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 Post subject: Re: Swamp Watch News
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:54 am
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Why does anyone need to lie this much ... in just two weeks worth of talking? Why does the Base need to be lied to this much?

Quote:
From an imaginary restraining order to a phantom drop in NATO spending: Trump makes 99 false claims in two weeks
12:27 PM EST December 21, 2019


President Donald Trump made 99 false claims over the two weeks that ended last Sunday.

Trump made 22 of the false claims at a campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He made 16 of them in a lengthy exchange with reporters during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The economy was Trump's top subject of dishonesty, with 25 false claims. He made 22 false claims about military affairs, largely on account of his presence at a NATO summit. He made 15 false claims about NATO itself, 11 about impeachment.

Trump is now averaging 63 false claims per week since we started counting at CNN on July 8, 2019. He made 38 false claims last week, 61 the week before.

He is now up to 1,450 total false claims since July 8. A breakdown of the lowlights from the last two weeks:

The most egregious false claim: An imaginary restraining order
Trump has no shortage of factual ammunition for bashing former FBI senior counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who exchanged anti-Trump texts while being involved in the investigation into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia (and while having an affair).

But Trump is rarely satisfied with accurate attacks when he can do more damage to his foes' reputations with inaccurate ones. At his December 10 campaign rally in Pennsylvania, he alleged that one of either Strzok or Page had obtained a restraining order against the other.

Most presidents try to limit their public storytelling to stories they know to be accurate. Not Trump, an eager purveyor of rumor and insinuation, he told the crowd: "I don't know if it's true. The fake news will never report it. But it could be true. No, that's what I heard, I don't know."

There is not a hint of evidence that the story is true. Page tweeted that it was a "lie."

The most revealing false claim: An assault in Maryland

Trump comes to many of his rally speeches armed with graphic accounts of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. At the Pennsylvania rally, he recited accurate details of a horrifying recent Maryland case during which a man allegedly strangled and raped a woman who was trying to enter her apartment.

Then, appearing to ad-lib for a moment, Trump said, "She was raped and killed, strangled to death."

The victim was not killed. Police reported that doctors said she could have been killed by the strangulation, but she survived.

We might be inclined to think Trump had made an innocent error had he not done this kind of needless exaggerating before. At one event last year, for example, he began to read out his text's accurate claim that the MS-13 gang on Long Island, New Yorkhad called for the murder of a police officer, then decided to turn it into a false claim that MS-13 actually did murder the police officer.

The most absurd false claim: Rewriting campaign history

Trump's general approach to history: if you don't like it, rewrite it.
The Louisiana governor candidate for whom Trump campaigned hard, Eddie Rispone, lost to incumbent John Bel Edwards by 2.7 percentage points. Trump claimed twice this month that Rispone lost by less than one percentage point.

And that was not the month's most egregious attempt to revise his political past. At the NATO summit, Trump told reporters that, with the exception of that race in Louisiana and another governor's race in Kentucky, "I've won virtually every race that I've participated in."
"Virtually" is vague, but Trump was wrong however you slice things. He was omitting the defeats of two Alabama Senate candidates he had touted at rallies in 2017, a Virginia governor candidate he had repeatedly tweeted to promote in 2017, and a Pennsylvania congressional candidate and Montana and West Virginia Senate candidates he had promoted at rallies in 2018.

Here's the full list of 99 false claims, starting with the new ones we haven't previously included in one of these roundups:

Foreign and military affairs: The Turkey-Syria border

"We pulled our soldiers out and we said, 'You can patrol your own border now. I don't care who you do it with, but we're not going to have soldiers patrolling the border that's been fought over for 2,000 years.'" -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron)
"And I read a couple of stories just two days ago that, 'Wow, that deal that Trump did with Turkey' -- because I want to get our soldiers out of there. I don't want to be policing a border that's been fought over for 2,000 years." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

Facts First: There is no basis for the claim that there has been fighting over the Turkey-Syria border for 2,000 years; modern-day Turkey and Syria were both part of the Ottoman Empire that was only dissolved after World War, and the border between them is less than 100 years old.

"The border he refers to -- the Turkish-Syria border -- was established in 1923 with the Treaty of Lausanne and the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The exception to this is the province of Hatay, which passed from Syrian to Turkish control following a referendum," said Lisel Hintz, assistant professor of international relations and European studies at Johns Hopkins, who called Trump's claims "patently and irresponsibly false." Of the current conflict between Turkey and Kurdish groups based in Turkey and in Syria, Hintz added, "Not only have these groups not been fighting over a border for 2,000 years, none of these groups or even the border in question existed 200 years ago."

Augusta University history professor Michael Bishku said "Trump is totally incorrect with his history."

Germany's military spending

"...Germany is paying 1 to 1.2% -- at max, 1.2% -- of a much smaller GDP. That's not fair." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)
Facts First: Trump's "max" figure for Germany's defense spending was out of date. While Germany did spend 1.24% its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense in 2018, according to NATO figures, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government increased defense spending in 2019 to an estimated 1.38% of GDP, according to NATO -- still shy of the alliance's 2% target, but higher than Trump said.
Trump might have simply been unaware of the German increase, but it also appeared in NATO's official report in June. (At that point, the alliance estimated that Germany would be at 1.36% of GDP this year.)

Military spending by NATO members, part 1

On 10 separate instances, Trump made inaccurate claims about increases in military spending by NATO members. He claimed that: 1) He "got NATO countries to pay 530 Billion Dollars a year more." 2) This increase in NATO spending will recur on an annual basis. 3) The increase will be $400 billion in "three years."

Facts First: Trump was inaccurate in all three ways. NATO says that, by 2024, non-US members will have spent a total of $400 billion more on defense than they did in 2016 -- not that they will be spending $400 billion more "a year." Trump's math was faulty when he added the $130 billion current increase over 2016 levels to the $400 billion increase expected by 2024; the $400 billion figure includes the $130 billion. And, again, the $400 billion increase is expected by 2024, not in "three years."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained during a meeting with Trump on December 3 that non-US NATO members have added a total of $130 billion to their defense budgets since 2016. By 2024, Stoltenberg said, "this number will increase to $400 billion."

NATO has made clear in public documents and statements that the $400 billion figure represents the planned cumulative spending increase for non-US members since 2016; NATO is not saying that these countries will be spending $400 billion more every year, as Trump suggested.
NATO spokesman Matthias Eichenlaub pointed CNN to November comments in which Stoltenberg said that the $400 billion was an "accumulated increase in defense spending by the end of 2024."

We won't call Trump wrong when he takes credit for the spending increases, since Stoltenberg himself has repeatedly given him credit, but it's worth noting that non-US members began boosting their defense budgets following Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and a 2014 NATO recommitment to the alliance's target of having each member spend 2% of Gross Domestic Product on defense.

Military spending by NATO members, part 2

"In the 3 decades before my election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds..." -- (December 2 tweet)

Facts First: There are numerous possible ways to interpret Trump's vague claim, but we could not find any way to parse the data that resulted in a finding that "NATO spending declined by two-thirds" over the three decades prior to Trump's election in 2016. Neither could two experts we asked to delve into the numbers.

"Short answer, this tweet makes no sense to me, and I don't see any evidence backing up this 'decline by two thirds' business," said Timothy Andrews Sayle, author of the book Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order and an assistant professor of history and director of the international relations program at the University of Toronto.

Expert Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher in the arms and military expenditure program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, noted that Trump might have been closer to correct had he said that the share of gross domestic product that European NATO members spent on defense declined by two-thirds in the three decades before his election. According to official NATO data, European NATO members were spending an average of 3.7% GDP on defense between 1980 and 1984 and 3.5% in 1986; the figure had dropped to about 1.5% in 2016, a reduction at least in the general vicinity of "two-thirds."
But, again, Trump did not say the more-accurate version of the claim. And when you crunch the actual military spending by NATO members in various ways -- we won't delve into all of the possible ways the experts said Trump's comment could be interpreted -- there was nowhere near a two-thirds decline, both experts found.

Accounting for inflation, official NATO data shows a decline well under one-third in military spending by non-US members between 1989, as the Cold War with the Soviet Union neared an end, and 2016. (NATO noted that additional countries were added to the alliance over that period, so it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.) Wezeman analyzed the data using only the NATO countries that were part of the alliance in 1986 and still found an inflation-adjusted decrease of well under one-third.

