — he couldn’t get 50%.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: Trump was vague here, but Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was not “at 66” either in the polls or in his previous election. Edwards got 56% of the vote when he was elected in 2015; public polls listed by FiveThirtyEight did not have him higher than 55% in this year’s open primary.
The Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines
“In my first week in office, I approved permits for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. And that’s a big thing.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: This was not quite what happened. Trump did sign an executive order in his first week in office to advance both pipelines, but he did not grant final approval of Keystone XL until just over two months into his presidency. The Army announced during Trump’s third week in office that it would grant the final permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A quote from Charlie Kirk
” ‘… Our studends (sic) feel EMPOWERED. There’s a movement happening on these campuses like I’ve never seen before. When you have 3000 students wanting to get into an event that couldn’t get in, that’s pretty remarkable!’ @charliekirk11 Turning Point USA KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” — October 23 tweet
Facts First: Trump’s tweet omitted an important part of Kirk’s quote on Fox News: Kirk’s reference to protests at an event featuring himself and Donald Trump Jr. The President also added a hyperbolic statement Kirk did not utter in this quote.
Introducing Kirk, the founder of conservative organization Turning Point USA, the hosts of Fox & Friends made mention of the protests around the event at Colorado State University. Kirk said: “There’s a movement happening on these campuses. There were some of the protests from the non-students in the local area, but when you have 3,000 people that wanted to get but couldn’t get out, that’s pretty remarkable!”
Trump replaced Kirk’s reference to the protests with his own words, “like I’ve never seen before.”
A quote from Steve Doocy
“A majority do not want him Impeached and removed from office. 94% of the people in these battleground states who voted for President Trump want him to continue as President. That’s squarely in his corner.'” @SteveDoocy — October 22 tweet
Facts First: Trump’s tweet omitted a significant part of Doocy’s quote: Doocy noted that this poll showed that a majority of those polled supported House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
Doocy, a co-host of Fox & Friends, actually said, “A majority is for the inquiry but do not want him impeached and removed from office, and it also said that I think 94% of the people in these battleground states who voted for President Trump want him to continue as President. That’s squarely in his corner.”
The impeachment inquiry
Republicans and the impeachment inquiry
“But no lawyers — we have no lawyers — Republican — because it’s the minority. We have no lawyers, we can’t question, we can’t do a thing. We can’t — they can’t even go into the room…” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: Trump was correct that the Democratic House majority was not permitting White House lawyers into its closed hearings. However, the 48 Republican members of the three committees holding the hearings — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — were indeed allowed into the room, and they were given equal time to question witnesses.
Trump might have been referring to a stunt in which Republicans who were not members of any of the three committees, along with some Republicans who were members, stormed the secure committee room to make a political point; the non-members were not allowed to be there. But the members were allowed to be full participants in the proceedings.
Closed-door impeachment meetings
“Well, I think they are — I will be honest: I loved when I saw that scene of the unity yesterday with the congressmen going downstairs, because they have a cabal going on. It’s — you know, you look at what’s happening downstairs in the little room — that little secret room. Nobody ever had a thing like that. That’s never happened before.” — October 25 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling
Facts First: It’s not true that “nobody ever had a thing like” the closed-door hearings House Democrats are holding as part of their impeachment inquiry. The impeachment processes for both Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon also involved closed-door meetings in which members of Congress gathered evidence.
“The President’s comments are entirely, wholly, and completely, wrong,” said Jeffrey Engel, founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. “It is simply normal for those discussions to take place behind closed doors because as everyone across the board will tell you, in investigations you get better answers when there are no cameras.”
The impeachment witnesses
“They’re interviewing — they’re interviewing ambassadors who I’d never heard of. I don’t know who these people are. I never heard of them. And I have great respect for some of them. … Don’t forget, many of these people were put there during Obama, during Clinton, during the Never Trump or Bush era. You know, you had a Never Trump or Bush.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: As FactCheck.org noted: “Actually, among the nine government officials who have testified in closed sessions so far, just two were appointed to their current or recently resigned positions under the Obama administration. The other seven were appointed by Trump or Trump appointees, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
We can’t definitively fact check whether Trump has heard of his own appointees, but it’s worth noting that they are indeed his own appointees, that he professed respect for “some of them” immediately after saying he’d never heard of them, and that he has a history of minimizing his relationships with former associates when that is convenient for him.
Barack Obama and Kim Jong Un
“But in the meantime, North Korea, I like Kim, he likes me. We get along. I respect him, he respects me. ‘You could end up in a war.’ President Obama told me that. He said, ‘The biggest problem, I don’t know how to solve it.’ He told me he doesn’t know how to solve it. I said, ‘Did you ever call him?’ ‘No.’ Actually, he tried 11 times. But the man on the other side, the gentleman on the other side, did not take his call. OK? Lack of respect. But he takes my call.'” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: There is no apparent basis for the claim that Obama tried to call Kim Jong Un 11 times. In fact, there is no evidence that Obama called him even once. His former national security officials say he did not. Read our full fact check here.
