Fact check: 2nd presidential debate
Trump on Muslims reporting crime
DONALD TRUMP: “We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They’ll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.”
THE FACTS: There’s no evidence that Muslims failed to report suspicious activity.
The FBI works closely with the Muslim community and encourages people to report anything they see that might be criminal activity.
In San Bernardino, California, a Muslim couple shot and killed 14 people at an office party in December 2015. The couple was killed in a police shootout. But the FBI has never suggested that people from the Muslim community — or any community — failed to alert authorities that there were many bombs in the couple’s home. Law enforcement later found bomb-making materials in the couple’s garage. The FBI has said that the shooters were inspired by the Islamic State group.
Trump on economic growth
DONALD TRUMP: “We’ve had the slowest growth since 1929.”
THE FACTS: The recovery from the Great Recession has been punishingly slow for many workers. But is it as dreadful as suggested by Trump— who indicated in his statement that the rebound from the Great Depression in the 1930s was stronger? Not quite.
It has averaged a scant 2.2 percent a year since 2010. Compared to previous recoveries, this particular recovery has been the slowest on record dating back to 1949.
Claims such as Trump’s can sometimes emerge from how the stats get calculated. Is he talking about multiyear averages? Excluding recessions? The Republican nominee left out critical details to verify the full accuracy of his claim.
The problem is that growth is unlikely to climb back to a post-World War II average that exceeded 3 percent. The reason has to do with demographics: Aging baby boomers are starting to retire en masse, a drag on overall growth.
The Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office both forecast that growth in the long-term will be 2 percent or slightly lower. It’s difficult for any president — Clinton or Trump — to overcome these demographic headwinds.
Trump on Clinton tax claim
DONALD TRUMP: “She is raising your taxes, and I am lowering your taxes. …She’s raising everybody’s taxes massively.”
HILLARY CLINTON: “He would end up raising taxes on middle-class families”
THE FACTS: Clinton is not raising taxes on “everybody.” Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s proposed tax increases would affect the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
Trump is proposing massive tax cuts for both individuals and businesses. Yet it’s not clear that all Americans would benefit. The conservative Tax Foundation estimates that the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers would see their after-tax income rise from 0.8 percent to 1.9 percent. The wealthiest 1 percent would see their after-tax incomes rise at least 10.2 percent to 16 percent.
Yet Clinton may be right that Trump’s proposals would increase taxes on many middle- and lower-income families. Trump’s plan eliminates the personal exemption, which currently allows households to reduce their taxable income by $4,050 for each member of the household, including children. He would replace that with higher deductions, but for many single parents and families with three or more children, the standard deduction wouldn’t be large enough to offset the loss of personal exemptions.
Clinton on U.S. advisers in Iraq
HILLARY CLINTON: “I do think … the use of (U.S. and coalition) enablers and trainers in Iraq, which has had some positive effect, are very much in our interest.”
THE FACTS: She’s right about the positive effect, at least on the Iraqi military. After losing the city of Ramadi to the Islamic State group again in May 2015, the hundreds of U.S. military trainers and advisers have made some gains. It took more than a year, but the program Clinton cited has produced a more competent Iraqi military and set the stage for an Iraqi campaign to retake the northern city of Mosul. That city has been the Islamic State militants’ main stronghold since they swept into Iraq in 2014 almost unopposed by the Iraqi army.
As Clinton’s characterization of the program suggests, it has not been an unqualified success and is expected to require years of additional effort to ensure that the Iraqi military does not collapse as it did in 2014.
Trump on IS taking Libyan oil
DONALD TRUMP: “ISIS has a good chunk of their oil,” referring to Libya.
THE FACTS: Not quite. While it is true that the Islamic State group has targeted Libya’s oil fields and has aspired to grab some of the country’s oil resources, as it did in Syria, there is no evidence that it is reaping any revenue from Libyan oil. The prospect of the extremist group seizing Libyan oil is one reason the U.S. has conducted limited airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya, where it now has a very small presence.
Libya’s oil production plunged following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Moammar Gadhafi, from 1.6 million barrels per day under the longtime dictator to just 200,000.
Trump on Assad fighting IS
DONALD TRUMP: “I don’t like Assad at all. But Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS.”
THE FACTS: Not true. Syria’s President Bashar Assad considers the Islamic State group to be among numerous “terrorist” groups that threaten his government, but his military is not fighting them. It is focused on combatting Syrian opposition groups, some of which are supported by the United States. The fight against the Islamic State militants is being waged by a U.S.-led coalition, with help from Turkey, by training, advising and equipping Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters. While Moscow asserts that it is fighting the Islamic State extremists in Syria, the vast majority of its airstrikes have targeted opposition groups threatening the Assad government.