CNN's coverage of Middle East protests

Trump said that, after he announced in 2017 that he would move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, "A day went by, and a second day went by, and there was no violence. I heard there was going to be massive violence. They showed violence -- because about 20 people were violent in the front row, but there was nobody behind them. So CNN had the cameras very low, pointing to the sky ... They said, 'Massive crowds have gathered. Massive crowds.' And I looked, I said, 'That's a strange angle. I've never seen that angle.' It was like -- you had a cameraman sitting on the floor pointing up. But every once in a while, you say, 'There's nobody behind the people in the front row. What's going on?' And it was a con. It was fake news as usual." -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

Facts First: CNN's coverage of these 2017 protests did not use deceptive camera angles or exaggerate the size of the crowds. (FactCheck.org, which conducted its own in-depth review of CNN's coverage, also found no evidence for Trump's claims.)

It is possible Trump was referring to a CNN report from the West Bank on December 7, 2017, the day after Trump's announcement about the embassy. The camera bobbed upward and downward during the last portion of segment -- but only because the photojournalist carrying the camera was running from tear gas being used by Israeli forces.
CNN reporter Ian Lee, who now works for CBS, said in the report that "you are seeing a lot of people go out in the street and voice their anger," but Lee did not describe the crowds as "massive." CNN's article on the day's protests, written by Lee and two others, included the following sentences: "Speaking in Jerusalem, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN that protests there were relatively small and had been largely contained. 'We've dealt with much larger, both in terms of number, scale, size, seriousness of incidents.'"

In a December 12, 2017, report on subsequent West Bank protests, CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon said, "The number of Palestinians who have taken to the streets remains, relatively speaking, low." She said that the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces were "in fact, a little muted, at least by what the expectations were."

Trump is correct that there was not major violence at protests immediately following his December 2017 announcement, but there was at protests on the day the Jerusalem embassy was officially opened in May 2018. The New York Times reported that day: "By late in the evening, 58 Palestinians, including several teenagers, had been killed and more than 1,350 wounded by gun fire, the (Israeli) Health Ministry said. Israeli soldiers and snipers used barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory. The Israeli military said that some in the crowds were planting or hurling explosives, and that many were flying flaming kites into Israel; at least one kite outside the Nahal Oz kibbutz, near Gaza City, ignited a wildfire."

Impeachment: Adam Schiff's comments and defamation law

"This guy is sick. He made up the conversation. He lied. If he didn't do that in the halls of Congress, he'd be thrown into jail. But he did it in the halls of Congress, and he's given immunity." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: Trump was correct that Rep. Adam Schiff has legal immunity under the Constitution for comments he made at a House committee meeting in September about Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (We've written that those comments were at least confusing.) However, Trump was wrong when he said Schiff would be "thrown into jail" if he had made these comments outside of Congress.

Let's temporarily set aside the question of the accuracy or inaccuracy of Schiff's remarks. Apart the fact that it would be exceedingly unusual for an elected official to be criminally prosecuted for offering a rendition of the President's comments, even an inaccurate rendition, there is no law under which Schiff might conceivably be charged: as PolitiFact noted, there is no criminal defamation law in Washington, D.C. (where Schiff was speaking), in California (Schiff's home state), or in federal law.

A quote from Fox News, part 1

"'The Democrats haven't come up with a smocking (sic.) gun. Nancy Pelosi, by raising this to the level of Impeachment, has raised the bar impossibly high. This comes after three years of nonstop investigations of Trump, the Russian collusion narrative, the Mueller Report, & now the American people are supposed to believe that this simply isn't a part of everthing (sic.) they've been trying to do for the last three years? I think it is really a hard sell for Nancy Pelosi.' @DanHenninger The Wall Street Journal." -- (December 8 tweet)

Facts First: Trump omitted the portion of Henninger's comments on Fox News in which Henninger said things less favorable to Trump -- such as that the House of Representatives could have voted to censure him for trying to get Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden. In between the sentences Trump quoted, Henninger said, "Everyone can agree or disagree about the rightness or wrongness of what Donald Trump did with the president of Ukraine, intervening, trying to get him to investigate Joe Biden. And indeed that's a voteable issue; voters can make up their minds about that, and indeed the House could have voted to censure Donald Trump, the will of the House being that this is wrong."

We give Trump significant latitude to make errors when quoting people on television, but we call it a false claim when he alters the meaning of the quote with major changes or omissions.

A quote from Fox News, part 2

"'The American people are going to see this for what it is. It is a political effort by the Democrats, and the President certainly doesn't have to aid in the Impeachment effort.' Robert Ray @MariaBartiromo" -- (December 2 tweet)

Facts First: Trump again omitted an unfavorable and significant part of the quote. This time, he left out Ray saying that Democrats may (or may not) be correct that impeachment will help their chances in the 2020 election.

Here's what Ray said on Fox News, with the key Trump omission in italics: "I think the American people are going to see this for what it is. I think they do understand at bottom that this is a political effort. The Democrats have made a calculation that this is their best way forward in order to maximize their chances in the 2020 election. They may be right or they may be wrong about that, that remains to be seen. But the President certainly doesn't have to aid in the Impeachment effort."

Elections: The Louisiana governor race

"And after getting them into a runoff, he picked up 14 points because they thought he was going to lose to a popular governor -- John Bel Edwards. Good guy. Popular governor. He almost won. He lost by less than a point." -- December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
"And Louisiana was a long shot. It was less than 1%. He came up 12 or 14 points -- a lot." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: Republican Eddie Rispone lost the Louisiana governor race to Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards by about 2.7 percentage points, 51.33% to 48.67%, not by "less than a point" or "less than 1%."
(In addition, Trump's claim that Rispone had gained 12 or 14 points is highly questionable. Trump may have been referring to a single poll, a month before the vote, that had Rispone down 16 points, but most polls had the race in the single digits.)

Trump's campaign history

"But with the exception of those two races (in Louisiana and Kentucky), where I had a huge impact because I raised them up almost to victory and they had no chance -- with the exception of those two, I've won virtually every race that I've participated in." -- December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Facts First: Though many of the Republican candidates for whom Trump has campaigned have gone on to win, it's not true that Trump has won "virtually every race" in which he has participated. The following candidates were all defeated after Trump touted them at campaign rallies: Alabama Republican Senate primary candidate Luther Strange in 2017, Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in 2017 after he beat Strange in the primary, Pennsylvania Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone in 2018, Montana Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale in 2018 and West Virginia Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey in 2018.

Virginia Republican governor candidate Ed Gillespie also lost in 2017 after Trump tweeted repeatedly to promote him.

The Mueller investigation: "An overthrow of government"

"This was an overthrow of government. This was an attempted overthrow. And a lot of people who were in on it, and they got caught. They got caught red-handed." -- (December 9 remarks at roundtable on school choice)

Facts First: There is no evidence that the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia was an "attempted overthrow" of Trump.

Michael Horowitz, inspector general for the Justice Department, found "basic and fundamental errors" in the FBI's handling of applications for surveillance of former Trump campaign foreign policy aide Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Horowitz emphasized the seriousness of these mistakes in his December report and congressional testimony.

But Horowitz did not find evidence that the department or the FBI in particular were attempting some sort of coup -- nor even that there had been intentional misconduct. Horowitz found that the FBI had a legitimate basis to open the investigation into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia and that the decisions to investigate the campaign and individual campaign aides were not driven by political bias.

During Horowitz's congressional testimony, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked him, "Is there any evidence that you found that the FBI tried to overthrow the president?" Horowitz responded, "No, we found the issues we identified here. That's what we found." When Blumenthal said, "I didn't find any conclusion that the FBI meddled or interfered in the election to affect the outcome," Horowitz replied, "We did not reach that conclusion."

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

Mocking former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI senior counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who had an affair while working together, Trump said, "This poor guy -- did I hear he needed a restraining order after this whole thing, to keep him away from Lisa? That's what I heard. I don't know if it's true. The fake news will never report it. But it could be true. No, that's what I heard, I don't know." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: There is no evidence that either Strzok or Page ever obtained or sought a restraining order against the other. Page said on Twitter: "This is a lie. Nothing like this ever happened."

Immigration: Deportations to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador

"And Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- we signed a very important agreement with each. When their people come into our country, they weren't taking them back. Now they take them back and they say, thank you very much. They weren't taking them back. If we had a murderer from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, we want to bring them back -- under past administrations, they bring them, they said, 'We don't want them. Don't land your plane with us.' They say, 'Thank you very much. We will take them back.' Because we've let them know the price is very bad if they don't do that." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania.)

Facts First: Trump was mixing up two separate issues. While the Trump administration does have new agreements with all three countries, those agreements are related to the handling of people who come to the US seeking asylum, not criminals the US is seeking to deport. In 2016, just prior to Trump's presidency, none of the three countries was on the list of countries that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) considered "recalcitrant" (uncooperative) in accepting the return of their citizens from the US.

Randy Capps, director of research for US programs at the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, confirmed that Trump was "confusing" different things. Capps said Trump was "way off base" on this claim.