Conor Lamb and Trump
“So, Conor Lamb — right here from Pittsburgh. And I appreciate — Conor, whoever you are — I have no idea what you even look like. But there’s some guy named Conor Lamb who speaks very nicely about — you know why? Because you’re in like a Trump district. No, it’s right. It’s true. Right? ‘No, the President is excellent. He’s doing a good job.’ I thought he was a Republican until I found out.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: Lamb, a Democratic congressman in Pennsylvania who has positioned himself as a moderate, has made an effort to avoid attacking Trump, expressed a willingness to work with Trump, and expressed qualified support for Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum (he called for a focus on China rather than allies like Canada) — but Lamb has not called Trump “excellent” or said “he’s doing a good job.”
Trump has previously exaggerated how positive Lamb has been toward him, falsely claiming Lamb had endorsed the Trump tax law Lamb had campaigned against.
Conor Lamb and guns
“They want to take away your guns. Conor Lamb wants to take away your guns.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: There is no evidence that Lamb “wants to take away your guns.” Lamb says he supports universal background checks, but he opposes a ban on assault weapons and says new gun laws are not the answer to the problem of mass shootings.
Obama’s response to Russian election interference
“And President Obama in September (2016) was told about Russian influence, and he didn’t want to do anything about it. He didn’t want to do a thing about it. Because he assumed Hillary was going to win. So he didn’t do a thing about it. Nobody brings that up.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: Obama has been criticized, even by some Democrats, for not acting more forcefully when he was notified of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Still, it’s an exaggeration to say “he didn’t do a thing.” Obama and his senior officials did several things in response to the information.
San Francisco and the environment
“I can’t believe that Nancy Pelosi’s District in San Francisco is in such horrible shape that the City itself is in violation of many sanitary & environmental orders, causing it to owe the Federal Government billions of dollars – and all she works on is Impeachment. We should all work together to clean up these hazardous waste and homeless sites before the whole city rots away. Very bad and dangerous conditions, also severely impacting the Pacific Ocean and water supply. Pelosi must work on this mess and turn her District around!” — October 26 tweet
Facts First: San Francisco does not owe the federal government billions of dollars over its supposed environmental violations. And the claim that pollution from San Francisco’s homeless population is “severely impacting the Pacific Ocean and water supply” is sharply disputed by environmental experts.
In September, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, sent a letter to the governor of California to allege “deficiencies” in the state’s implementation of federal environmental laws. The letter, which followed a dispute between the Trump administration and the state over automotive emissions standards, is seen by many Democrats, former EPA officials and environmental experts as retaliatory.
Regardless of the administration’s true motives, the letter did not allege that San Francisco or the state owes the federal government billions. It said San Francisco “must invest billions of dollars” to modernize its sewer system; that is not the same thing.
Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles and faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, noted the absence of evidence for the administration’s claims about environmental problems caused by homeless people in San Francisco.
“Trump’s tweet is misleading or flatly false on several fronts. Although he claimed in late September that the city’s failure to manage its homelessness problem was causing serious water pollution problems from needles and human waste, his EPA has produced no evidence to back up its claim,” she said.
“In fact, after he made that accusation, EPA sent what is called a notice of violation to San Francisco accusing the City of violating the federal Clean Water Act in the operation of its wastewater and sewer system. EPA made no mention of any problems caused by the homeless population — you can bet if the agency had any evidence, it would have included mention of the evidence in the letter.”
The presidential salary
“But I give away my presidential salary. They say that no other president has done it. I’m surprised, to be honest with you. They actually say that George Washington may have been the only other president.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Trump does donate his salary, but the rest of his claim was inaccurate. He is not the only president to have donated the official salary; both John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover did so. Washington did not.
Although Washington initially declined his salary, he relented after Congress insisted.
George Washington’s “two desks”
“But other presidents, if you look — other presidents were wealthy. Not huge wealth. George Washington was actually considered a very, very rich man at the time. But they ran their businesses. George Washington, they say, had two desks: He had a presidential desk and a business desk.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Washington, a major landowner, did continue to own property while serving as president, and he took an interest in his farm at Mount Vernon while in office — even writing to a United Kingdom official to discuss getting help finding renters for Mount Vernon land. But historians say Trump’s claim about Washington having a separate desk for business work is baseless.
You can read a longer fact check here.
