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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s twists on Russia, shutdown, vets

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On this Jan, 18, 2019, photograph, Speaker of the Home Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., takes questions from reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photograph/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was every week of half-truths, modified tales and outright fabrications in President Donald Trump’s Washington.

Trump assailed Democratic Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for enjoying on the seashore in Puerto Rico, although she by no means went. His vice chairman echoed Trump’s declaration of victory towards the Islamic State group regardless of a lethal suicide bombing for which the militants claimed duty. Trump overstated what he’s finished for veterans.

A take a look at a few of the rhetoric from Trump and his staff because the president confronted intensifying strain over the partial authorities shutdown and scrutiny from Democrats over his dealings with Russia:


TRUMP: “Nancy Pelosi’s in Hawaii over the holidays, now she’s in Puerto Rico with a bunch of Democrats and lobbyists, you know, enjoying the sun and partying down there.” — Fox Information interview on Jan. 12.

TRUMP: “I’d rather see the Democrats come back from their vacation and act. … I’m in the White House, and most of them are in different locations. They’re watching a certain musical in a very nice location.” — Fox Information interview.

TRUMP: “A lot of the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating something. I don’t know, maybe they’re celebrating the shutdown.” — feedback Monday.

THE FACTS: Removed from “enjoying the sun” in Puerto Rico, Pelosi stayed in Washington, which acquired an enormous snowfall. She spent that weekend working on the Capitol, stated Drew Hammill, her deputy chief of employees.

Senate Democratic chief Chuck Schumer didn’t go to Puerto Rico, both. The senator from New York spent that weekend in New York, stated spokesman Justin Goodman.

Most Democratic lawmakers have been someplace aside from Puerto Rico. Most who went are members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They attended the annual winter retreat of the caucus’s political and fundraising arm.

Some attended “Hamilton” because the musical opened a two-week run in Puerto Rico anticipated to boost hundreds of thousands of dollars for artists and cultural teams struggling within the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Referring to Democrats on the fundraising efficiency in his Fox Information interview, Trump referred to as it “frankly, ridiculous.”

Through the journey, lawmakers certainly met political contributors but in addition made a number of visits to native and federal establishments, stated Marieli Padro, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez. Final Saturday, a small group visited the veterans’ hospital to study its wants post-hurricane, whereas one other group met U.S. Coast Guard officers.

Trump is right that Pelosi visited Hawaii over the Christmas vacation.


KEVIN HASSETT, Trump financial adviser: “You know as soon as it’s resolved, then people get their paychecks and the government will go back to acting normal and the economy will go back to the 3 percent growth that President Trump’s policies have delivered.” — interview Tuesday with Fox Enterprise Community.

THE FACTS: It’s true the financial system in all probability will get a lift as soon as the shutdown ends, however few unbiased economists assume that increase shall be sustained. The financial system is dealing with different headwinds that make it unlikely progress will return to 2018’s tempo. Earlier than the shutdown, most unbiased economists already have been forecasting that progress would sluggish this yr because the impression of President Trump’s tax credit score fades and commerce tensions and slowing international progress take a toll.

Even when the federal government shutdown finally ends up being a wash in financial phrases, with robust progress within the second quarter offsetting weak spot within the first, the financial system is more likely to be weaker this yr than final. Scott Anderson, an economist at Financial institution of the West, expects final yr’s inventory market drop will trigger many wealthier households to tug again on spending, a drag on progress this yr.

He’s not alone. A gaggle of 15 economists at main U.S. banks earlier this month projected that progress would sluggish to only a 2.1 % tempo in 2019, down from roughly three % in 2018.

The financial system’s present well being is troublesome to gauge as a result of the partial shutdown means many financial statistics aren’t being launched. Current indicators are combined: The job market is robust, with few layoffs in sight, and manufacturing output rose in December. However greater rates of interest have additionally triggered house costs and gross sales to fall.


TRUMP: “We need strong barriers and walls. Nothing else is going to work.” — remarks Thursday on the Pentagon.

TRUMP: “You can have all the people you want dressed in military. You can have ICE. You can have Border Patrol. If you don’t have that barrier, there’s not a thing you can do. You know, they all say, ‘We like technology.’ I like technology, too. But we can have all the drones in the world flying around; we can have all the sensors in the world, but if you don’t have a strong steel or concrete barrier, there’s no way you’re going to stop these people from rushing.” — remarks Monday in New Orleans.

THE FACTS: The proof is inconclusive on the effectiveness of border partitions or different limitations.

Congress’ primary watchdog reported in 2017 that the federal government doesn’t have a strategy to measure how properly limitations work to discourage immigrants crossing illegally from Mexico. Regardless of $2.three billion spent by the federal government on such development from 2007 to 2015, the Authorities Accountability Workplace discovered that authorities “cannot measure the contribution of fencing to border security operations along the southwest border because it has not developed metrics for this assessment.”

