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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s trade claims, Paris protesters’ chant

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Associated Press Photo

A demonstrator stands on a stepladder throughout clashes Saturday, Dec. eight, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters indignant at President Emmanuel Macron and France’s excessive taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some struggling with police firing tear fuel, amid distinctive safety measures aimed toward stopping a repeat of final week’s rioting. (AP Photograph/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Looking forward to a historic trade settlement, President Donald Trump is claiming achieved offers with China that aren’t measuring as much as the hype.

He describes final week’s assembly with Chinese language President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as “extraordinary” and a “big leap forward.” China, nevertheless, has offered few particulars and little affirmation about what it truly agreed to do in regard to purchasing extra American merchandise and addressing the Trump administration’s assertions that Beijing steals American know-how.

Trump claimed that China had agreed to scale back or remove its 40 % tariffs on automobiles imported from the U.S. His prime financial adviser, Larry Kudlow, acknowledged no deal had been “signed and sealed and delivered yet.”

The statements marked every week when Trump additionally claimed with out proof for a second time that Paris protesters have been chanting help for him, grossly overstated the prices of unlawful immigration and derided U.S. weapons spending as loopy, regardless of earlier boasts about growing the army price range.

In the meantime, Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ignored actuality when she prompt the Pentagon has a hidden pot of $21 trillion that would assist pay for “Medicare for All.” The entire protection price range in the course of the interval in query solely totaled $9 trillion.

A take a look at the claims and the details:

PARIS

TRUMP: “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” Love France.” — tweet Saturday.

THE FACTS: Neither Related Press journalists overlaying protests within the metropolis nor any French tv networks have proven proof that supporters have been chanting any slogans in help of Trump. The protests that started as a revolt towards a fuel tax improve have turned more and more violent and France imposed distinctive safety measures Saturday to stop a repeat of rioting every week in the past.

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JERUSALEM

TRUMP: “We quickly moved the American embassy to Jerusalem and we got it built.”— remarks Thursday at Hanukkah occasion.

THE FACTS: Nothing’s been constructed but. The Trump administration designated an present U.S. consular facility in Jerusalem for the U.S. Embassy, retrofitting some workplaces and holding an enormous dedication ceremony in Might. The U.S. has but to determine a everlasting website for the brand new embassy, a course of that’s anticipated to take years. The State Division has estimated that developing a brand new embassy would value greater than $500 million.

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TARIFFS

TRUMP: “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.” — tweet Sunday.

THE FACTS: Almost every week later, it’s nonetheless not clear if this can occur. When requested concerning the matter, Kudlow would solely say that he hoped China would take away its tariffs on U.S. autos. “We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that, but I will just tell you, as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero,” he advised reporters on Monday. Pressed once more Tuesday, Kudlow advised “Fox and Friends” that he anticipated China to maneuver shortly on eradicating the tariffs “if they’re serious about this.”

“I think it’s coming, OK?” he stated. “It hasn’t been signed and sealed and delivered yet.”

The White Home’s complicated and conflicting phrases have left Wall Road skeptical.

“It doesn’t seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump’s tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality,” JPMorgan informed buyers in a buying and selling observe.

On Thursday, a Chinese language official stated that China will “immediately implement the consensus reached by the two sides on farm products, cars and energy,” however didn’t handle the auto tariffs particularly or present any further particulars.

Trump has forged doubt on whether or not a agency settlement had been reached, tweeting Tuesday that his administration will decide “whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible.”

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TRUMP: “I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Trump appears to be claiming that tariffs are some type of a membership charge for overseas corporations to trade within the U.S. financial system.

They’re not. Tariffs are a tax, per Article I, Part eight of the Structure.

The prices of this tax are borne by U.S. shoppers and companies, typically within the type of larger costs. Overseas corporations might find yourself promoting fewer items and providers if america imposes excessive tariffs. In order that they pay a worth, too.

In some instances, the tariffs exist to guard industries which might be very important for nationwide safety. Or, the tariffs exist to retaliate towards the trade practices of different nations. Or, they could shield politically related corporations.