Foreign and military affairs
Escaped ISIS prisoners
“General Mazloum has assured me that ISIS is under very, very strict lock and key, and the detention facilities are being strongly maintained. There were a few that got out — a small number, relatively speaking — and they’ve been largely recaptured.” — October 23 speech on the situation in Syria
Facts First: Trump’s anti-ISIS envoy, James Jeffrey, testified to Congress about an hour earlier that he does not know the whereabouts of the escaped prisoners. “We do not know where they are,” Jeffrey, who serves as both special envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS and as special representative for Syria engagement, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Trump’s statements on Iraq and oil
“I always used to say, ‘If they’re going to go in…’ Nobody cared that much, but it got written about. ‘If they’re going to go in…’ I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, because I made it more than any human being alive. ‘If they’re going into Iraq, keep the oil.’ They never did. They never did.” — October 27 press conference after the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Facts First: We could not find any examples of Trump speaking before the war about keeping Iraq’s oil. (The White House did not respond to a request for evidence.) As with his stance on the invasion itself, Trump appeared to be describing comments he made during the war as if he made them during the run-up to the war.
There was at least slightly more factual basis for this claim than his claim to have opposed the invasion: Trump did have a history of suggesting that the US get or take Middle Eastern countries’ oil. In a CNN appearance in 1987, for example, he called for the US to get a percentage of Kuwait’s oil in exchange for military protection. The same year, Florida’s St. Petersburg Times reported that Trump had suggested in a New Hampshire speech that “the United States should attack Iran ‘and take over some of their oil.’ “
But these comments were more than 15 years before the invasion of Iraq, and they were not about Iraq. You can read a longer fact check here.
Trump, his book and Osama bin Laden
“You know, if you read my book — there was a book just before the World Trade Center came down. And I don’t get any credit for this, but that’s OK. I never do. But here we are. I wrote a book — a, really, very successful book. And in that book, about a year before the World Trade Center was blown up, I said, ‘There is somebody named Osama bin Laden. You better kill him or take him out.’ Something to that effect. ‘He’s big trouble.'” And: “I think it was about — if you check, it was about a year before the World Trade Center came down. And I’m saying to people, ‘Take out Osama bin Laden,’ that nobody ever heard of. Nobody ever heard of…” — October 27 press conference after the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Facts First: Trump’s January 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” mentioned bin Laden once, but it did not call for bin Laden to be killed or warn that he would perpetrate a major attack if he were not killed. In a separate section, the book said the US was in danger of a major terrorist attack that would make the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center look minor in comparison — but it did not predict that bin Laden or al Qaeda would be the perpetrator of this attack.
You can read a longer fact check here.
The size of China’s economy
“So, if I weren’t elected, by right now, China would be the largest economy in the world. It was expected. It was said by many people that China would, right now — they were expecting around the second year of this term.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“When I took office, everybody said that China would be the largest economy in the world within the first two years. And we picked up trillions and trillions of dollars of worth, and China has lost trillions of dollars of worth.” — October 23 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
Facts First: Experts on China did not declare that the Chinese economy would be larger than the American economy within two years of Trump taking office, at least not around the time Trump did take office.
“When the President took office, there were no predictions China would surpass the US in GDP within two years. Their GDP was 60% the size of the US at the time and slowing. They would have had to grow $7.5 trillion to catch us in two years even if we didn’t grow at all, which would have required 30% annual increases on their part. No one would predict that,” said Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and an expert on the Chinese economy.
Scissors said Trump might possibly have been thinking of three things: bad predictions at the start of the decade that China would pass the US around this time; predictions when Trump came into office that China would pass the US before the end of his hypothetical second term; figures that incorporate purchasing power parity rather than measuring the absolute size of the economies.
China’s economic growth
“We are much bigger than the China economy. And we’re getting bigger, and they’re not.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: China’s economy is getting bigger, though its growth has slowed. China reported 6% economic growth in the third quarter of 2019 — the weakest growth since 1992, but growth nonetheless.
China’s official figures are not always reliable, but there is no doubt that China is growing; the International Monetary Fund expects 6.1% growth in 2019 and 5.8% growth in 2020.
Trump’s strike against Syria
“I wiped out the caliphate. And you also saw when I hit 58 rockets, missiles right into the middle. Tomahawk, right into the middle of — of Syria and knocked out a whole base…” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: A Syrian air base did indeed suffer serious damage as a result of the airstrike Trump approved in 2017, but it was not “knocked out.” The Shayrat base had returned to use by the next day, according to the governor of the province of Homs and a UK-based monitoring organization, Reuters reported.
Trump himself acknowledged at the time that the runways had not been destroyed, tweeting: “The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!”
Hillary Clinton and trade with South Korea
“… as an example, we finished it with South Korea. What a difference that has made. That was a Hillary Clinton deal. She said, ‘This will produce 250,000 jobs.’ And she was right, except the jobs were produced for South Korea, not for us, OK?” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: There is no record of Clinton, who served as secretary of state, saying that the US trade deal with South Korea would “produce 250,000 jobs.” Obama said the deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.”
Clinton was a key figure in the negotiations over the agreement, known as KORUS, but when Trump calls it a “Hillary Clinton deal,” it’s worth noting that the agreement was originally signed in 2007 by the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration renegotiated some of its provisions.
