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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s bent reality: Cohen, clean air, taxes

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Associated Press Photo

President Donald Trump speaks in the course of the 2018 Ohio Republican Get together State Dinner, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photograph/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump resides in an alternate actuality in terms of particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and different controversies swirling round him.

He laments the specter of a “perjury trap” in explaining why he’s hesitant to be interviewed by Mueller within the Russia probe, whilst Trump’s legal professionals assert that Mueller had dominated out making an attempt to indict a sitting president.

Trump additionally makes the head-scratching declare that the crimes of his ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, usually are not felony and falsely means that Paul Manafort, the president’s former marketing campaign chairman, ought to be seen as harmless even after being discovered responsible on a number of financial institution fraud and different expenses.

The statements got here in every week of distorted fact through which Trump additionally complained a few politician plagiarizing his slogan regardless of his historical past of doing the identical, wrongly claimed his tax cuts are the most important ever and defied knowledge in declaring the U.S. is No. 1 in environmental high quality.

A take a look at his rhetoric and the way they examine with the information:

RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

TRUMP, citing considerations of a “perjury trap”: “So if I say something and he (former FBI director James Comey) says something, and it’s my word against his, and he’s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: ‘Well, I believe Comey,’ and even if I’m telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That’s no good.” — interview with Reuters revealed Aug. 20.

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP’S ATTORNEY: “I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury.” — remarks Aug. 19 on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

THE FACTS: They’re making a disingenuous declare. Each Trump and his legal professionals level to a menace of perjury costs, whilst Giuliani has maintained that Mueller’s group indicated the particular counsel had dominated out the potential for indicting Trump.

Authorized specialists usually agree that sitting presidents can’t be indicted. Mueller would presumably be sure by Justice Division authorized memos from 1973 and 2000 suggesting that a sitting president is immune from indictment and that felony expenses would undermine the power of the commander in chief to do the job.

Trump and Giuliani falsely recommend that Mueller would be capable of simply deliver a perjury indictment based mostly solely on Comey’s contradictory testimony. Actually, perjury expenses are sometimes troublesome to show: Mueller must present past an inexpensive doubt that Trump deliberately lied. A conflicting assertion from Trump doesn’t rise to a felony offense if he arguably misunderstood, forgot, misspoke or misremembered info.

Mueller might additionally put together a report detailing allegations meant for Congress to behave upon as an impeachable offense. However impeachment is a political relatively than a authorized idea, strongly influenced by whichever celebration is in command of Congress.

Trump’s assertion of a “perjury trap” comes as he and his legal professionals have hedged on an interview amid a months-long negotiation over whether or not and the way investigators can query the president on attainable obstruction of justice within the Russia probe. Mueller’s staff has put ahead questions together with about his firing of Comey final yr and his public antagonism of Lawyer Common Jeff Periods.

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2016 ELECTION

TRUMP: “You know, they kept saying I had a problem with the women’s vote; I get 52 percent in the election.” — remarks Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

THE FACTS: No. Trump seems to be citing a determine pertaining to white ladies solely.

Amongst all ladies, about 54 % nationally voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, in line with exit polls, in contrast with Trump’s 41 %.

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COHEN AND MANAFORT

TRUMP: “Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: False. The marketing campaign finance violations are crimes. Whereas it’s not a criminal offense to pay somebody to maintain quiet, the Justice Division says the hush cash funds organized by Cohen to hide allegations of Trump’s extramarital affairs have been truly unreported marketing campaign contributions meant to affect the result of the election.

That’s a essential assertion as a result of it makes the funds topic to marketing campaign finance legal guidelines, which prohibit how a lot individuals can donate to a marketing campaign and bar firms from making direct contributions.

Although some marketing campaign finance specialists instructed earlier than the responsible plea that the funds to 2 ladies who say that they had intercourse with Trump might have been organized for different functions, corresponding to defending Trump’s private popularity, Cohen himself acknowledged that the objective was to have an effect on the election and shield Trump’s candidacy.

The $150,000 cost to former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal by Nationwide Enquirer writer American Media Inc. and the $130,000 cost to porn actress Stormy Daniels far exceeded permissible marketing campaign contribution limits.

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TRUMP: “A large number of counts, ten, could not even be decided in the Paul Manafort case. Witch Hunt!” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: The jury’s lack of consensus on 10 of 18 counts hardly makes Manafort an harmless man, or helps the notion that Mueller’s investigation is a “witch hunt.” Manafort, Trump’s former marketing campaign chairman, was discovered responsible on eight counts, together with submitting false tax returns and two financial institution fraud fees that may virtually definitely assure years of jail for him.

On the 10 different counts, the jury was unable to succeed in a unanimous verdict; they didn’t acquit him of these costs. Federal prosecutors have the choice to attempt him once more on these expenses or settle for what they’ve acquired.

Manafort faces one other trial in Washington subsequent month on separate expenses, together with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., cash laundering and witness tampering.

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POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

TRUMP: “Bill DeBlasio, the high taxing Mayor of NYC, just stole my campaign slogan: PROMISES MADE PROMISES KEPT! That’s not at all nice. No imagination!” — tweet Tuesday.

TRUMP: “‘Promises Made, Promises Kept.’ They’re copying it now, the Democrats.” — West Virginia rally Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Trump is a slogan copycat himself. His slogan about guarantees made and stored was utilized by President Barack Obama in his 2012 marketing campaign. Republican John Engler used it when he ran for re-election as Michigan governor in 1994.

