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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s mangled truths on Russia probe, Cohen

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Associated Press Photo

President Donald Trump listens to China’s President Xi Jinping converse throughout their bilateral assembly on the G20 Summit, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photograph/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump can’t appear to get his information straight with regards to the Russia investigation.

Dealing with strain as his former advisers are caught mendacity by particular counsel Robert Mueller, Trump is launching recent assaults on the probe as politically biased and Mueller as hopelessly “conflicted.” This runs counter to ethics specialists in Trump’s Justice Division who concluded that Mueller — a Republican — might pretty lead the probe into potential coordination between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia in the course of the 2016 election.

Trump additionally means that the crimes of his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, have “nothing” to do with him. That’s additionally improper. Cohen was the primary to implicate the president in open courtroom of a criminal offense. Final week, Cohen additionally pleaded responsible to mendacity to Congress about his efforts through the 2016 marketing campaign to line up a Trump Tower Moscow venture, saying he did so to align with Trump’s “political messaging.”

In the meantime, Trump displayed a slippery grasp of the surroundings in addition to commerce coverage. He additionally unfold round to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers a wildly false declare that folks within the nation illegally get extra help from the federal authorities than People get in Social Safety advantages.

A take a look at his statements and the truth:


TRUMP, on Cohen: “He was convicted with a fairly long-term sentence on things totally unrelated to the Trump Organization — having to do with mortgages, and having to do with cheating the IRS perhaps. A lot of different things. I don’t know exactly, but he was convicted of various things unrelated to us. …So, very simply, Michael Cohen is lying and he’s trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me.” — remarks to reporters Thursday.

THE FACTS: Cohen undoubtedly was in hassle for what he did for Trump. He pleaded responsible in August to a number of felony expenses and said in open courtroom that Trump directed him to rearrange funds of hush cash to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal to fend off injury to Trump’s White Home bid.

Cohen stated one cost was made “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” and the opposite was made “under direction of the same candidate.”

The Justice Division says the hush cash funds have been unreported marketing campaign contributions meant to affect the result of the election. That assertion 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.

It’s true that Cohen didn’t determine Trump, however there was no ambiguity in courtroom paperwork or in his assertion.

Cohen’s extraordinary assertion at his August plea listening to marked the primary time any Trump affiliate, in open courtroom, has implicated the president himself in a criminal offense.

Cohen’s responsible plea final week, in the meantime, featured Trump and conversations he and his household had with Cohen a few attainable Russian enterprise deal in the course of the 2016 marketing campaign at a degree higher than beforehand recognized.

Trump is, nevertheless, right that different earlier fees which Cohen admitted to didn’t contain the candidate or the marketing campaign and have been for tax deception.


TRUMP: “The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other. …Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Trump makes a baseless cost that Mueller is a “conflicted” prosecutor whose group is a bunch of “angry” Democrats.

Mueller, a longtime Republican, was cleared by the Justice Division to steer the Russia investigation. The division stated in Might 2017 that its ethics specialists “determined that Mr. Mueller’s participation in the matters assigned to him is appropriate.” The difficulty had come up due to his former place on the WilmerHale regulation agency, which represented some key gamers within the probe.

Some on Mueller’s staff owe their jobs largely to Republican presidents, whereas some others have certainly given cash to Democratic candidates through the years. However Mueller couldn’t have barred them from serving on that foundation as a result of laws prohibit the consideration of political affiliation for personnel actions involving profession attorneys. Mueller was appointed as particular counsel by Deputy Lawyer Common Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee.



TRUMP, on the passing of former President George H.W. Bush: “As a young man, he captained the Yale baseball team, and then went on to serve as the youngest aviator in the United States Navy during the Second World War.” — assertion Saturday.

THE FACTS: Trump mixes up Bush’s timeline, through which he postpone school to enlist within the Navy after the U.S. entered World Warfare II. Bush joined the Navy in 1942 upon graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, at age 18, six months after the December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was the youngest pilot within the Navy on the time.

Bush acquired an honorable discharge in 1945 and enrolled at Yale, the place he was captain of the baseball workforce. “A lot of us on the team were veterans and we had come back from the war, so maybe that made it a little less apprehensive,” Bush informed The Related Press in 2007. “On the other hand, it didn’t deduct from our enthusiasm and our desire to win, which we did not do.”



TRUMP: “Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go. If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets (sic) just make our Country richer than ever before.” — tweet Thursday.

THE FACTS: That’s not the way it works. Sure, cash from tariffs goes into the federal treasury, however it’s coming from U.S. companies, not from abroad. Tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter or authorities overseas.

Past that, tariffs paid by U.S. corporations are likely to end in larger costs for shoppers. So a tariff is a switch of wealth from enterprise to authorities, and typically from shoppers to authorities as nicely. It isn’t a overseas cost to the U.S.


TRUMP, on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Commerce Settlement: “The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly. It is probably the largest trade deal ever made, also.” — signing ceremony Friday.