The size of Miami International Airport
Touting the benefits of his Doral resort in Florida, Trump said, “Right next to the airport, Miami International –one of the biggest airports in the world. Some people say it’s the biggest. But one of the biggest airports in the world.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Miami International is certainly not the biggest airport in the world.
Though world airports authorities do not release rankings of airports’ physical size, Miami International is not even close to the largest airport in the United States. Chicago’s O’Hare, for example, occupies about 7,200 acres, Miami International 3,230 acres.
The Emoluments Clause
“…you people, with this phony Emoluments Clause…” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: There’s nothing phony about the Constitution’s prohibitions against the President receiving payments from foreign and domestic governments.
The clause on foreign emoluments, found in Article I, Section 9, says that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
The clause on domestic emoluments, found in Article II, Section 1, says: “The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
Trump might have been attempting to argue that it is phony to apply the clause to his own activities, but, at very least, his wording left an inaccurate impression.
A quote from Fox & Friends
“General Michael Flynn’s attorney is demanding that charges be immediately dropped after they found that FBI Agents manipulated records against him. They say that James Clapper told a reporter to ‘take a kill shot at Flynn. This has been a complete setup of Michael Flynn. They exonerated him completely of being an agent of Russia (Recently Crooked Hillary charged Tulsi Gabbard & Jill Stein with the same thing-SICK), and yet Mr. Comey still runs to the White House on February 14 and conjures up the Obstruction of Justice narrative against the President when Flynn had been cleared of everything long before that. The DOJ is withholding a lot of evidence & information, as are Clapper & Brennan & all of the people who participated in the complete setup of Michael Flynn.’ (Terrible!) Sidney Powell. This is a disgrace!” — October 26 tweet
Facts First: We give Trump significant leeway to make minor errors when he is quoting people from television, but he went too far here. Trump attributed to Powell, a lawyer for Flynn, sentences that were actually uttered by Fox & Friends hosts Pete Hegseth and Jedediah Bila. He also added the parenthetical “Recently Crooked Hillary charged Tulsi Gabbard & Jill Stein with the same thing-SICK,” which nobody on the show said.
You can watch the exchange here.
The government’s land holdings
“Interior Secretary — largest landlord in the United States by a factor of about 200 — David Bernhardt. Where’s David? David? Thank you, David. Stand up. What a great job. He’s basically the landlord to about half of the United States.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: We know Trump was speaking informally here, but “half” is a significant exaggeration. The Congressional Research Service reported in 2017: “The federal government owns roughly 640 million acres, about 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States.”
The land is managed by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.
An ‘apology’ from the New York Times
“And then after the election, The New York Times apologized for their coverage, because they were covering me in such a way. So when I won they actually apologized to their subscribers, because they were losing thousands and thousands of subscribers. The New York Times wrote an apology. Nothing else. You know, they’re saying well, it wasn’t really an apology. It was. Because they covered me so badly.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: The Times’ letter was not an apology.
The letter, from publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet, did say the election had raised several questions, including this: “Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters?”
But the letter did not issue any apology, to Trump or anyone else.
Here are the claims Trump made last week that we have previously fact checked in one of these weekly roundups:
The Ukraine scandal
The call with Zelensky
Trump said of the phone call: “There was no anything asked for. There was no pressure whatsoever.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Trump is free to argue that his requests to Zelensky did not constitute “pressure,” but he is simply wrong that he didn’t make any requests at all. Trump asked Zelensky to look into former Vice President Joe Biden, into a debunked conspiracy theory about Democratic computer servers, and to speak with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr. In fact, prior to launching into the request about the server, Trump said, “I would like you to do us a favor though.”
You can read a full fact check of this claim here.
The rough transcript
“… I released a transcription then by stenographers of the exact conversation I had.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“So now we have a conversation that’s perfect. And it’s transcribed. And it’s done by totally professional people, stenographers or whatever you would call them. So we have an exact conversation.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: The document released by the White House explicitly says, on the first page, that it is not an exact transcript of the call.
In testimony on Tuesday, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said that he tried to make edits to the document to include two things that were said on the call but not included in the document, a source told CNN.
The whistleblower’s accuracy
“You know, these whistleblowers, they have them like they’re angels. OK? So do we have to protect somebody that gave a totally false account of my conversation? I don’t know. You tell me. ” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
“And now you don’t hear from the whistleblower anymore, because the whistleblower was talking about this conversation — in phony terms.” And: “Well, now the funny thing is that they say — they say that the whistleblower — they don’t need the whistleblower anymore. Why don’t they need the whistleblower? You know why they don’t need the whistleblower, because the whistleblower’s account of my conversation was totally wrong.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“Where is the Whistleblower, and why did he or she write such a fictitious and incorrect account of my phone call with the Ukrainian President?” — October 24 tweet
“But everything was about the Whistleblower (they no longer want the second Whistleblower either), which they don’t want because the account of my call bore NO RELATIONSHIP to the call itself. The entire Impeachment Scam was based on my perfect Ukrainian call, and the Whistleblowers account of that call, which turned out to be false (a fraud?).” — October 25 tweet
Facts First: The whistleblower’s account of the call has largely been proven accurate. In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct.