“Make America Great Again” was utilized by President Ronald Reagan, preceded by “Let’s.”

“Drain the swamp” was a mantra of Home Democratic chief Nancy Pelosi in the course of the 2006 midterm election campaigns, in what turned out to be Democrats’ profitable bid to take management of the Home.

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CLEAN AIR

TRUMP: “I want clean air. I want crystal clean water. And we’ve got it. We’ve got the cleanest country in the planet right now. There’s nobody cleaner than us.” — West Virginia rally Tuesday.

THE FACTS: The USA doesn’t have the cleanest air on Earth. Not even shut.

The Related Press consulted 5 databases and stories. Every confirmed nations with cleaner air each in harmful small particles and in ozone, which is smog.

For instance, the Well being Results Institute’s state of worldwide air report discovered 65 nations with much less smog when adjusted for season and inhabitants. These embrace Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany, Norway, Canada and Venezuela. And within the extra harmful small particles, or soot, eight nations bested the U.S. Amongst them have been Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Yale’s efficiency index ranks america 10th in general air high quality behind Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and others. However in relation to harmful soot publicity ranges, america ranked 87th, simply behind the Philippines.

On the subject of clean water, the info comes near supporting Trump. Yale’s staff took the highest nations on the planet on consuming water and ranked all of them No. 1, together with america, though there are some technical variations amongst them.

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TAXES

TRUMP: “It is the biggest tax cut in the history of our country and you people are benefiting by it.” — West Virginia rally Tuesday.

THE FACTS: This biggest-ever declare has turn out to be one of many president’s favourite fabrications.

His tax cuts are nowhere near the most important in U.S. historical past.

It’s a $1.5 trillion tax reduce over 10 years. As a share of the entire financial system, a tax minimize of that measurement ranks a lowly 12th, in line with the Committee for a Accountable Federal Price range.

Are individuals already seeing advantages from the tax cuts? Corporations undoubtedly are.

Financial progress has picked up this yr due to the deficit-financed stimulus. Corporations are taking their tax financial savings and shopping for again inventory at a document tempo, in response to TrimTabs Funding Analysis.

However to date, the tax cuts haven’t delivered a serious shot of monetary adrenaline to most households.

One current estimate by former Treasury Division official Ernie Tedeschi is that the cuts are including $50 a month to common take-home pay, a determine that falls to $17 a month when larger state and native taxes are included within the estimate.

Nor are the cuts fueling greater wage progress.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that wages have dropped up to now 12 months after adjusting for inflation.

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IMMIGRANTS AND CRIME

TRUMP, praising Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “To hear some of the stories going on with MS-13, you wouldn’t believe it. And they’re doing an incredible job. They’re actually liberating towns.” — remarks Aug. 20.

TRUMP: “A vote for any Democrat in November is a vote to eliminate immigration enforcement, throw open our borders and set loose vicious predators and violent criminals. They’ll be all over our communities. They will be preying on our communities.” — West Virginia rally Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Trump means that weak border enforcement is contributing to crime dedicated by MS-13. However the gang truly has many U.S.-born members at this level — individuals who by advantage of U.S. citizenship can’t be denied entry based mostly on their nationality, or deported. The federal government has not stated just lately what number of members it thinks are residents and immigrants. In notable raids on MS-13 in 2015 and 2016, most people caught have been discovered to be U.S. residents.

Extra broadly, Trump overgeneralizes about individuals who arrive illegally within the U.S. A number of research have proven that immigration doesn’t result in elevated crime.

Overseas-born immigrants are much less more likely to commit crime than native-born People, the analysis discovered, however crime charges rise for succeeding generations as the youngsters and grandchildren of immigrants develop into extra like native-born People.

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TRUMP: “We have MS-13 on the run. They’ve poured in here with Obama, we have them on the run.” — remarks Tuesday.

THE FACTS: There’s no proof that MS-13 gangs “poured in” in the course of the Obama administration. The Justice Division has stated there are about 10,000 MS-13 members within the U.S., the identical quantity as greater than a decade in the past.

Trump’s Justice Division has not directly credited the Obama administration, in its early years, with placing heavy strain on the gang. It stated, “Through the combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, great progress was made diminishing or severely (disrupting) the gang within certain targeted areas of the U.S. by 2009 and 2010.”

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TRUMP: “The new platform of the Democrat Party is to abolish ICE.” — remarks Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

TRUMP: “Leading members of the Democrat Party have even launched a campaign to abolish ICE. In other words, they want to abolish America’s borders.” — remarks Aug. 20.

THE FACTS: Whereas some Democrats within the Home and Senate have raised the prospect of eliminating Immigration and Customs Enforcement, no prime Democrats within the Home or Senate have referred to as for such a transfer. These Democrats who’ve expressed openness to eliminating ICE have stated they might not abandon border enforcement, which is essentially carried out by Customs and Border Safety.

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Related Press writers Eric Tucker, Chad Day, Josh Boak, Seth Borenstein and Cal Woodward contributed to this report.

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Well being Results Institute: https://www.stateofglobalair.org/report

Yale’s Environmental Efficiency Index: https://epi.envirocenter.yale.edu/2018-epi-report/introduction

Berkeley Earth’s air air pollution monitoring: http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/air-quality/CountryList.php?mode=5

Institute of Well being Metrics and Analysis: http://www.healthdata.org/

World Well being Group’s City Ambient Air Air pollution: http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/AAP_database_summary_results_2016_v02.pdf?ua=1

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EDITOR’S NOTE _ A take a look at the veracity of claims by political figures