Capps noted that in the 2016 fiscal year, the last full year before Trump took office, ICE reported that Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador ranked second, third and fourth for the country of citizenship of people being removed from the US. The same was true in the 2017 fiscal year, which encompassed the end of Barack Obama's presidency and the beginning of Trump's. ICE did not identify any widespread problems with deportations to these countries.

In July 2016, ICE deputy director Daniel Ragsdale testified to Congress that there were some exceptions to the rule: "It is important to note that while countries may generally be cooperative, sometimes they may delay or refuse the repatriation of certain individuals. For example, El Salvador, a country that is generally cooperative, has recently delayed the issuance of a number of travel documents where there is no legal impediment to removal."

So Trump could have accurately made a less sweeping claim. But he was exaggerating when he declared that the three countries simply "weren't taking them back."

An arrest in Maryland

"Since Montgomery County, Maryland declared itself a sanctuary jurisdiction in July, we have already identified nine illegal aliens who have been arrested for rape, sexual assault, including a 26-year-old man charged with raping and viciously strangling a young, wonderful woman, who was entering her apartment, innocently entering her apartment. She was raped and killed, strangled to death." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: The victim in this August case was not killed. The Washington Post reported that the victim "was taken to a hospital for her injuries. Police said in a statement that 'doctors advised detectives that the severity of the strangulation the victim suffered could have resulted in her death.'"

Trump was correct that nine undocumented immigrants have been charged with rape or sexual assault in this Maryland county since July, according to local media reports and a September tweet from Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Democrats: Beto O'Rourke and religion

"We had one candidate who turned out not to be too good a candidate, right? Beto. Beto. Remember? So he wanted to get rid of religion -- the Bible." -- December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Facts First: Unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman, never proposed to "get rid of religion" or the Bible.

O'Rourke sparked controversy by proposing to strip tax-exempt status from religious institutions, including churches, that oppose same-sex marriage. O'Rourke said "there can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break" for any entity "that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us."

Trump is free to criticize O'Rourke's proposal as a violation of the First Amendment, but it's a major exaggeration to claim that proposing to strip certain churches' tax exemptions is the same as proposing to eradicate religion or the Bible.

Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax

"You're not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. You're not going to vote for the wealth tax. 'Yeah, let's take 100% of your wealth away.'" -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

Facts First: Warren is not proposing to take away 100% of anyone's wealth. Her wealth tax proposal is for "an annual 2% tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million and a 6% tax on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion."

Elizabeth Warren's health care plan

"Her ridiculous plan would cost $52 trillion. That's more money than we take in in one year, two years, three years, four years, five years, six years -- about seven years. That's for one year, $52 trillion." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: Warren's campaign says her Medicare-for-All proposal would require a total of $52 trillion in health care spending over 10 years, not one year. (The Urban Institute think tank estimates that $52 trillion is also the amount that would be spent on health care under current law.) Trump is free to question the Warren campaign's financial assumptions, but $52 trillion for one year is inaccurate.

Trump was also inaccurate when he suggested that $52 trillion is "about seven years" worth of federal revenue. The federal government took in $3.3 trillion in 2018; at that level, $52 trillion would actually represent about 16 years' worth of federal receipts. Trump might have been attempting to refer to how Warren's proposal would require $20.5 trillion in new spending by the federal government over the next decade; that is roughly six years of federal revenues at the present level, so Trump would be much closer to correct.

Warren has proposed a variety of ways to generate the $20.5 trillion, including higher taxes on wealthy people, increased corporate taxes, improved tax enforcement, new employer fees, and new payments from state and local governments.

Economy: The stock market

Trump was asked about the Dow falling 400 points early that day, December 3, in apparent response to comments he made earlier in the day about the state of trade talks with China. He responded, "Well it's up -- let me tell you. We took it up -- it was about at 16,000 or 15,000. And now it's almost at 30,000. It's gonna be at 30,000." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: The Dow has increased by more than a third during Trump's presidency, but he was exaggerating where it started. The Dow opened (and closed) just under 20,000 points on the day of his inauguration, not at 15,000 or 16,000. If you go back to the day of his election, as Trump prefers to do, the Dow was over 18,000 points.
The Dow closed over 27,000 on December 3.

November jobs expectations

"The numbers came out, as you saw on Friday, with a number of jobs that nobody believed possible: 200 -- well over 200,000. They were thinking about 50. Some people thought it would be 50,000, 60,000." -- December 9 remarks at roundtable on school choice.

"It was announced that 266,000 jobs were added in November. And that shattered all expectations. They were thinking about 70,000. They were thinking about 90,000 -- which isn't so bad. Two hundred and sixty-six thousand." -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

"Just last week, we announced that we smashed expectations and created 266,000 jobs in November -- a number that was unthinkable a day before. A day before, they were guessing, 'Would it be 80? Would it be 90? Would it be 160?' Somebody said -- an optimist. And this was 266,000..." -- (December 12 speech at White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave)

Facts First: While the number of jobs added by the US economy in November, 266,000, did exceed analysts' expectations, those expectations were much higher than Trump claimed. The median estimate from economists surveyed by Reuters was 180,000 jobs added -- and the lowest of the economists' estimates was 120,000 jobs added. (So one of Trump's many figures, the "160,000," does fall within the range of estimates.)

Trump did not specify who he was talking about when he repeatedly referred to an unnamed "they"; it is certainly plausible that somebody somewhere thought that a mere 50,000, 60,000, 70,000, 80,000 or 90,000 jobs would be added. But Trump created the impression that he was talking about the expectations of economic experts.

The currencies of Brazil and Argentina

"Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies. which is not good for our farmers. Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries. The Federal Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar by further devaluing their currencies." -- (December 2 tweet)

Facts First: While the Brazilian real and the Argentinian peso had declined against the US dollar in the weeks prior to Trump's announcement, and for the year, experts say there was no evidence either country had been intentionally devaluing either currency. To the contrary, "the evidence shows that Argentina and Brazil have been trying to do the opposite of what President Trump accuses," said Paul Angelo, fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. "In fact, this year alone the Brazilian government has repeatedly intervened to slow devaluation of the real and Argentina has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in August trying to shield the peso following a political shock."

The Wall Street Journal reported after Trump's announcement: "...few economists and analysts agreed with Mr. Trump's claim that the two countries have been manipulating their currencies...Neither Brazil nor Argentina has been featured in the U.S. Treasury Department's currency report, the official vehicle for designating nations as manipulators."
Bloomberg reported: "While it's true the Brazilian real and Argentine peso have weakened against the greenback this year, policy makers in Brasilia and Buenos Aires appear worried rather than happy about this. 'Trump should be thanking Brazil and Argentina,' said Andre Perfeito, chief economist at Necton, a Sao Paulo-based brokerage. 'Their governments have adopted measures that seek to rein in the depreciation of their currencies.'"

Russian energy production

Claiming that Russia wishes he had lost the election, Trump said, "We are now number one in the world in energy; Russia's number three. We're beating out Russia and Saudi Arabia." -- December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: Russia was second in the world in petroleum and natural gas production every year from 2014 through 2018, far exceeding the production of third-place Saudi Arabia in each of those years, according to an August report from the US government's Energy Information Administration. (Russia was in first place from 2008 through 2013.)
If you include "biofuels, and refinery processing gain, among other liquid fuels" in the count, as the Energy Information Administration did in a 2017 analysis, the US became number one in the world in 2012, not 2014. Regardless, Russia has consistently been in second place by this broader measure as well since the US became number.

No matter which measure you use, Trump's use of the word "now" is arguably misleading. The US has been number one since the presidency of Barack Obama, whom Trump has repeatedly accused of perpetrating a "war on American energy."

The American and Chinese economies

"We're much larger than China now, because we've gone up and they've gone down." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: The US has not just "now" become a larger economy than China; that was also the case before Trump took office. And China continues to close the gap: while China's economy is growing at its slowest rate since 1992, It is still reporting growth greater than that of the US.

China reported 6% economic growth in the third quarter of 2019; the US reported 2.1% third-quarter growth. China's official figures are not always reliable, but there is no doubt that growth is occurring. In October, the International Monetary Fund predicted 6.1% growth from China in 2019 and 5.8% growth in 2020.

Global warming and the oceans

Mocking fears about global warming, Trump said, "The ocean's going to rise. One eighth of an inch within the next 250 years. We're going to be wiped out!" -- December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Trump was greatly understating scientists' estimates of rising sea levels. Even in 80 years, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects sea levels to rise by a foot or more.

As FactCheck.org noted, a September report from the UN panel estimated an increase in the global mean sea level by about 1 feet to 2 feet over 1986-2005 levels by 2100 -- even under a lower-carbon-emissions scenario; the report projected much higher increases in a scenario in which emissions were higher. "Under a higher emissions scenario, the report said, 2 to 3.5 feet of sea level rise are expected," FactCheck.org noted. "By 2300 -- three decades after the president's timeframe -- sea level rise is likely to be 2 to 3.5 feet, even under lower emissions, according to the IPCC report. With higher emissions, the likely range is between a whopping 7.5 to 18 feet."