You can read a full fact check here.
Rep. Adam Schiff and the whistleblower
“So was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff. In my opinion it’s possibly Schiff.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
“They don’t like to talk about the — Adam Schiff said he doesn’t want the whistleblower anymore. You know why? Because he might have given the whistleblower the things to say.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“Who is the so-called Informant (Schiff?) who was so inaccurate? A giant Scam!” — October 24 tweet
Facts First: This is nonsensical. Schiff, a Democratic congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not have access to the internal White House information the whistleblower revealed; he could not have told the whistleblower about the contents of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky or other information the whistleblower reported. The whistleblower said information about the call came from “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call.”
Schiff did say that it might not be necessary for the whistleblower to testify. He said it might be possible to uncover critical evidence without jeopardizing the whistleblower’s anonymity.
The timing of Schiff’s comments
“So he made up a lie, and I released — they never thought that I’d do this — I released a transcription done by stenographers of the exact conversation I had. And now the game was up.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“For instance, when you do a censure vote on Adam Schiff, what did he do? He made up my conversation, totally — like fiction. It was — it was fraudulent. He made it sound — he took that conversation he made it sound — now, he didn’t know about that conversation. So he went up — and he made up a phony conversation, read it to Congress, read it the American people. And I released that, and that was the real conversation…” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“If you think — Schiff made up, his words — not my words. He went before Congress and the American people and he repeated a conversation that I never had, and then I released the conversation, because we had stenographers and transcribers, and the conversation was a perfect conversation.” — October 25 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling
Facts First: Schiff made his comments about Trump’s call with Zelensky the day after Trump released the rough transcript, not before. Before he started claiming that Schiff did not expect a transcript to be released, Trump had complained that Schiff did not read the transcript available to him.
Even Trump’s friendly interviewer here, Fox’s Sean Hannity, seemed to be gently correcting him, noting that the conversation “was already out” when Schiff spoke.
The legality of Schiff’s comments
“But he made it sound so horrible. That’s illegal. I mean, it — no way you can get away with that. That’s a — but that’s a total fraud.” — October 25 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling
Facts First: While it’s fair for Trump to be miffed about Schiff’s comments at a congressional committee meeting — Schiff’s mix of near-quotes from Trump, his own analysis, and supposed “parody” was at the very least confusing — Schiff’s words were not illegal. The Constitution includes a specific provision that allows members of Congress to speak freely during official meetings.
The whistleblower’s knowledge
“The whistleblower had second- and third-hand information. You remember that, it was a big problem.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Some of the whistleblower’s information came from others, but some did not. Michael Atkinson, the Trump-appointed inspector general for the intelligence community, noted that the whistleblower had “direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct.”
The whistleblower and quid pro quo
“And to think they took that call — now, the big thing I did with that call, Sean, the biggest thing is immediately released it because the whistleblower came out and said horrible things about this call. I think they said there were eight — seven or eight — quid pro quos. It was really a terrible call — you know, all these terrible things about this call.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: The whistleblower did not even use the words “quid pro quo,” much less specify a number of times Trump allegedly said them.
People talking about Trump’s Ukraine call
“The — one of his (Zelensky’s) top people — I guess, one of his heads of state came out and said this was a perfect call. There was no pressure. They didn’t even know what we were talking about. To think that they’re using that — now they don’t talk about that anymore, because that letter was so good. So they don’t talk about it anymore, Sean. And the reason they don’t talk about it: there’s nothing to talk about.” And: “How can you take a President — now, again, they don’t like to talk about the phone call because it was perfect.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: To the contrary, Trump’s call with Ukraine’s President was the subject of widespread discussion among members of Congress and in the media at the time; it was a central focus of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
The whistleblower being “gone”
“You never hear, what happened to the whistleblower? They’re gone, because they’ve been discredited.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: There is no evidence that either the first whistleblower (who filed the complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine) or the second whistleblower (whose lawyers say they have firsthand information corroborating claims made by the first whistleblower) are now somehow “gone,” let alone that they are “gone” because the first whistleblower was shown to be inaccurate.
“The whistleblowers have not vanished,” Bradley Moss, a colleague of Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the two whistleblowers, said on Twitter.
Foreign and military affairs
The troops being withdrawn from Syria
“But when I watch these pundits that always are trying to take a shot, I say — they say, ‘What are we getting out of it?’ You know what we’re getting out of it? We’re bringing our soldiers back home. That’s a big thing.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Trump is not bringing the troops back home, at least not at the moment.
Trump has announced that “United States troops coming out of Syria will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq,” then that some troops would remain in Syria to protect oil fields. He has also announced that 1,800 more troops would be deployed to Saudi Arabia.