THE FACTS: It’s not the most important commerce deal ever made. It covers the identical three nations as its predecessor, NAFTA. In distinction, the Uruguay Spherical of commerce negotiations concluded in 1994 created the World Commerce Group and was signed by 123 nations. The Federal Reserve Financial institution of Boston discovered the next yr that the WTO’s preliminary membership accounted for greater than 90 % of worldwide financial output.


TRUMP, on the pact with Canada and Mexico: “This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever.” He additionally referred to the pact as a “landmark agreement.” — ceremony Friday.

THE FACTS: Truly, the pact preserves the construction and substance of NAFTA, which was unquestionably a landmark, whether or not for higher or worse.

In a single new function, the deal requires that 40 % of automobiles’ contents ultimately be made in nations that pay autoworkers at the very least $16 an hour — that’s, in the USA and Canada and never in Mexico — to qualify for duty-free remedy. It additionally requires Mexico to pursue an overhaul of labor regulation to encourage unbiased unions that may discount for greater wages and higher working circumstances for Mexicans.

However the settlement is essentially an incremental revision of NAFTA. Philip Levy, senior fellow on the Chicago Council on International Affairs and a commerce official in Republican President George W. Bush’s White Home, says: “President Trump has seriously overhyped this agreement.”



TRUMP: “Remember the previous administration said, oh, manufacturing jobs, that will never happen. I kept saying, what’s he talking about? Manufacturing, we got to make things, right? They said manufacturing jobs would never come back. You’d need a magic wand. Well, we found the magic wand. And they’re great jobs. They’re high-paying jobs. They’re brilliant jobs. They’re important jobs.” — Biloxi, Mississippi, rally on Nov. 26.

THE FACTS: No magic wand has swept throughout manufacturing.

Sure, manufacturing jobs have been added beneath Trump, however the sector is nowhere near its previous glory.

As of October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics exhibits that eight.53 % of the 149.eight million U.S. jobs have been in manufacturing. Again in October 2008, 9.65 % of U.S. jobs have been in manufacturing. Even when factories hold hiring staff, factories are unlikely to return to the prominence of Trump’s childhood as a result of so many different segments of the U.S. financial system — reminiscent of well being care — have grown.

In 1946, the yr Trump was born, almost a 3rd of U.S. staff had manufacturing jobs.

Progress in manufacturing employment started in President Barack Obama’s second time period, when 386,000 jobs have been added, and accelerated underneath Trump, with 416,000 extra jobs in his first 21 months.


TRUMP: “Our steel industry a year ago was dead, and now it’s one of the most vibrant anywhere in the world, because we stopped the steel dumping and we put a big tax on. When they steel dump, they can dump all they want, but they pay 25 percent on everything they dump, and our steel now is doing great. Our industry has come back.” — Mississippi rally.

TRUMP: “Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country.” — tweet Thursday.

THE FACTS: He’s exaggerating the restoration of the metal business.

As of October, there have been 381,700 jobs within the manufacturing of main metals comparable to metal. That determine seesaws based mostly off commodity costs and international financial efficiency. Nevertheless it’s clearly trended downward since 2000 when the sector had 621,800 jobs.

It’s troublesome to know simply what number of jobs will probably be added by newly deliberate mills. However development spending on factories has but to take off considerably after having been in decline between 2016 and far of 2018. Nonetheless, the spending has rebounded in current months. Development spending on factories has elevated four.three % up to now yr, in accordance with the Census Bureau.

A yr in the past, the metal business employed 141,200 individuals, says the Labor Division. Now, 145,100. That’s a achieve of three,900 jobs throughout a interval when the general financial system added 2.5 million jobs.

Metal wasn’t at dying’s door a yr in the past and it isn’t “back” in any historic sense.



TRUMP: “General Motors is very counter to what other auto, and other companies are doing. Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country. Auto companies are pouring into the U.S., including BMW, which just announced a major new plant. The U.S.A. is booming!” — tweet Thursday.

THE FACTS: This auto business growth doesn’t exist.

Automakers have been steadily hiring since 2010 when Obama was president. However the tempo of job positive aspects has slowed significantly since Trump took workplace, in line with the Labor Division. That’s in all probability a mirrored image of slowing gross sales relatively than any coverage modifications by Trump.

U.S. auto gross sales are down zero.2 % by means of October largely due to a 13 % plunge in automotive gross sales. Truck and SUV gross sales are up eight %. All of the factories GM needs to shut make slow-selling automobiles.

The Labor Division discovered that automakers added 30,600 jobs throughout Obama’s final yr in workplace. That fell to eight,200 in 2017 after Trump turned president. Automakers have been on tempo earlier than the GM layoffs so as to add eight,660 jobs this yr.

Regardless of the job progress in recent times, auto corporations make use of far fewer staff than they did in 2000. Greater than 1.three million individuals held auto jobs in 2000, a complete that now stands at roughly 970,000.

Basic Motors Co. isn’t alone in chopping staff. Crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. is simply beginning to restructure its white-collar workforce, and hundreds are anticipated to be let go by the center of subsequent yr.

Additionally, BMW didn’t announce a serious new plant. Its CEO stated Tuesday the corporate is contemplating a brand new U.S. engine manufacturing unit to provide meeting crops in South Carolina and Mexico. The German automaker now imports engines and transmissions from Europe for SUVs made within the U.S., and it’s constructing a brand new manufacturing unit in Mexico.