Here are the claims Trump made over these two weeks that we have previously fact checked in one of these weekly roundups:

Ukraine and impeachment: The timing of Rep. Adam Schiff's comments

"He made up my statement, because -- see, I did one thing very good. As soon as I heard about this deal, I released my statement immediately. But he had already made horrible statements." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: Trump can reasonably criticize Schiff for Schiff's comments at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in September; as we've written before, Schiff's mix of near-quotes from Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his own analysis, and supposed "parody" was at the very least confusing. But Schiff spoke the day after Trump released the rough transcript, not before Trump released the transcript.

The accuracy of the whistleblower

"By the way, the whistleblower: the whistleblower defrauded our country, because the whistleblower wrote something that was totally untrue...They wrote something totally different from what I said." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)
"The whistleblower wrote a totally false statement. So it's a fraud." -- (December 13 exchange with reporters at meeting with Paraguayan President Description Mario Abdo Benítez)

Facts First: The whistleblower's account of Trump's call with Zelensky 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.

The rough transcript

"They didn't even know, probably, that we had it transcribed, professionally transcribed, word-for-word transcribed, so beautiful." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: The document released by the White House explicitly says, on the first page, that it is not an exact transcript of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, testified to Congress 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. Vindman testified that the document was "substantively correct," but he made clear that it was not a verbatim account.

The whistleblower being "gone"

"Where's the whistleblower? He's disappeared, he's gone...the whistleblower is gone. He flew the coop because he reported incorrectly..." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)
"But once I released it, all of a sudden the second whistleblower disappeared. The first whistleblower, who was all set to testify, he -- all of a sudden, he becomes this saint-like figure that they don't need him anymore. The one that everybody wanted to see, including Schiff, was the whistleblower. Once I released the text of what happened -- the transcript -- that was the end. Everybody disappeared. So now there's no informer. There's no second whistleblower. Everybody has gone." -- (December 13 exchange with reporters at meeting with Paraguayan President Description Mario Abdo Benítez)

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 said they had 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 in October, when Trump made another version of this claim.

The first whistleblower's lawyers, Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, wrote in the Washington Post in October: "Because our client has no additional information about the president's call, there is no justification for exposing their identity and all the risks that would follow."

The existence of the second whistleblower -- who never planned to file a separate whistleblower complaint -- was revealed after Trump released the rough transcript of his call with Zelensky, not before.

European assistance to Ukraine

"The other thing nobody remembers and nobody likes to talk about -- and I talk about it all the time -- is why isn't Germany, why isn't France, why aren't other European countries paying? Because we're paying. The suckers... Why aren't European countries paying? Why isn't France paying a lot of money? Why is it always the United States?" -- (December 13 exchange with reporters at meeting with Paraguayan President Description Mario Abdo Benítez)

Facts First: European countries, including France and Germany, have provided hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of assistance to Ukraine since Russia's invasion in 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged European "help" during his meeting with Trump at the United Nations in September, though he said the world's efforts had been inadequate so far: "And, I'm sorry, but we don't need help; we need support. Real support. And we thank -- thank everybody, thank all of the European countries; they each help us. But we also want to have more -- more."

Zelensky's comments

"Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls." -- (December 2 tweet)
"The Ukrainian president came out and said, very strongly, that 'President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong.'" -- (December 2 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure)
"I had a very, very good conversation with the head of Ukraine. And, by the way, yesterday, he came out again and reaffirmed again that we had a very, very respectful, good conversation -- that President Trump did nothing wrong." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

Facts First: Trump was mischaracterizing Zelensky's comments in an interview published by Time magazine. Zelensky did not say Trump "did nothing wrong."

Asked about "this issue of the quid pro quo" with regard to US military aid to Ukraine and the investigations Trump and his allies wanted, Zelensky responded, "Look, I never talked to the President from the position of a quid pro quo. That's not my thing." But Zelensky continued: "I don't want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We're at war. If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us. I think that's just about fairness. It's not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying."

Trump is entitled to tout Zelensky's statement about not talking to Trump "from the position of a quid pro quo," but those words aren't equivalent to Zelensky saying Trump did nothing wrong.

Impeachment hearings

Trump complained about an impeachment hearing that the House Judiciary Committee had scheduled, then said, "For the hearings, we don't get a lawyer, we don't get any witnesses." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: Unlike the impeachment inquiry hearings that were held in November by the House Intelligence Committee, Trump was allowed to have his lawyer participate in the House Judiciary Committee proceedings in December. Trump declined the offer to have a lawyer appear at the particular hearing he was complaining about here, during which four constitutional law scholars appeared. Also, a Republican lawyer was permitted to question witnesses at the House Intelligence Committee hearings, though Trump's own lawyers were not.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to Democratic House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler that "an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process."

Though the Democrats got to control the witness lists, since they hold the House majority, the House Intelligence Committee did hear testimony from three former officials whom Republicans had requested as witnesses: Kurt Volker, the former special representative for Ukraine; Tim Morrison, former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia; and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Economy: Ivanka Trump and jobs

"Fourteen million people she's gotten jobs for, where she would go into Walmart, she would go into our great companies and say, 'They really want help. They really want you to teach them,' because the government can't teach like the companies can teach. And companies would take a half a million people, a million people. And her goal when she started it two years ago was 500,000 jobs; she's done over 14 million." -- (December 12 speech at White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave)

Facts First: Ivanka Trump has obviously not "gotten jobs for" 14 million people. At the time, roughly 7 million jobs had been created during the entire Trump presidency.

Trump was referring to the White House's Pledge to America's Workers initiative, in which Ivanka Trump has sought to get companies to commit to providing "education and training opportunities" for workers.

As of Wednesday, companies had promised to create 14.4 million opportunities -- but many of these opportunities are internal training programs, not new jobs. Also, as CNN has previously reported, many of the companies had already planned these opportunities before Ivanka Trump launched the initiative.

Unemployment

"We have the best unemployment numbers and employment numbers. We have the best numbers we've ever had in our country." -- (December 10 exchange with reporters before Marine One departure)

Facts First: The unemployment rates for some demographic groups are at their lowest levels "ever," but the overall unemployment rate is not -- though it is indeed impressively low.

The overall rate was 3.5% in November -- the lowest since 1969, with the exception of the 3.5% rate in September, but well above the record 2.5% set in 1953.

Unemployment for women

In two separate instances, Trump said that women's unemployment is "at a record number" and that it is "the lowest in 71 years."
Facts First: The unemployment rate for women was not a "record," nor the lowest in "71 years." It had been 66 years, not 71 years, since the women's unemployment rate has been as low as it was in November, 3.5%. (That's if you ignore the 3.4% in September and April.)

The steel industry

"And the steel companies are doing incredibly well. They were finished." And "...they were ready to close up -- all of them -- and now they're doing great." -- December 9 remarks at roundtable on school choice
"But the steel industry, in particular, was -- we weren't going to have a steel industry...Everything was closing down." -- (December 6 remarks at roundtable on small business and red tape)

Facts First: The US steel industry was not "finished" before Trump imposed his tariffs on imported steel, nor was "everything" shutting down. While some American steel companies were struggling, not "all of them" were anywhere close to closing. In fact, some major companies were thriving.

Bloomberg reported in an October 2018 fact check: "In fact, U.S. steelmakers Nucor Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc. were two of the healthiest commodity companies in the world before Trump took office."
There is no doubt that the steel industry had declined from its heyday: the number of people working in iron and steel mills or in making steel products fell from more than 250,000 in 1990 to under 150,000 by 2016. Still, "finished" is an exaggeration. In 2016, the US produced about as much raw steel as it did at various points in the 1980s.

Steel plants

"And now the steel industry -- if you look at what's going on, the industry is doing incredibly well. They're building a lot of extensions. They're building brand-new plants where they never...they never built a new plant. I mean, they hadn't built one in years, and now they're building new plants all over the country." -- (December 6 remarks at roundtable on small business and red tape)

Facts First: While some steel plants were closing, being idled or otherwise doing poorly before Trump took office and before Trump imposed his tariffs on steel imports, some other plants were being built or expanding at the time.

A simple Google search brings up numerous 2015 announcements about planned investments in steel plants. For example, Steel Dynamics announced a $100 million expansion at a mill in Mississippi. Commercial Metals announced a $250 million investment to build a micro-mill in Oklahoma. Nucor and a partner announced a $75 million investment in improvements at a mill in Arkansas. Ferrous CAL announced a $53 million investment in a Michigan plant to make steel for automotive companies.