Trump conceded later in the Cabinet meeting that the soldiers will be “sent, initially, to different parts,” but he claimed that they would “ultimately” return to the US.
The timeline in Syria
“We won’t be fighting, and we’ll bring our soldiers back home. They were supposed to be there for 30 days, and they’ve been there now for 10 years, in Syria. Ten years.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“We want to bring soldiers back home. They were supposed to be there for 30 days. They’re there for 10 years.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“We were supposed to be there for 30 days; that was almost 10 years ago. So we’re there for 30 days, and now we’re leaving. It was supposed to be a very quick hit and let’s get out.” — October 23 speech on the situation in Syria
“We were supposed to be there for 30 days – That was 10 years ago.” — October 25 tweet
Facts First: There was never any specific timeline for the US military’s involvement in Syria, much less a timeline of a mere 30 days. The US began bombing Syria in 2014 and deployed ground troops in 2015 — five years ago and four years ago, not 10 years ago.
“We are building up America’s military might like never before, investing $2.5 trillion since my election.” — October 23 speech on the situation in Syria
Facts First: Defense spending for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 was $2.05 trillion, and that includes more than three-and-a-half months of Obama’s tenure, since the 2017 fiscal year began in October 2016.
Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he thinks Trump must have been including military funding for the 2020 fiscal year to get to the “$2.5 trillion” figure — but the 2020 fiscal year just started on October 1, and Harrison noted that the defense appropriation has not yet been approved by Congress.
The deal with Turkey
“People have been trying to make this deal for years.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
“This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else, no other nation. Very simple. And we’re willing to take blame, and we’re also willing to take credit. This is something they’ve been trying to do for many, many decades.” — October 23 speech on the situation in Syria
Facts First: Trump’s claim is baseless to the point of being nonsensical. The deal is a narrow agreement specifically tied to the Turkish offensive that followed Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from a Kurdish-held region of northern Syria, not an agreement that resolves longstanding regional disputes. Further, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush never sought to give Turkey anything like the concessionary terms of Trump’s deal.
You can read a longer fact check here.
The Iraq War
“If you remember, I didn’t want to go into Iraq. I was a civilian, so I had no power over it. But I always was speaking against going into Iraq.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting.
“If you read about the history of Donald Trump — I was a civilian. I had absolutely nothing to do with going into Iraq, and I was totally against it.” And: “In Iraq — so they spent — President Bush went in. I strongly disagreed with it, even though it wasn’t my expertise at the time, but I had a — I have a very good instinct about things.” — October 27 press conference after the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Facts First: Trump did not publicly oppose the invasion of Iraq before it began. Trump was tentatively supportive of the war when radio host Howard Stern asked him in September 2002, “Are you for invading Iraq?” He responded: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” The day after the invasion in March 2003, he said, “It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.” Trump did not offer a definitive position on the looming war in a Fox News interview in January 2003, saying, “Either you attack or don’t attack.”
Trump started publicly questioning the war later in 2003, and he was an explicit opponent in 2014. You can read a longer fact check here.
China and nuclear weapons
“Right now we have the most powerful nuclear force in the world. … And we are discussing with Russia, and we’re discussing with China. During the recent trade deal with China, I said, ‘We should all get together and work out something — a cap, have a cap. We don’t need 10,000 weapons, have a cap.’ And I will say China and Russia are talking about it. … I’m very excited about it. … And I think Russia would like to make a deal, and I think China would like to make a deal. And I think that’s a big — that would be a terrific thing. I’d love to be a part of that.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: There is no apparent basis for Trump’s claim that “China would like to make a deal” that would limit its nuclear arsenal. While we can’t know what Chinese officials might have said to Trump in private, China has publicly expressed vehement opposition to negotiating any limits with the US and Russia.
After Trump previously suggested that China wanted to participate in a trilateral deal with the US and Russia, a spokesperson for the Chinese government said in May: “We oppose any country’s attempt to make an issue out of China on arms control and will not participate in any negotiation for a trilateral nuclear disarmament agreement.”
In October, Bloomberg reported that Fu Cong, director general of the foreign ministry’s Arms Control Department, had said, “China has no interest in participating in a nuclear-arms-reduction negotiation with the U.S. or Russia, given the huge gap between China’s nuclear arsenal and those of the U.S. and Russia.”
Retired Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton, a CNN military analyst, told us this week: “China has developed an expansive overarching military strategy and they don’t believe submitting to a potentially disadvantageous (for them) arms control regime is in China’s best interest. While China did accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968, it has never agreed to limits on its short- and intermediate-range missiles. As an ascendant power, China has no real incentive to limit its nuclear arsenal unless it determines that it doesn’t need nuclear weapons to achieve its foreign policy goals.”
