Fact check: Clinton, Trump off mark on Iran deal
CLINTON on nuclear deal: “It’s been very successful in giving us access to facilities we’ve never been to before.”
TRUMP: “We gave them $150 billion back.”
THE FACTS: Both are playing loose with the facts.
The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency had been present in Iran’s declared nuclear facilities like Natanz and Fordo long before the July 2015 agreement that eased economic sanctions on the country in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
The agency’s inspectors had also visited previously the Parchin military base, where nuclear weapons testing was suspected to have taken place. When the IAEA sought answers on Parchin in September 2015, the Iranians were permitted to take their own soil samples.
As to Trump’s claim about the $150 billion, the deal allowed Iran to get access to its own money that was frozen in foreign bank accounts, estimated at about $100 billion. The U.S. didn’t give Iran $150 billion.
Clinton, Trump hacking claims questionable
CLINTON: “Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans.”
TRUMP on hacking of the Democratic National Committee: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC… I mean it could be Russia. But it could also be China. It could be lots of other people. It could be somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds.”
THE FACTS: Clinton’s claim is an exaggeration; Trump’s assessment doesn’t reflect U.S. intelligence.
After the DNC hack in July and initial reports linking Moscow, Trump suggested that Russia should focus on getting deleted messages from the private email server Clinton used as secretary of state.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. But he didn’t call specifically for Putin to “hack into Americans,” as Clinton put it.
Meanwhile, Trump’s refusal to point the finger at Moscow is at odds with the prevailing position of the U.S. intelligence community and in line with the flattering comments he’s made about Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, throughout the campaign.
Last week, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said, “There’s a tradition in Russia of interfering with elections, their own and others.” The top Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees say they’ve concluded Russian intelligence agencies were trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.
Russia has denied the accusation.
Trump did support Iraq War
TRUMP: “Wrong. Wrong,” he said when Clinton pointed out that he supported the Iraq war. Trump later returned to the issue when asked about it by moderator Lester Holt. “I did not support the war in Iraq,” he said. “That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her. I was against the war in Iraq.”
THE FACTS: There is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the U.S. invaded. Rather, he offered lukewarm support. The billionaire businessman only began to voice doubts about the conflict well after it began in March 2003.
His first known public comment on the topic came on Sept. 11, 2002, when he was asked whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with radio host Howard Stern. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded after a brief hesitation, according to a recording of the interview. Trump then alluded to the first Gulf War in 1991, which ended with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein still in power. “You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
On March 21, 2003, just days after the invasion began, Trump said the invasion “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”
That September, he said he “would have fought terrorism, but not necessarily Iraq.” In December, he told Fox News that “a lot of people (are) questioning the whole concept of going in in the first place.” But he stopped short of saying that he was among those opponents.
In fact, Trump had voiced support for a hypothetical invasion of Iraq before President George W. Bush took office. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” Trump suggested that he would be in favor of a pre-emptive strike if Iraq was viewed as a threat to national security.
Trump makes false discrimination statement
TRUMP: Donald Trump said that a 1970s racial discrimination case against his real estate business was settled “with no admission of guilt” and that the case was “brought against many real estate developers.”
THE FACTS: The first claim is technically correct; the second is flatly false.
Trump and his father fiercely fought a 1973 discrimination lawsuit brought by the Justice Department for their alleged refusal to rent apartments in predominantly white buildings to black tenants. Testimony showed that the applications filed by black apartment seekers were marked with a “C’’ for “colored.” A settlement that ended the lawsuit did not require the Trumps to explicitly acknowledge that discrimination had occurred — but the government’s description of the settlement said Trump and his father had “failed and neglected” to comply with the Fair Housing Act.
Trump is also wrong to say that the suit was brought against many real estate developers — it was specific to buildings rented by him and his father.
Trump's claim about Fed unsupported
TRUMP: “The Fed, by keeping interest rates at this level, the Fed is doing political things. … The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.”
THE FACTS: This is a recurrent claim by Trump with no evidence to back it up. It’s the Federal Reserve’s job to help improve the economy and to the extent that happens, political leaders and their party may benefit. But presidents can’t make the Fed, an independent agency, do anything.
Under former chairman Ben Bernanke and current chairwoman Janet Yellen, the Fed has attracted controversy by pegging the short-term interest rate it controls to nearly zero for seven years. After one increase in December, it is still ultra-low at between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent, a rate that some economists worry could spark a stock-market bubble or inflation. Bernanke was initially appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, and reappointed by President Barack Obama.
One reason Yellen is keeping rates low is that, in some ways, she agrees with Trump that hiring needs to keep growing to provide jobs for Americans who want them.
Clinton's free tuition not debt-free
CLINTON: As part of a list of economy-building moves, called for “making college debt free so more young people can get their education.”
THE FACTS: Clinton has proposed making college tuition free for in-state students who go to a public college or university. But tuition free doesn’t equate to debt free.
Under her plan, the government would pay for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities for students from families earning less than $125,000 a year. That would leave students still bearing the cost of room and board, which makes up more than half of the average $18,943 sticker price at a four-year public university, according to the College Board.
Experts worry about other effects: Will colleges raise tuition once the government starts paying, increasing the cost to taxpayers? Will more students flock to public colleges because of the subsidy, also raising costs?
No evidence of Trump's audit claims
TRUMP: “I’ve been under audit for almost fifteen years.”
THE FACTS: Donald Trump has never provided any evidence to the public that he is actually under audit. A letter released by his tax attorneys never used the word, merely describing his tax returns under continuous review. “Review” is not a formal term for any kind of action by the Internal Revenue Service.
Trump has declined to provide the IRS’ formal notice of audit to The Associated Press and other news outlets. And former IRS officials have expressed skepticism that anyone would be audited so frequently.
Clinton misrepresents Pacific trade stance
HILLARY CLINTON, denying Donald Trump’s accusation that she called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade agreements: “I did say I hoped it would be a good deal.”
THE FACTS: Trump is correct. As secretary of state, Clinton called the deal that was taking shape the “gold standard” of trade agreements, in a 2012 trip to Australia, and championed the agreement in other venues around the world. She did not merely express the hope that it would turn out well.
Clinton flip-flopped into opposing the trade deal in the Democratic primary when facing Bernie Sanders, who was strongly opposed to it.
Trump got more than ‘small loan’ from dad
TRUMP: “My father gave me a small loan in 1975...”
THE FACTS: Trump got a whole lot more than a small loan. Aside from a $1 million financing from his father, Trump received loan guarantees, bailouts and a drawdown from his future inheritance. Reporter Tim O’Brien noted in a 2005 book that Trump not only drew an additional $10 million from his future inheritance during hard times, but also inherited a share of his father’s real estate holdings, which were worth hundreds of millions when they were eventually sold off.