Energy production

"We ended the last administration's war on American energy. The United States is now -- and I said it, and I'll say it all night long, number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And there's nobody even close." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: The US has not just "now" become the world's top energy producer: it took the top spot in 2012, according to the US government's Energy Information Administration -- under the very Obama administration Trump is accusing of perpetrating a "war" on the industry.

The US became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump's tenure. "The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when US natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and it has been the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when its production exceeded Saudi Arabia's," the Energy Information Administration says.

Wage growth

"...more importantly than anything, wages are up for the first time in many, many years, decades, decades." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: Wages have been rising since 2014, using one common measure.

There are various ways to measure wage growth. Median usual weekly earnings, one way that is frequently cited, began increasing in mid-2014 -- though slowly -- after a decline that began in the recession year of 2009. Median usual weekly warnings went from $330 per week in the second quarter of 2014 to $349 per week in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Trump can accurately boast that wage growth during his presidency has been faster than under Obama, but he is wrong to suggest it was declining before he took office.

Obama and manufacturing jobs

"And the previous administration said -- manufacturing -- 'you'd need the magic wand.' You know, we've all heard the statement. But they basically said it was a dead business, when in fact it's one of the most important sets of jobs I think you can have anywhere." -- (December 6 remarks at roundtable on small business and red tape)

Facts First: Trump's "magic wand" comment was a reference to a remark President Barack Obama made at a PBS town hall in 2016. Obama scoffed at Trump's promises to bring back what Obama called "jobs of the past" without providing specifics on how he would do so.

Contrary to Trump's claims, though, Obama didn't say manufacturing was dead or that new manufacturing jobs could not be created; Obama boasted of how many manufacturing jobs were being created during his presidency, saying, "We actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today than we've had in most of our history."

Median household income and energy

"With President Trump, it (median household income) went up $5,000, but whoa, whoa, whoa, in less than three years. That's a big thing. Wait. And then when you add energy savings and you add tax savings, you have almost a $10,000 gain in three years." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: There is no basis for Trump adding an additional $5,000 to the initial $5,000 in household income growth he is asserting. (That initial $5,000 figure is based on the findings of a firm called Sentier Research). It is entirely unclear what Trump is referring to when he talks about "energy savings"; household energy costs have increased since Trump took office, as have gasoline costs. (Gasoline costs are lower than they were for most of Obama's presidency, but higher than they were in 2016.)

China and trade: China's economic performance

In three separate instances, Trump said that China is having its worst economic year "in 57 years," "in 56 or 57 years now," and "in at least 57" years, "much more than that."

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.

Who is paying for Trump's tariffs on China

"And now we're taking in billions of dollars in tariffs. And, by the way, they're eating it. You know, remember, you used to tell me how it will cost us -- they're eating that money because they don't want to lose their supply chains." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: Study after study, including a report in late November from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has shown that Americans are bearing the vast majority of the cost of the tariffs. And it is Americans who make the actual tariff payments.

The history of tariffs on China

"We're taking in a lot of money. We haven't taken any money from China ever, and it's coming in now by the billions." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: Again, Americans are paying for these tariffs. Regardless, it's not true that the US Treasury has never received any money from tariffs on Chinese products. The US has had tariffs on China for more than two centuries; FactCheck.org reported that the US generated an "average of $12.3 billion in custom duties a year from 2007 to 2016, according to the US International Trade Commission DataWeb."

The US also "takes" in money from Chinese purchases of US products -- more than $300 billion during Trump's presidency alone.

China's wealth

Trump said China is "down about $32 trillion" over the last three years. -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

Facts First: Trump was vague about what he meant, but there is no apparent basis for this figure. (In late November, Trump used different figures: "$24 trillion," "probably $25 trillion," and "probably ... $30 or $35 trillion.") Experts on the Chinese economy rejected previous Trump claims of a $10 trillion drop in Chinese wealth.

George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University's China Centre, said, "I'm afraid I have no idea to what the President is referring and I dare say neither does he."

The US record at the World Trade Organization

"We never used to win before me, because, before me, the United States was a sucker for all of these different organizations. And now they realize -- the World Trade Organization realizes that my attitude on them: If they don't treat us fairly, well, I'll tell you someday what will happen. And we've been winning a lot of cases at the World Trade Organization. We virtually -- very rarely did we ever win a case. They took advantage of the United States." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

Facts First: The US has long won cases at the World Trade Organization, and there is no evidence that WTO adjudicators have suddenly changed their behavior. Trump's own Council of Economic Advisers said in a report in February 2018 that the US had won 86% of the cases it has brought since 1995. The global average was 84%.

A Bloomberg Law review in March found that the US success rate in cases it brings to the WTO had increased very slightly since Trump took office, from 84.8% in 2016 to 85.4%.

The trade deficit with the European Union

"But we have a very unfair trade situation, where the US loses a lot of money for many, many years with the European Union -- billions and billions of dollars. I mean, to be specific, over $150 billion a year." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron)

Facts First: The trade deficit with the European Union was $114.6 billion in 2018, $101.2 billion in 2017, $92.5 billion in 2016. The deficit was $169.6 billion in 2018 if you only count trade in goods and ignore trade in services. But Trump, as usual, failed to specify that he was using this more limited measure.

We'll ignore Trump's characterization of trade deficits as losses, which is sharply disputed by many economists.

Immigration: Democrats and borders

Trump said three times that Democrats support "open borders."
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.

Mexican soldiers and the border

"...and Mexico is now giving us 27,000 soldiers at our border..." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)
"Right now, we have 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our southern border telling people, 'You can't come in.'" -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

Facts First: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Trump exaggerated how many are being stationed near the US border in particular.

CNN reported on November 2: "Nearly 15,000 troops are deployed to Mexico's northern border, where they've set up 20 checkpoints, Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said last week at a press briefing on the country's security strategy. At the southern border, 12,000 troops are deployed and have set up 21 checkpoints."

Acting US Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan has offered similar numbers, telling reporters in September that 10,000 of approximately 25,000 troops were on Mexico's southern border.

Foreign and military affairs: Obama and the ISIS caliphate

"We've defeated the ISIS caliphate. Nobody thought we could do that so quickly. I did it very quickly. When I came in, it was virtually 100%. And I knocked it down to 0. I knocked it down to 0." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

"Al-Baghdadi created a caliphate bigger than the state of Ohio, think of that, that's a big caliphate. And we now have taken 100% of the caliphate...and with Obama you did nothing, you did nothing, but get your ass kicked." -- December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Facts First: Trump is free to criticize Obama's conduct of the war against ISIS, but it's not true that "nothing" was accomplished under Obama in the fight to eradicate the terror group's self-proclaimed "caliphate," nor that ISIS possessed "virtually 100%" of this territory when Trump took office.

Nicholas Heras, Middle East Security Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said that "at the time of his inauguration in January 2017, the Obama administration had regained close to 50% of ISIS's would-be Caliphate."

Estimates of pre-Trump progress against ISIS vary -- some put the Obama-era progress closer to a third of former ISIS territory -- but Heras' estimate roughly squares with news reports from the end of the Obama era. Regardless of the precise figure, there is no doubt that ISIS had lost a substantial portion of its land holdings under Obama.

The cost of moving the embassy to Jerusalem

"So, two years ago, I recognized the true capital of Israel, and we opened the American embassy in Jerusalem. And we got it built. They were thinking anywhere, for one billion to two billion dollars. I did it for $350,000." -- (December 11 speech at Hanukkah reception and signing of executive order against anti-Semitism)

Four days pror, Trump told a lengthy version of this story, saying he was initially told the Jerusalem embassy project would cost "$2 billion" or "up to $2 billion" but managed to get it built for "less than 500,000 bucks." -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

Facts First: The State Department awarded a $21.2 million contract in 2018 for a company to design and build "compound security upgrades" related to Trump's decision to turn the existing facility into an embassy. While the initial modification that allowed the building to open as an embassy cost just under $400,000, that was not the final total.

The size of the Iran deal

In three separate claims, Trump said President Barack Obama "gave $150 billion" to Iran, "paid $150 billion" to Iran, and gave Iran a "$150 Billion gift."

Facts First: Trump was wrong about the "$150 billion": the sum in question was Iranian money frozen in foreign financial institutions because of sanctions, not US government money -- and experts say the total was significantly lower than $150 billion. You can read a fuller fact check here.

The Obama administration did send Iran $1.7 billion to settle a decades-old dispute over a purchase of US military goods Iran made before its government was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Military spending by NATO members

"It was going down for close to 20 years. If you look at a chart, it was like a rollercoaster down, nothing up. And that was going on for a long time. You wouldn't have had a NATO if you kept going that way." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

"So NATO, which was really heading in the wrong direction three years ago — it was heading down. If you look at a graph, it was to a point where I don't think they could have gone on much longer." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron)

Facts First: Military spending by NATO members had increased for two years prior to Trump's presidency. According to the latest NATO figures released in November, spending increased by 1.7% in 2015 and 3.0% in 2016.