Economy and energy
Ivanka Trump and jobs
“Through our Pledge to American Workers, more than 360 companies have committed to providing over 14 million training jobs and career opportunities for the American worker. My daughter, Ivanka, worked so hard on that. That’s her love. It’s her passion. It’s incredible. She came to me at the beginning of the administration, and she said, ‘I want to help people get jobs, Dad. But they have to be trained.’ She was a great student. She’s a great person. And she said, ‘But they have to be trained.’ I said, ‘What’s your goal?’ She said, ‘500,000 jobs.’ She just hit 14 million. Can you be — I said, ‘That’s Ivanka.’ You know, that’s Ivanka. Fourteen million jobs.” — October 25 speech to 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum
Facts First: Given that fewer than 6.5 million jobs had been created during the entire Trump presidency through September, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and White House adviser, was obviously not responsible for “14 million jobs.” As Trump alluded to in a slightly more accurate remark earlier in this paragraph, companies have promised to create more than 14 million “new opportunities” for workers as of Wednesday — but many of these “opportunities” are internal training opportunities, not new jobs.
The web page for the pledge program describes them as “education and training opportunities.” Also, as CNN has previously reported, many of the companies had already planned these opportunities before Ivanka Trump launched the initiative.
The Cameron LNG plant in Louisiana
“Think what that — I just left Louisiana recently. And we opened a $10 billion LNG plant. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a longer building. It’s like a skyscraper laid on its side. It is the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen. More pipes in that building that — nobody realized how complex it is. But it took years and years, and it was a dead project. And I had it approved almost immediately.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: The permits for the Sempra Energy facility Trump visited in May were granted by the Obama administration.
The company says on its website: “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized the project in June 2014.” The company confirmed to FactCheck.org: “You are correct, Cameron LNG was approved in 2014.” The facility made its first shipment in late May.
“Since I came in we’re now energy independent.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“We’re now energy independent. Who would’ve thought that? That wasn’t going to happen for a long time.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: While definitions of “energy independence” vary, the US is not “energy independent” by any definition; it is expected to export more energy than it imports by 2020, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration, but that has not happened yet. In the first five months of 2019, PolitiFact noted, the US also consumed more energy than it produced. There have been occasional, brief periods where US exports have exceed imports or where its production has exceeded consumption, but this hasn’t happened for a full recent year.
You can read a longer fact check here.
The unemployment rate
“Unemployment is at the lowest rate in more than 51 years.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: This was one of Trump’s signature little exaggerations. The September rate, 3.5%, was the lowest since December 1969, just under 50 years ago.
Unemployment for women
Trump said women have their lowest unemployment numbers in “71 years.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: This was another exaggeration. It has been 66 years since the women’s rate has been as low as it was in September, 3.4%, not 71 years.
Prescription drug prices
“And we had the first year ever where prices actually went down.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. The Consumer Price Index for prescription drugs showed a 0.6% decline between December 2017 and December 2018, which was the first calendar-year decline since 1972, not the first one “ever.” (As The Washington Post pointed out in its own fact check, some experts say the Consumer Price Index is a flawed measure of trends in drug prices, since it doesn’t include rebates that drug companies pay to insurers. The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which studies drug prices, found that “net drug prices in the United States increased at an estimated 1.5% in 2018.”)
China and trade
China’s economic performance
“China is doing very poorly. Worst year they’ve had in 57 years. I wonder why. I wonder why. I’m sure you can’t figure it out.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“All over the world — countries aren’t doing well. China’s not doing well. China’s having the worst year they’ve had in 57 years.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: China’s second-quarter GDP growth of 6.2% and third-quarter GDP growth of 6% were its worst since 1992, 27 years ago.
Trump has repeatedly made clear that he knows that 27 years is the reported figure, but he has added additional years for no apparent reason.
China’s agricultural purchases
“Well, one little example is the farmers. So they were told and I was told, if we could get $20 billion a year in purchase — the biggest they’ve ever done is $16 (billion), is what I’ve heard and what they’ve said. If we could get $20 billion a year from China — that China purchases $20 billion a year of agricultural product — that would be a great thing.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: China spent $25.9 billion on American agricultural products in 2012, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.
Who is paying for the tariffs on China
“And we’re doing great. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China, and they’re eating the tariffs because they devalued their currency.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“Don’t forget China’s paying us tens of billions of dollars in tariffs, and it’s had a huge impact on China. And it hasn’t cost us anything because they devalued their currency or they’ve poured money in. It hasn’t cost us — they’ve eaten that. They’ve eaten it totally.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
The USMCA and Canada
“We need — for our farmers, our manufacturers, for, frankly, unions and non-unions, we need USMCA to be voted on. If it’s voted on, it’ll pass. It’s up to Nancy Pelosi to put it up. … Mexico and Canada have approved it; it’s done. They’re waiting for our approval. And we can’t seem to get the votes.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
“…and all the things we’ve done, and we have to get USMCA done, and they don’t want to put it up for a vote. And the Do-Nothing Democrats, they will pass it, but it has to be put up Nancy Pelosi. … It’s approved by Mexico. It’s approved by Canada. It’s approved by everybody that has to be approved. We have to give it a vote. It’s been sitting for a long time.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: Mexico’s Senate has voted to approve the USMCA trade agreement, but Canada’s Parliament has not. (The agreement is highly unlikely to be rejected by Parliament, but still, the voting has not happened yet.)