TRUMP: “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” — interview Tuesday with The Washington Submit.

THE FACTS: No, the air isn’t the cleanest ever. The air usually has been getting cleaner because the 1970s, however the downward development in air pollution has made a little bit of a U-turn since Trump took workplace.

His Environmental Safety Company launched knowledge that confirmed conventional air air pollution — soot and smog — elevated in 2017 and that the air is just not the cleanest it has ever been.

The times with an unhealthy variety of small air pollution particles, typically referred to as soot and linked to coronary heart and lung issues and deaths, jumped from 2016 to 2017 in 35 main metropolitan areas. In 2017, there have been 179 unhealthy soot days, up 85 % from 97 in 2016. Final yr had probably the most unhealthy soot days since 2011.

The variety of days with unhealthy smog ranges was down from 2016, however larger than 2015, 2014 and 2013.

The variety of days when the air high quality index was unhealthy was 729 in 2017. The variety of days is larger than a yr as a result of it counts every metropolis’s unhealthy studying on a sure day as one and there are quite a few cities concerned.

Final yr’s degree was the very best since 2012 and a 21 % improve over the cleanest air in 2014.


TRUMP: “I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from?” — Submit interview.

THE FACTS: Singling out Asia for America’s soiled Pacific seashores is an evasion.

Pacific currents do convey some trash from Asia, most noticeably through the 2011 tsunami, however it’s uncommon that scientists can hint trash to a selected geographic location, stated oceanographer Kara Lavender Regulation on the Sea Schooling Affiliation, who stated Trump’s “statement is not supported by the data.”

People soiled their very own coastlines as a result of “we produce double more trash per person than most of the people living in Southeast Asia,” stated Jenna Jambeck, a College of Georgia environmental engineering skilled who research marine particles.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, on Trump rejecting a dire White Home report’s conclusion on the financial prices of local weather change: “This report is based on the most extreme modeled scenario, which contradicts long-established trends. …This is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts.” — press briefing Tuesday.

THE FACTS: She’s incorrect. The 29-chapter report truly lays out numerous situations that the United Nations’ local weather assessments use. Economists say the price estimates are credible and should even understate the financial impression.

The Nationwide Local weather Evaluation report considers three situations in estimating future prices. One is the business-as-usual state of affairs, which scientists say is closest to the present state of affairs. That’s the worst case of the three situations. One other would envision modest reductions in heat-trapping gases, and the third would contain extreme cuts in carbon dioxide air pollution.

For instance, underneath the business-as-usual state of affairs by which emissions of heat-trapping gasses proceed at present ranges, labor prices in outside industries throughout warmth waves might value $155 billion in misplaced wages per yr by 2090. Modest reductions in carbon air pollution would reduce that to $75 billion a yr, the report stated.

The report talks of a whole lot of billions of dollars in financial losses in a number of spots. In a single graphic, it exhibits the worst-case business-as-usual state of affairs of financial prices reaching 10 % of gross home product when Earth is a few dozen levels hotter than now with no particular date.

Economist Ray Kopp, a vice chairman on the assume tank Assets For the Future and who wasn’t a part of the evaluation, stated the economics and the science within the report have been sound.

Yale economist William Nordhaus, who gained the 2018 Nobel prize for economics for his work on local weather change, advised The Related Press that his calculations present local weather change would value the USA a good larger $four trillion a yr on the finish of the century with an inexpensive projection of warming. He stated the White Home report’s financial conclusions used normal financial modeling.



TRUMP’s retweet: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT (retweet) if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.” — posted Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Mistaken nation, fallacious numbers, mistaken description of authorized standing of the recipients. Apart from that, immigrants who’re within the U.S. illegally don’t qualify for many federal advantages, even once they’re paying taxes, and people with authorized standing make up a small portion of those that use public advantages.

The $three,874 refers to a cost made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted household of refugees. It was largely a one-time resettlement cost underneath Canada’s refugee program, not month-to-month help in perpetuity, the fact-checking website Snopes discovered a yr in the past in debunking a Fb submit that misrepresented Canada’s coverage. A doc cited within the Fb submit, displaying help for meals, transportation and different fundamentals wants, utilized to a household of 5.

Aside from complicated Canada with the USA, the tweet distributed by the president misstated how a lot People get from Social Safety on common — $1,419 a month for retired staff, not $1,200.

General, low-income immigrants who are usually not but U.S. residents use Medicaid, meals assist, money help and Supplemental Safety Revenue help at a decrease fee than comparable U.S.-born adults, based on an Related Press evaluation of census knowledge. Non-citizen immigrants make up solely 6.5 % of all these collaborating in Medicaid, for instance.

Regardless of that, the administration needs to redefine the principles for immigrants to additional prohibit who can obtain advantages and for a way lengthy.


Related Press writers Eric Tucker, Paul Wiseman, Josh Boak, Christopher Rugaber, Seth Borenstein and Colleen Lengthy in Washington and Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report.


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