US military spending, part 1

"Now we have spent two and a half trillion dollars on rebuilding our military. And we have a military that's the most advanced, the most powerful, by far, of any in the world. Two and a half trillion dollars. We rebuilt our military." -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. 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.

US military spending, part 2

Trump said on two occasions that the US is spending "4 to 4.3%" of Gross Domestic Product on defense.

Facts First: The US is expected to spend 3.42% of GDP on defense in 2019, according to NATO estimates issued in November -- similar to its 2018 spending level.

Ammunition

Trump said that when he took office, the US military "was in trouble." He added, "We didn't have ammunition." -- December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Facts First: According to military leaders, there was a shortfall in certain kinds of munitions, particularly precision-guided bombs, late in the Obama presidency and early in the Trump presidency. But the claim that "we didn't have ammunition" is a significant exaggeration. Military leaders did not say that they had completely run out of any kind of bomb, let alone ammunition in general.

You can read a full fact check of Trump's claims about munitions levels here.

ISIS prisoners

"But many are from France, many are from Germany, many are from UK. They're mostly from Europe." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron)

Facts First: French President Emmanuel Macron correctly told Trump that it is not true that "most" ISIS prisoners in Syria are from Europe.

James Jeffrey, Trump's special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, said on August 1 that roughly 8,000 of about 10,000 terrorist fighters being held in northeastern Syria are Iraqi or Syrian nationals; there were "about 2,000 ISIS foreign fighters" from all other countries. Trump himself tweeted in February to ask that European countries take back "over 800" ISIS fighters captured in Syria.

Macron fact-checked Trump to his face, saying: "The very large number of fighters you have on the ground are ISIS fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq, and the region. It is true that you have foreign fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem we have in the region."

An agreement with South Korea

Trump claimed that South Korea had agreed to an increase of "almost $500 million" in its payments to the US for the cost of having US troops based in the country. He said that this increase brought the South Korean payment "close to" $1 billion from a previous $500 million. -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

Facts First: Trump was correct about the new total but exaggerated the size of the increase, as he has repeatedly on this subject in the past. As the New York Times reported in February when debunking an earlier version of Trump's "$500 million" claim: "Under the one-year deal, this year South Korea will pay 1.04 trillion won, or $925 million, an increase of $70 million from last year's $855 million."

Trump is now trying to get South Korea to agree to a much larger increase for 2020. American and South Korean officials said this week that they have so far failed to reach an agreement and that the next round of talks is scheduled for January.

Trump and Brexit

"You know that I was a fan of Brexit. I called it the day before. I was opening up Turnberry the day before Brexit...And they asked me whether or not Brexit would happen. I said 'yes,' and everybody smiled and they laughed. And I said, 'Yes, it's going to happen, in my opinion.' It was just my opinion. The next day, they had the election, and I was right." -- (December 3 exchange with reporters at meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)

Facts First: Trump was not even at Turnberry the day before the vote; he visited the club and spoke to the press the day after the vote. Trump did predict Brexit in March 2016; the day before the vote three months later, however, he made no prediction. He said in an interview that day with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, "I don't think anybody should listen to me," because "I haven't really focused on it very much," but that his "inclination" would be that Britain should vote to leave the European Union.

Iran's economy

"Their GDP went down 25% this year. Twenty-five. Nobody has ever even heard of that." -- (December 7 speech to the Israeli American Council National Summit)

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. While Iran's economy is shrinking, the Statistical Center of Iran reported that the country's GDP fell by 4.9% in the year 2018-2019.

Experts say there is no apparent basis for Trump's "25%" figure even though Iran's official economic data is less reliable than official data in the US.

"It's still not iron-clad stuff, but if the situation was anywhere near 25% decline then the official stats would at least be in the teens. This is also why folks cross-check these numbers with independent and global institutional data (such as IMF's). My suspicion is that it's closer to 13-15% decrease, which still puts it a good 10% points below Trump's claim," Hussein Banai, an assistant professor who studies Iran at Indiana University's School of International Studies, said in an email in October, when Trump made another version of this claim.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast a 9.5% contraction in Iran's economy this year -- down from an earlier estimate of a 6% contraction, but still not 20% or 25%. The World Bank has forecast an 8.7% contraction in the 2019-2020 period.

Environment: Wind power

"Those windmills, wah wah wah [windmill sound]. 'Darling, I want to watch television tonight and there's no damn wind. What do I do? I want to watch the election results, darling, there's no wind, the damn wind just isn't blowing like it used to because of global warming, I think. I think it's global warming.'" -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: Using wind power as part of a mix of power sources does not cause power outages even when the wind isn't blowing, as the federal Department of Energy explains on its website. "Studies have shown that the grid can accommodate large penetrations of variable renewable power without sacrificing reliability, and without the need for 'backup' generation," the Department of Energy says.

Air quality

"Look, I want clean air. I want clean water, crystal clean. I want -- and that's what we have at a record level. Our air and our water are cleaner now than it's ever been, OK, with all that we're doing." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: By several measures, US air was cleaner under Obama than it has been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.

Additionally, there were more "unhealthy air days" for sensitive groups in 2018 than in 2016 -- 799 days across the 35 American cities surveyed by the EPA, up from 702. Though there were significantly more "unhealthy air days" in Obama's first term than there have been in Trump's, the lowest amount of unhealthy air days -- 598 -- occurred in 2014 under Obama.

Judicial vacancies

"We will soon have 182 federal judges, including court of appeals, nobody can believe it. All because Barack Obama gave us 142 empty seats." -- December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Facts First: Trump exaggerated. According to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments, there were 103 vacancies on district and appeals courts on Jan. 1, 2017, just before Trump took office, plus a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Pre-existing conditions

"We will strongly protect patients with pre-existing conditions." -- (December 10 campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania)

Facts First: We usually don't fact check promises, but this one has already proved untrue. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void. He has not issued a plan to reinstate the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions if the suit succeeds.

The government's land holdings

"Secretary Dave Bernhardt. Where is David? David is the largest landlord in the country by a factor of about 50. By a -- when we think we big landlords, he controls half of the United States, actually. Secretary of the Interior." -- December 11 speech at Hanukkah reception

Facts First: We know Trump was speaking informally here, but "half of the United States" 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.

Road approval times

"...to build a road can take 22 years to get approvals...And we've got that process down to four and a half years. It's going to be -- I think it's going to be two years. We're going to try and get it down to almost one year." -- (December 6 remarks at roundtable on small business and red tape)

Facts First: There is no evidence Trump has reduced the approval time for federal road approvals.

This version of Trump's claim was more accurate than his usual one. Though he has repeatedly claimed, inaccurately, that he has gotten the approval time down to two years or less, he acknowledged here that the approval time is significantly longer than that.

Nonetheless, he was wrong when he claimed that the current approval time represents a Trump-era improvement. 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. (There is no apparent basis for Trump's "22 years" claim; he might be referring to some particular exceptional case.)

We asked the Department of Transportation if we are missing something, but we did not receive a response. We will update this item if we receive any new information.

Approval among Republicans

Trump claimed five times to have a "95%" approval rating among Republicans. On four of those occasions, he said this was "a record." He twice claimed that Ronald Reagan is in second place at "87."
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 81% approval with Republicans in an Ipsos/Reuters poll conducted December 9-10, 85% in a Fox News poll conducted December 8-11, 91% in a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted December 9-11, 92% in a Quinnipiac University poll conducted December 4-9.

Reagan does not hold the record for Republican approval, and his peak was higher than 87%. Gallup's website features data on approval rating by party for every president since Harry Truman; George W. Bush hit 99% in Gallup polling after the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. His father, George H.W. Bush, hit 97% at the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Dwight Eisenhower all went higher than 90%.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:21 pm 
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Sociopaths like him will never admit to being wrong. It's always someone else's fault, someone else is lying, someone else is misreporting facts, etc. And then his fans will repeat “He’s #1!” over and over, again and again.

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 Post subject: Re: Swamp Watch News
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:01 am 
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FACTS

1. Trump is under investigation for bribery.
2. He met with a Democratic rep on Day 1.
3. The Dem rep voted against Trump's impeachment on Day 2.
4. On Day 3, Trump and the rep held a presser where the rep switched to the GOP.
5. Trump gave the rep money on Day 4.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administra ... o-van-drew


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:17 am 
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Icarus wrote:
FACTS

1. Trump is under investigation for bribery.
2. He met with a Democratic rep on Day 1.
3. The Dem rep voted against Trump's impeachment on Day 2.
4. On Day 3, Trump and the rep held a presser where the rep switched to the GOP.
5. Trump gave the rep money on Day 4.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administra ... o-van-drew


That's the legal, ordinary kind of political bribery. It's not much of a story.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:21 am 
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In the less legal, less ordinary category:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/trump ... t-weekend/


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:35 pm 
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The simple tragedy of Trump always being right is that he never learns from his mistakes, because in his mind he never makes one. He is stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:21 pm 
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MeDotOrg wrote:
The simple tragedy of Trump always being right is that he never learns from his mistakes, because in his mind he never makes one. He is stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence.