The crowd in Dallas, part 1
“I was in Dallas the other night, we set a record in a stadium — I don’t know, it’s got to be an arena that’s got to be 20 years old … we have a record.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“I go to these massive basketball arenas, like in Dallas, where the Mavericks play, and fill it up and set a record.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Trump did not break the attendance record at the American Airlines Center. Jason Evans, a spokesman for the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department, told CNN that the fire department and the arena calculated an attendance of 18,500. The Dallas Mavericks, who play in the arena, had an average announced attendance of 20,013 per game last season, among the highest in the NBA, according to ESPN data.
The crowd in Dallas, part 2
Trump said of his rally the previous week in Dallas: “I had 25,000 people, close, in that arena.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Again, the Dalas Fire-Rescue Department put the number at 18,500.
The crowd outside in Dallas
Trump said of the Dallas rally: “And we had 20,000 people outside, at least.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: Trump’s estimate was way off, though it was lower than the “close to 30,000” he had claimed during the speech. “We didn’t have 30K outside. Probably had upward of 5K outside,” Dallas Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mitchell Warren told CNN in response to that previous Trump estimate.
Rally crowds in general
“I haven’t had an empty seat at a rally.” — October 21 exchange with reporters at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: There have been empty seats at various Trump rallies, including a rally earlier this month in Minneapolis, a July rally in Greenville, North Carolina, an October 2018 rally in Houston and an April 2017 rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to journalists on the scene.
Trump’s approval rating with Republicans
“I love the Republicans. Ninety-four and 95% approval rating they gave me recently.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
Facts First: Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is very high, regularly in the 80s and sometimes creeping into the 90s, but it has not been 95% in any recent major poll we could find.
Trump was at 90% with Republicans in a CNN poll conducted from October 17-20, 83% with Republicans in a Quinnipiac University poll conducted from October 17-21, 81% in an Ipsos/Reuters poll conducted October 18-22.
Special elections in North Carolina
“Look at North Carolina. Great state. Great people. Two races that were going to be lost, I went in, made a speech, let everybody know I really respect these two guys and they’re going to be great, they both won. They both won by good margins.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“You saw what happened in North Carolina: We picked up two seats that people didn’t think we were going to pick up. That was two weeks ago.” — October 21 remarks at Cabinet meeting
Facts First: The special elections in North Carolina were six weeks ago, not two weeks ago. While the race in the 9th District was considered competitive, the race in the 3rd District was expected by pollsters and analysts to be won easily by the Republican candidate.
Both seats had previously been held by Republicans, so the party did not pick them up. (Trump might have just been speaking informally.)
Democrats and borders
“Look, I think that the Democrats are not good politicians. I think they have lousy policy. They have policy of open borders and sanctuary cities and crime.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“Their policies are horrible: open borders, sanctuary cities, take everyone’s guns away.” — October 23 speech at Shale Insight Conference
“LOUISIANA! Extreme Democrat John Bel Edwards has sided with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to support Sanctuary Cities, High Taxes, and Open Borders.” — October 26 tweet
Facts First: Even 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump suggests.
The Washington Post
“The Fake Washington Post keeps doing phony stories, with zero sources, that I am concerned with the Impeachment scam. I am not because I did nothing wrong.” — October 26 tweet.
Facts First: There is simply no evidence that the Post fabricated its sources for this article. Trump is entitled to argue that the sources aren’t correct, but there is no basis for the claim that the sources don’t exist.
The article began: “After weeks of dismissing the impeachment inquiry as a hollow partisan attack, President Trump and his closest advisers now recognize that the snowballing probe poses a serious threat to the president — and that they have little power to block it, according to multiple aides and advisers.”
The cost of the Mueller investigation
“It ended with a very poor performance (by Robert Mueller, testifying to Congress). And this is after more than two years of an investigation where they spent $45 million or something like that.” — October 21 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
“I fought off the Mueller hoax. I fought off all of them, and it continues. It’s just crazy. This has never happened to a president before, and they spend $45 million. … I could find something on you for $45 million, and you’re perfect.” — October 25 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling
“This is a hoax — just like there was no collusion. After two years, they found out and wasted $45 million. This is a disgrace that this could happen in our country.” — October 25 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure
“Spent $45 million, and they found nothing.” — October 25 speech to 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum
Facts First: The Mueller investigation cost $32 million, not $45 million, according to figures released by the Justice Department, and the government is expected recoup about $17 million as a result of the investigation, according to a CNN analysis of the sentences handed out to people charged by Mueller.
The vast majority of this $17 million is expected to come from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was ordered to forfeit assets and pay millions to the Internal Revenue Service.