Clinton on health care repeal
CLINTON: “If we repeal (Obama’s health care law) as Donald (Trump) has proposed, all of those benefits I have mentioned are lost to everybody…and then we will have to start all over again.”
THE FACTS: Clinton is essentially correct. Congressional Republicans have promised their replacement plan for Obama’s health care law would provide coverage for the uninsured, but they have not provided enough detail to allow a rigorous comparison. A complete repeal of the health care law would wipe the slate clean, and lawmakers would have to start over.
Republicans have expressed support for some goals of the health care law, such as assuring that people with health problems can get coverage, but whether a GOP replacement plan would work as well remains to be seen. Trump’s own plan was recently evaluated by the Commonwealth Fund and the RAND Corporation, and the analysis found the number of uninsured people would increase by about 20 million.
Trump on Iraq War support
DONALD TRUMP: “I would not have had our troops in Iraq.”
Trump has repeatedly said in the campaign he opposed the Iraq War before it started. But the facts are clear: He did not.
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.
Trump’s 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. During a Fox News Channel interview with Neil Cavuto in January 2003, Trump suggested the economy and threats from North Korea posed greater problems for then-President George W. Bush than Iraq, but he did not say he opposed a possible invasion.
On March 21, 2003, just days after the invasion began, Trump told Cavuto on his show that the invasion “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”
Trump bolsters his position by pointing to an interview he did with Esquire. He was quoted as saying he opposed the war, saying he “would never have handled it that way.” He made that comment, however, 16 months after the invasion began.
Clinton on Lincoln citation
HILLARY CLINTON, in response to a question about her saying that politicians need to have “both a public and a private position” in a 2013 paid speech, said, “As I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called Lincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment.”
DONALD TRUMP replied, “She lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln.”
THE FACTS: Clinton’s recollection is correct.
Clinton invoked the movie “Lincoln,” and the deal-making that went into passage of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery, in an April 2013 speech to the National Multifamily Housing Council.
According to excerpts of the speech included in hacked emails published last week by WikiLeaks, Clinton said politicians must balance “both a public and a private position” while making deals, a process she said was like making sausage.
“It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be,” Clinton said according to the excerpts. “But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the backroom discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”
Trump on cost of Obamacare
DONALD TRUMP: Obamacare “is going to be one of the biggest line items very shortly.”
THE FACTS: Trump vastly exaggerates the cost of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The cost of the coverage expansion in Obama’s health care law is nowhere near what the government spends on Medicare and Medicaid, for example.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the government will spend $110 billion this year on “Obamacare” coverage. By comparison, Medicare will cost an estimated $590 billion, and the federal share of Medicaid will amount to $370 billion.
Trump on Clinton, health care
DONALD TRUMP: “She (Clinton) wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster…she wants to go to single-payer, which means the government basically rules everything.”
THE FACTS: It’s Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — not Clinton — who supports a Canada-style government-run health care system.
While Clinton’s health care proposals would expand the government’s role in the health care system, she’s not talking about dismantling the current system, which is a hybrid of employer-sponsored coverage, government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and individually purchased insurance.
As president, Clinton would push for a government-sponsored insurance plan in the health care markets created by President Barack Obama’s health care law, as an alternative to private insurance. But those markets currently cover about 11 million people, while about 155 million have job-based coverage.
In excerpts from Clinton’s paid speeches she gave behind closed doors, Clinton praised Canada’s universal coverage and said that single-payer systems were “as good or better” when it came to basic medical care. But she also noted drawbacks of such health care systems, such as longer wait times for procedures.
Trump on sexually assaulting women
DONALD TRUMP, asked whether he had ever sexually assaulted a woman, said: “No, I have not.”
THE FACTS: There’s no proof that Trump sexually assaulted women, but he’s been accused of it before.
Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of rape in a deposition in the early 1990s. She later said she didn’t mean it literally, but rather that she felt violated. Trump was also sued for sexual harassment in 1997 by Jill Harth, a woman who, along with her romantic partner, was pitching Trump to get involved in a pin-up competition in the early 1990s.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Harth said Trump ran his hands up her skirt during dinner in 1992, and on another occasion, she said Trump tried to force himself on her in his daughter Ivanka’s bedroom. “Next thing I know he’s pushing me against a wall and has his hands all over me,” Harth told the newspaper. Harth dropped her harassment lawsuit against Trump after he settled a separate breach of contract lawsuit. Trump has denied Harth’s allegations.
Trump on Clinton's behavior in rape case
DONALD TRUMP: When Hillary Clinton defended an accused child-rapist in court, she “got him off, and she’s seen on two separate occasions, laughing at the girl who was raped.”
THE FACTS: Trump’s depiction of Clinton laughing at a child rape victim is false, and his statement that she got the man off the hook isn’t quite right.