Yours is a very narrow and somewhat adolescent view of Trump. He has proven to be rather consistent in his style. His philosophy of chaos as a negotiation tool may be unsettling to some and even outdated to others (here's looking at you 1980s), but it has yielded results. And when we take a non-emotional view at what has been accomplished in the past 36 months, his effectiveness at accomplishing goals is admirable....even though you may disagree with the policy. Just notice how the 9th circuit court suddenly has suddenly been reformed to having 25% conservative judges. This is something that likely would have been difficult without the hair-fire distraction of pee tapes etc....you know, all the meaningless stuff that has no impact on any of our actual lives.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:26 pm 
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subgenius wrote:
This is something that likely would have been difficult without the hair-fire distraction of pee tapes etc....you know, all the meaningless stuff that has no impact on any of our actual lives.


Why would it have been difficult sub?

I'm sure Cocaine Mitch doesn't mind when people like you misunderstand where power is coming from, but you really misunderstand which politician is driving this.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:11 pm 
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Richard Painter called it felony bribery. Trump is in the middle if an impeachment and he's funneling money to GOP senators who he needs to rule in his favor.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:04 pm 
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EAllusion wrote:
subgenius wrote:
This is something that likely would have been difficult without the hair-fire distraction of pee tapes etc....you know, all the meaningless stuff that has no impact on any of our actual lives.


Why would it have been difficult sub?

I'm sure Cocaine Mitch doesn't mind when people like you misunderstand where power is coming from, but you really misunderstand which politician is driving this.

I have long touted the openly titular nature of modern day POTUSs; but that is irrelevant to the point wherein the distraction was deliberate and has permeated the tactics of this administration's past 36 months. But hey, whip out your tin foil hat and distract us all with another rousing round of your pontifications.
As far as the diminished "difficulty", such congressional approvals may have been less smooth had the media covered it with the same veracity as they cover Acosta peeing on Dr Dr Ford. But i am sure you were sooooo aware of these events and more and just made a choice to focus on Stormy instead...because of her 2 issues you always care about....or maybe i just missed alll those other threads and posts you made during these dark times....not as dark as boyfriends telling girlfriends violent thoughts...but dark indeed.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:23 pm 
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k

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:08 pm 
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subgenius wrote:
... his effectiveness at accomplishing goals ...
Just notice how the 9th circuit court suddenly has suddenly been reformed to having 25% conservative judges.


You would have to be naïve to think that Trump has anything to do with the selection of nominees. You'd be doubly naïve to think that 'distractions' have anything to do with the pace of this Administration's confirmations, given the refusal of an opposition Senate in working on Obama's appointees.

From: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2 ... -to-trump/

Quote:
Donald Trump inherited 88 district and 17 court of appeals vacancies. Fourteen months later he proclaimed “when I got in we had over 100 federal judges that weren’t appointed. I don’t know why Obama left that … Maybe he got complacent.”

The reasons for the vacancies—old news to most—was the flimsy confirmation record in the 2015-16 Senate (the 114th), with its new Republican majority. Just as it refused to consider Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, it shut down the lower court confirmation process. That’s water under the bridge. But documenting how the 114th Senate ratcheted up the contentiousness and polarization of an already broken confirmation process suggests how much harder it will be to ratchet it back into something with more comity and bipartisanship. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now insists that there’s nothing “we can do …that’s more important … than confirming judges as rapidly as we get them.” Commentators boast that “Trump has had a massive impact on the federal bench.” The Republican majority refuses to grant Democratic senators privileges that Republicans and Democrats exploited vigorously in previous administrations.

Senate Democrats in turn are using their reduced arsenal of parliamentary maneuvers to slow down confirmations. If they get a Senate majority in divided government, confirmations will stop, long-term vacancies will proliferate, and sitting judges and litigants will pay the price.

The 114th’s record pales when compared to the final two years of the Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations. Then, as in 2015-16, the other party controlled the Senate. The 114th Senate both confirmed far fewer judges than its recent other-party predecessors and stopped confirming them at a much earlier point. Some of the 2016 vacancies Trump inherited occurred after any confirmation clock would have stopped. Still, of the 21 circuit vacancies he’s filled as of late May and others he soon will, up to seven could have had Obama appointees under pre-2015 norms. So too, up to 71 of the district vacancies he inherited and has only begun to fill could have had Obama appointees.

2015-16 confirmations vs. previous final-two-year confirmations

Final two-year court of appeals (CA) confirmations in 2015-16 were eight fewer than in George Bush’s final two years; district confirmations were 40 fewer. Those confirmations were even fewer compared to Clinton’s and Reagan’s. Final two-year confirmations were mostly 20% or more of all eight-year confirmations for Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, but dropped to four and seven percent for Obama.

Court of appeals nominees: when they were submitted and when confirmations stopped

The 114th’s two circuit confirmations were renominated 2014 holdovers. None of the seven circuit nominees that Obama submitted in 2015 or 2016 was confirmed. They had been submitted in early 2016 (a few without home-state Republican senator support). In Reagan’s, Clinton’s, and Bush’s final two years, the other-party Senate confirmed circuit nominees that had been submitted in the eighth year as late as June (Reagan), February (Clinton), and April (Bush).

The 114th’s final circuit confirmation was in January 2016. Other-party Senates in previous administrations confirmed circuit nominees in the eighth year as late as October (Reagan), July (Clinton) and June (Bush).

Circuit vacancies that Trump inherited: what became of them?

Trump has filled six of the seven circuit vacancies that had Obama nominees. The seventh, a December 2015 California vacancy, remains without a Trump nominee, probably the result of bargaining with ranking Judiciary Committee member Dianne Feinstein.

Trump also filled two other vacancies that date from 2012 and 2013, both in Texas. They went nominee-less under Obama, almost certainly because Texas’s Republican senators used their blue-slip veto threat to thwart any nominations. (Previously, if either-party home-state senators opposed a nominee by not returning the Judiciary committee chair’s blue-paper inquiry about their support, it stopped the nomination. A threat to do so made it pointless even to submit the nominee in question.) Trump circuit nominees are now proceeding to confirmation over home-state senator objections.

District court nominees: when they were submitted and when confirmations stopped

Of the 114th Senate’s 42 unconfirmed district nominees, 19 had been nominated in 2015, the rest in early 2016, no later than April. In each of the final two-year periods for Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, the other-party Senates confirmed nominees who had been submitted as late as July of the eighth year.

Of the 114th’s 18 district confirmations, nine were 2014 holdovers, and nine were 2015 nominees. No 2016 nominees were successful. The last successful nominee might have been a June 2015 submission but for the fact that Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa sped his two 2015 Iowa nominees (from July and September) to comparatively speedy February confirmations. (The median time for the other 16 confirmations was 11 months. Trump’s 17 district appointees have moved to confirmation in a median of six months.)

The 114th Senate confirmed its final district judge in July 2016. Previous other-party Senates were confirming district judges into September and October of the eighth year.

District vacancies Trump inherited: what became of them?

Trump inherited 71 district vacancies, not including those created after July 2016. Under previous norms, the 114th Senate would have confirmed a good many of Obama’s 42 unconfirmed pre-May 2016 nominees. Trump has submitted 30 nominees for those 42 vacancies, nine of whom have been confirmed. Four of his nominees to nominee-less vacancies under Obama have also been confirmed, as have four nominees to vacancies occurring in late 2016 or beyond.

Trump renominated 11 unsuccessful Obama nominees, most the result of White House bargaining with home-state Republicans. So, the 114th’s Senate’s slow-walking won’t have kept them from eventual confirmation, but it extended the vacancy periods by one or more years, with attendant strain on sitting judges and litigants.

Were Obama’s unconfirmed nominees less qualified?

No, based on the average American Bar Association ratings (awarding 4 to “well-qualified” rankings, 3 to mixed “well-qualified/qualified, 2 to “qualified” and 1 to mixed “qualified/not qualified” or “not qualified”) The average for his 18 confirmed district nominees was 3.1 and 3.3 for his unsuccessful district nominees. His two successful and seven unsuccessful circuit nominees had an average rating of 3.0. Of Trump nominees, confirmed and pending, whom the ABA had ranked by May 25, district nominees had an average rank of 2.9, his circuit nominees 3.3. The comparisons aren’t precise because the ABA ranked Obama’s nominees before they became public, but ranked Trump’s after nomination, perhaps encouraging some interviewees to be less than candid.