Prior to now, White Home aides have insisted that Trump’s tariffs are a negotiating ploy. But the president provided no such qualifications on Tuesday.

Tariffs usually are not seen as some straightforward approach of producing large wealth for an economically developed nation. After Trump introduced metal and aluminum tariffs earlier this yr, the College of Chicago requested main educational economists in March whether or not People can be higher off due to import taxes. Not a single economist surveyed stated the nation can be wealthier.

Nor do the finances numbers recommend they will come anyplace near masking the prices of the federal authorities.

Trump is right that tariffs did generate $41.three billion in tax revenues final price range yr, in response to the Treasury Division. However to place that in perspective, the federal finances exceeds $four.1 trillion.

The taxes collected on imports have been equal to about 1 % of all federal spending.

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MEDICARE

OCASIO-CORTEZ: “$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions ‘could not be traced, documented, or explained.’ $21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs (tilde)$32T. That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon. And that’s before our premiums.” — tweet Sunday.

THE FACTS: Ocasio-Cortez is usually right to recommend that a method of paying for the large value of “Medicare for All” can be to chop spending elsewhere. However she is flawed to recommend that there’s pot of misspent protection dollars that would cowl the brand new well being care bills. The New York Democrat additionally misrepresents the findings of an educational research that discovered the $21 trillion in Pentagon errors to be accounting “adjustments,” not a tally of precise cash wasted.

The research by Mark Skidmore, an economist at Michigan State College and Catherine Austin Fitts, a former assistant secretary of the Division of Housing and City Improvement, did discover $21 trillion in Pentagon transactions from 1998 to 2015 that would not be verified. Their research is a cited in a Nation article retweeted partially by Ocasio-Cortez, despite the fact that that article makes clear that not “all of this $21 trillion was secret or misused funding … the plugs are found on both the positive and the negative sides of the ledger, thus potentially netting each other out.”

Complete protection spending from 1998 to 2015 was $9 trillion. Meaning defunding the army totally would solely cowl a small portion of the estimated $32 trillion value over 10 years for the “Medicare for All” laws by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Ocasio-Cortez wrongly means that fixing Pentagon accounting errors would internet 66 % of prices.

“What she was referencing was the total number of transactions that happened with DoD — there’s a lot of double and triple counting as money gets moved around in the department,” stated Todd Harrison, director of protection finances evaluation on the Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research. “All of that basically means is that those transactions don’t have a full trail,” akin to an worker who submits an expense report with out offering all of the receipts.

“Just because you don’t have the proper audit trail for transactions doesn’t mean that those transactions are fraudulent,” Harrison stated.

David Norquist, the Pentagon’s comptroller, has attributed the accounting errors to the division’s older bookkeeping “systems that do not automatically pass data from one to the other.” He stated in testimony to the Home Armed Providers Committee in January that the errors don’t quantity to a pot of misplaced cash. “I wouldn’t want the taxpayer to confuse that with the loss of something like a trillion dollars, it’s not. That wouldn’t be accurate,” Norquist stated.

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MILITARY SPENDING

TRUMP: “I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: His criticism of U.S. weapons spending as “crazy” vastly overstates the quantity spent on the arms race. It is also a sudden change of tone from his earlier boasts about elevated army spending.

Trump’s assertion appeared to confuse the whole Protection Division finances with America’s funding within the missile protection methods and strategic nuclear weapons often related to the arms race. The Pentagon’s price range for 2019 totals about $716 billion, however that features every little thing from well being care and pay for service members to the prices of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The arms race is only a fraction of that quantity, totaling about $10 billion this yr for a variety of missile protection and nuclear weapons packages.

Till lately, Trump has bragged about his improve in army spending, railing about what he claims is earlier administrations’ neglect of America’s armed forces. He stated his administration is “rebuilding our military.” He has sometimes complained about particular packages corresponding to Air Pressure One and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, however his criticism was leveled on the protection contractors and targeted on demanding financial savings.

He has been much more supportive of the broader protection will increase, and particularly has endorsed hikes for missile protection in keeping with a U.S. protection technique that targets China and Russia as key adversaries.