Few individuals dispute that fences contributed to a pointy drop in crossings in cities reminiscent of San Diego and El Paso, Texas. Earlier than fences have been inbuilt San Diego, crossers performed soccer on U.S. soil as distributors hawked tamales, ready till night time fell to overwhelm brokers. However these obstacles additionally pushed individuals into extra distant and less-patrolled areas comparable to in Arizona, the place hundreds of migrants have perished in excessive warmth.

When obstacles have been constructed within the Border Patrol’s Yuma, Arizona, sector within the mid-2000s, arrests for unlawful crossings plummeted 94 % in three years to eight,363 from 138,438. When limitations have been inbuilt San Diego within the 1990s and early 2000s, arrests fell 80 % over seven years from 524,231 in 1995 to 100,681 in 2002. However each areas additionally noticed sharp will increase in Border Patrol staffing throughout that point, making it troublesome to pinpoint why unlawful crossings fell so dramatically.



PENCE: “The caliphate has crumbled, and ISIS has been defeated.” — remarks Wednesday at State Division.

THE FACTS: Trump’s comment adopted the lethal suicide bombing claimed by IS, which demonstrated the extremist group, nevertheless weakened, has not been vanquished. The bombing underscored Pentagon assertions that IS continues to be a menace and able to lethal assaults.

The assault killed a minimum of 16 individuals in Syria, together with two U.S. service members and two American civilians. It was the deadliest assault on U.S. troops in Syria since American forces went into the nation in 2015.

A tweet Wednesday morning by Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, indicated the vice chairman had been briefed on the assaults earlier than he delivered his remarks claiming the defeat of IS. Pence later launched a press release acknowledging the fatalities and IS “remnants” however reaffirming Trump’s plan to withdraw troops.

“We will never allow the remnants of ISIS to re-establish their evil and murderous caliphate,” he stated.

Trump, in a Dec. 19 tweet, introduced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. He stated: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” He stated the troops would start coming residence “now.” That plan triggered quick pushback from army leaders and the resignation of Protection Secretary Jim Mattis.

Over the previous month, nevertheless, Trump and others have appeared to regulate the timeline, and U.S. officers have steered it can in all probability take a number of months to withdraw American forces from Syria safely.



RUDY GIULIANI: Trump’s lawyer: “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign (and Russia).” — interview Wednesday with CNN.

THE FACTS: Truly, he did deny up to now that there was any collusion between the Trump marketing campaign and Russians.

Requested by Fox Information in July if that was his place, he stated, “Correct.” Giuliani has beforehand referred to as the thought of the Trump marketing campaign’s collusion with Russia “total fake news.” ”No collusion,” he additionally stated.

Giuliani continued to disclaim that Trump himself was concerned any collusion, no matter others in his marketing campaign might or might not have carried out.

He sought to make clear his remarks after, saying he had no information of collusion “by any of the thousands of people who worked on the campaign.”

Proof thus far factors to a broad vary of Trump associates who had Russia-related contacts through the 2016 presidential marketing campaign and transition interval, and a few have been caught mendacity about it.



TRUMP: “Simply introduced that Veterans unemployment has reached an 18 yr low, actually excellent news for our Vets and their households. Will quickly be an all time low! Do you assume the media will report on this and all the different nice financial information? — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Trump is incorrect when it comes to up-to-date month-to-month knowledge, proper when measuring veterans’ unemployment over a long run.

It’s true that the typical veterans’ unemployment fee for 2018 was three.5 %, the bottom annual determine since 2000, when it was 2.9 %.

On a month-to-month foundation, the speed is extra risky. The bottom vets’ unemployment price underneath Trump was 2.7 % in October 2017, and it has risen a bit since then to three.2 % in December, the newest knowledge out there. Within the 18 years that the federal government has tracked veterans’ unemployment knowledge, the bottom month-to-month fee was 2.three % in Might 2000.

Veterans’ unemployment has fallen principally for a similar causes that joblessness has dropped usually: robust hiring and regular financial progress for the previous eight years.


TRUMP: “We got Veterans Choice. We got Veterans Choice approved, which is pretty amazing. They’ve been trying to get that for years and years — decades and decades.” — remarks Monday in New Orleans.

THE FACTS: No, he isn’t the primary president in “decades and decades” to get Congress to move a private-sector well being program for veterans. Congress first accredited the Veterans Selection program in 2014 through the Obama administration.

This system was permitted after some veterans died whereas ready months for appointments on the Phoenix VA medical middle. It permits veterans to see docs outdoors the VA system if they need to wait greater than 30 days for an appointment or drive greater than 40 miles to a VA facility.

Trump did signal laws in June to increase the Selection program, a part of his marketing campaign promise to provide veterans higher entry to non-public care at authorities expense. The precise scope of that new program will probably be topic to yet-to-be-completed guidelines that may decide veterans’ eligibility in addition to federal funding. The VA has but to resolve long-term financing as a consequence of congressional finances caps that would put cash for VA or different home packages in danger later this yr.


Related Press writers Eric Tucker and Christopher Rugaber in Washington and Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.


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