Final observation

The 114th Senate contributed to the contentiousness and polarization of the once semi-ministerial task of confirming judge. There is no reason to expect the process to get any better. We are reaching the point that confirmations stop unless the same party controls the White House and Senate.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:18 pm 
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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
k


Lol, SSDD - watching subs attempting to make folks think that the voter in the street could have an effect on the Senate's judicial confirmation process, if not being 'distracted' by Trump.

It's bad enough that he pretends to not understand how this actually works - while fooling no-one - but then he assumes that others are like himself in suffering from an inability to chew gum and walk at the same time.


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 Post subject: Re: Swamp Watch News
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:25 pm 
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subgenius wrote:
As far as the diminished "difficulty", such congressional approvals may have been less smooth had the media covered it with the same veracity as they cover Acosta peeing on Dr Dr Ford. But i am sure you were sooooo aware of these events and more and just made a choice to focus on Stormy instead...because of her 2 issues you always care about....or maybe i just missed alll those other threads and posts you made during these dark times....not as dark as boyfriends telling girlfriends violent thoughts...but dark indeed.


So, no is answer then. Let me help you. The Senate was going to push through FedSocish judges regardless which Republican was President because they have the votes to do so and the popularity of their actions does not concern them. There has been a fair amount of negative news coverage towards Trump's appointees and the speed with which they are being confirmed, but the structural inability of Democrats to do anything about it has limited that to some extent.

You might struggle to be aware of more than one news story at a time, but other people aren't, and no one you are interacting with here is too distracted to be aware of how judge appointments are going. I imagine most of the people you are interacting with are probably better attuned to how and why they are occurring than you are. But don't let that stop you from dripping with sophomoric smugness.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:16 am 
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Remember when conservatives and Republican Party voters used to wring their hands in faux outrage over Obama boarding a plane or playing a round of golf? ; )

Quote:
Though the president’s displays of ostentatious wealth didn’t hurt his electoral prospects last time around, the administration is reportedly worried about the public response if voters learn just how much taxpayers are putting up for Trump family vacations and travel. According to the Washington Post, the administration is attempting to delay House Democrats’ efforts to reveal the Secret Service budget until after the 2020 election, in part so that voters do not learn how much they are spending on Trump trips.

The attempt to delay the release involves a bill drafted in part by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin bringing the Secret Service under his department’s purview, where it was housed from its foundation in 1865 until 2003, when the agency was enveloped by the Department of Homeland Security. As part of the proposed bill, Democrats would require that the Secret Service release how much it costs to protect Trump family travel within 120 days of its passage. Mnuchin is reportedly onboard for the reporting of travel expenses, but only if the practice begins in 2021.

Though Trump promised during the campaign that he would “rarely leave the White House,” he has spent 114 days at his home in Mar-a-Lago and 75 days at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. Full records of Secret Service spending are unavailable, but individual costs detailed over the years offer a glimpse of how much the agency is spending to protect our leisurely president — and why the administration might not want the details publicized in an election year.

In his first four trips to Mar-a-Lago in 2017, the Secret Service alone spent about $1.3 million on each visit. Just renting enough golf carts to follow the president — without hampering his ability to cheat on the green — has cost $588,000 since 2017, according to federal spending data available online. The Secret Service has also had to put taxpayer money directly into Trump’s pocket, spending at least $250,000 at Trump properties in the first five months of his term. For just one month in 2017, Trump’s travel costs totaled $13.6 million, including expenditures by the Secret Service, the Department of Defense, and the cost of renting space and equipment. As the Post notes: “Trump has made 22 more trips to Mar-a-Lago since then … If the Secret Service’s costs remained constant, that would mean more than $28 million in further spending by the Secret Service alone, and $75 million from the government in all — and just on a fraction of Trump’s total travel.” In contrast, and flouting Trump’s impression of his predecessor, the government reportedly spent around $96 million on travel for Obama over eight years. Less than two months into Trump’s term, the Secret Service asked Congress for a budget boost of $60 million to manage presidential travel.

Trump’s family, too, has proven to be a serious expense for the agency. As the Post notes: “Since their father was elected, Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. have made business trips to overseas locales including Ireland, Scotland, Dubai, Uruguay, and India. In 2017, Eric Trump’s visit to a Trump building under construction in Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,000.” Last September, the Secret Service also put in a bid to buy Jet Skis, so that federal agents could protect the Trump family off the shore of Mar-a-Lago.


- Matt Steib, via New Yorker


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:29 am 
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Quote:
Trump’s family, too, has proven to be a serious expense for the agency. As the Post notes: “Since their father was elected, Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. have made business trips to overseas locales including Ireland, Scotland, Dubai, Uruguay, and India. In 2017, Eric Trump’s visit to a Trump building under construction in Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,000.” Last September, the Secret Service also put in a bid to buy Jet Skis, so that federal agents could protect the Trump family off the shore of Mar-a-Lago.

I can't stand the thought of using tax dollars to protect those assholes. A couple bullets would be much cheaper and better for the country.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:11 am 
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Half a million dollars, renting golf carts from Trump.

I need to get in the golf racket.

Or the President racket.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:59 pm 
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Perfume on my Mind wrote:
Quote:
Trump’s family, too, has proven to be a serious expense for the agency. As the Post notes: “Since their father was elected, Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. have made business trips to overseas locales including Ireland, Scotland, Dubai, Uruguay, and India. In 2017, Eric Trump’s visit to a Trump building under construction in Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,000.” Last September, the Secret Service also put in a bid to buy Jet Skis, so that federal agents could protect the Trump family off the shore of Mar-a-Lago.

I can't stand the thought of using tax dollars to protect those assholes. A couple bullets would be much cheaper and better for the country.


Don't go there. Please delete this.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:35 pm 
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See also: viewtopic.php?p=1210788#p1210788

Quote:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to open an investigation into whether President Trump tipped off attendees of a Mar-a-Lago event days before he ordered an airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which may have resulted in insider trading in defense company stocks or commodities.

Warren, citing a report by the Daily Beast, wrote a letter to the SEC Tuesday, saying that five days before the Jan. 2 strike Trump gave guests at his private resort in Florida "advanced knowledge of potential military action."

Trump allegedly told his associates at Mar-a-Lago that he had been in contact with his senior national security and military advisors to plan something "big" that would tamp down Iran's aggression in the Middle East, following the death of a U.S. defense contractor who was killed in a rocket attack, according to the Daily Beast, who cited anonymous sources recalling conversations with Trump.

"If this report is true, it raises a number of troubling national security questions regarding President Trump's handling of classified and sensitive national security information," Warren wrote.

Her initiative to investigate Trump comes as lawmakers continue to question the motive behind the attack and decry Trump for not consulting Congress before ordering the strike, which has heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

"Individuals who were guests at President Trump's resort may have obtained confidential market-moving information," the letter says. "These private individuals, therefore, would have had the opportunity to obtain significant profits simply by being guests or members at President Trump's private resort."

Warren's letter goes on to list several stocks whose prices jumped between the day of the attack, before the strike occurred, to the end of the day on Jan. 3.

Northrop Grumman stock prices increased by over 5 percent and Lockheed Martin's stock prices increased by 3.6 percent, according to the letter.

"The stock prices of Raytheon, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's former employer, increased by 1.5%. Additionally, immediately following the killing of Soleimani, the price of crude oil increased by over 4%," Warren wrote.

While it remains uncertain who, if anyone, specifically had advance knowledge of the attack or "whether they may have made any securities or commodities trades based on that information," Warren urged the SEC to look into whether any of the trades violated the Insider Trading Sanctions Act of 1984, which prohibits individuals from purchasing or selling a security while in possession of material, nonpublic information.

Such a crime is punishable by civil penalties of three times the amount of the profit gained or loss avoided or criminal penalties amounting to $5 million or 20 years imprisonment, the letter said.

Vandana Rambaran is a reporter covering news and politics at foxnews.com.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:01 pm 
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Morley wrote:
Perfume on my Mind wrote:
I can't stand the thought of using tax dollars to protect those assholes. A couple bullets would be much cheaper and better for the country.
Don't go there. Please delete this.

In case anyone is concerned, I was joking in a moment of exasperation. I don't really think we should kill the Trumps, since I'm of the opinion that killing isn't nice.

Please keep this in mind for all my nonsensical comments going forward.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:26 am 
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Perfume on my Mind wrote:
In case anyone is concerned, I was joking in a moment of exasperation. I don't really think we should kill the Trumps, since I'm of the opinion that killing isn't nice.

Please keep this in mind for all my nonsensical comments going forward.


I'll call off the Secret Service raid on your compound.


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