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IMMIGRATION

TRUMP: “Could somebody please explain to the Democrats (we need their votes) that our Country losses (sic) 250 Billion Dollars a year on illegal immigration, not including the terrible drug flow. Top Border Security, including a Wall, is $25 Billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: He’s inflating the price of unlawful immigration. Trump’s numbers left even these sympathetic to the president’s place scratching their heads.

“I’m not sure where the president got his numbers,” stated Dave Ray, a spokesman for the nonprofit group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for decrease immigration numbers.

Neither the White Home nor the Division of Homeland Safety responded to questions on the place the $250 billion estimate had come from.

The Heritage Basis, for example, estimated in 2013 that households headed by immigrants dwelling within the U.S. illegally impose a internet fiscal burden of round $54.5 billion per yr.

Even Trump himself has contradicted the determine. Throughout his 2016 marketing campaign, Trump claimed that unlawful immigration value the nation greater than $113 billion a yr — lower than half the quantity he tweeted Tuesday.

That estimate appeared based mostly on a paper by FAIR, which launched an up to date report in 2017 that claimed taxpayers “shell out approximately $134.9 billion to cover the costs incurred by the presence of more than 12.5 million illegal aliens, and about 4.2 million citizen children of illegal aliens” on the federal, state and native ranges, with “a tax burden of approximately $8,075 per illegal alien family member and a total of $115,894,597,664.”

The $116 million determine included providers comparable to well being care and schooling, in addition to spending on businesses together with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, minus the $19 billon the group concluded those that live within the nation illegally pay in taxes. Nevertheless it additionally included prices related to the youngsters of these immigrants in its tally, even when they’re U.S. residents. The estimate was criticized for making broad generalizations and different main methodological flaws.

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FENTANYL

TRUMP, about his assembly with Xi on the gathering of main wealthy and creating nations: “What he will be doing to fentanyl could be a game changer for the United States — and what fentanyl is doing to our country in terms of killing people. Because he’s agreed to put it at the highest level of crime in his country.” — aboard Air Pressure One on Dec. 1.

TRUMP: “One of the very exciting things to come out of my meeting with President Xi of China is his promise to me to criminalize the sale of deadly Fentanyl coming into the United States. It will now be considered a ‘controlled substance.’” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: That’s a misreading of what China agreed to do, no less than so far as Chinese language authorities are involved.

Fentanyl has been a managed substance in China for years, based on Chinese language regulators. All advised, China has already put 25 variants of fentanyl, plus two precursors — chemical compounds used to make the drug — on its listing of managed substances, Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated final week.

Now, “China has decided to list all the fentanyl-like substances as controlled substances and start working to adjust related regulations,” says China’s overseas ministry.

Doing so might assist block China’s opioid retailers from skirting the regulation by inventing new chemical variants of fentanyl quicker than regulators can declare them unlawful.

The usual strategy of regulating medicine one after the other has failed to regulate the proliferation of latest and lethal artificial opioids in the USA.

In February, the U.S. stated that for no less than the subsequent two years, all new chemical variations of fentanyl that weren’t already regulated can be categorised as unlawful managed substances. U.S. officers had been urging China to do one thing comparable.

However China hasn’t all the time adopted by way of on its guarantees. “Similar suggestions have failed to gain approval from Chinese regulators in the past,” the U.S.-China Financial and Safety Assessment Fee stated in a report final week that criticized China for “slow and ineffective” regulation of fentanyl.

In 2016, U.S. negotiators thought that they had secured an settlement with Beijing that China would goal U.S.-bound exports of drugs that have been unlawful in america, even when they weren’t unlawful in China, however Beijing by no means carried out the coverage, in response to the fee, a gaggle shaped by the U.S. Congress to watch financial relations with China.

China’s new strategy might certainly be recreation altering, as Trump stated. However up to now there’s no timeline for implementation of the coverage.

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Related Press writers Lori Hinnant in Paris, Josh Boak, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Jill Colvin and Lolita Baldor in Washington and Erika Kinetz in Shanghai contributed to this report.

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

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