Clinton defended the man in 1975 at the demand of the judge in the case.
According to both Clinton in a recorded interview and later statements by the prosecutor who handled the case, Clinton asked not to be assigned to defend the attacker of Kathy Shelton, but ultimately Clinton agreed to defend the man at the judge’s insistence.
According to audio of an interview Clinton gave to a reporter one decade later, Clinton suggested she believed her client, Thomas Alfred Taylor, was guilty, saying that his successful questioning under a polygraph test “forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.”
Despite her discomfort with the case, Clinton aggressively defended her client. In an affidavit to the court, she said a child psychologist had told her that children “from disorganized families,” such as the victim, “tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences.”
But it was a misstep by the prosecution that broke in favor of Clinton’s client. The crime lab in the case lost a swatch of the victim’s underwear that the prosecution had said contained Taylor’s semen and the victim’s blood. Clinton seized on the mistake, arguing that the absence of evidence fatally undermined the prosecution’s case — prompting the prosecutor to offer Clinton’s client a plea deal to a lesser charge, “unlawful fondling of a child.”
In the recorded interview, Clinton never laughed at Shelton, calling it a “terrible” case and saying it was sad that prosecutors had lost the evidence against her client. But she did laugh at procedural errors in the case, and the judge’s request to speak privately with her client at one point.
Clinton on email security
CLINTON: “After a yearlong investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using, and there is no evidence that anyone can point to, at all … that any classified material ended up in the wrong hands.”
THE FACTS: Maybe, maybe not. While there’s indeed no direct, explicit evidence that classified information was leaked or that her server was breached, it was nevertheless connected to the internet in ways that made it more vulnerable to hackers — and the public may never know who saw them.
The Associated Press previously discovered that her private server, which has been a major campaign issue for Clinton and the focus of U.S. investigations, appeared to allow users to connect to it openly over the internet and control it remotely. That practice, experts said, wasn’t intended to be used without additional protective measures, and was the subject of U.S. government warnings at the time over attacks from even amateur hackers.
Since the AP in early 2013 traced her server to her home in Chappaqua, New York, Clinton hasn’t fully explained who administered her server, if it received software updates to plug security holes or if it was monitored for unauthorized access. It’s also unclear what, if any, encryption software Clinton’s server may have used to communicate with official U.S. government email accounts.
Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey has said Clinton and her staff “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” But he said the FBI won’t recommend criminal charges against Clinton for use of the server while she was secretary of state and closed the investigation.
Trump on women linked to Bill Clinton
TRUMP on women linked to Bill Clinton sexually: “Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”
THE FACTS: There is no clear, independent evidence that Hillary Clinton “viciously” attacked women who alleged or confirmed sexual contact with her husband.
To be sure, in the 1992 Democratic primaries, she was deeply involved in the Clinton campaign’s effort to discredit one accuser, actress Gennifer Flowers, who alleged she had a long-running affair with Bill Clinton. Both Clintons acknowledged past troubles in their marriage but sought to undermine Flowers’ claims. Bill Clinton later acknowledged in a 1998 court deposition that he had a sexual encounter with Flowers.
Hillary Clinton was also quoted over the years making disparaging comments about other women linked with her husband.
What is lacking is proof that she engineered efforts to smear their reputation. Diane Blair, a political science professor and long-time Hillary Clinton friend who died in 2000, left behind an account of private interviews with Hillary Clinton in which she told her during the Monica Lewinsky affair that she considered the former White House intern a “narcissistic loony toon.”
Trump on Bill Clinton's law license
DONALD TRUMP described the consequences of a sexual harassment lawsuit against former President Bill Clinton: “He lost his license. He had to pay an $850,000 fine.”
THE FACTS: Trump’s facts are, at best, jumbled. In 1998, lawyers for Bill Clinton settled with former Arkansas state employee Paul Jones for $850,000 in her four-year lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. Clinton did not acknowledge wrongdoing in the settlement. But Trump erred in describing the legal consequences of that case. In a related case before the Arkansas State Supreme Court, Clinton was fined $25,000 and his Arkansas law license was suspended for five years. Clinton also faced disbarment before the U.S. Supreme Court, but he opted to resign from the court’s practice instead of facing any penalties.
Trump on sex assaults
DONALD TRUMP, when asked whether his words captured in video footage from 2005, in which he made sexually predatory and crude comments about women, amounted to a description of sexual assault, said, “No, I didn’t say that at all.”
THE FACTS: Trump clearly described groping women without their permission in footage captured by “Access Hollywood.” And Trump said he would automatically kiss women he considered beautiful.
“I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” Trump said. “Grab them by the p----. You can do anything.”
In the audio, first reported by The Washington Post, Trump also described his sexual advances toward a married woman. “I moved on her like a b----. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”