AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s fact-challenged week over impeachment

Going through an impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump is popping to a well-known playbook to defend himself: attacking his investigators , blasting the inquiry as unlawful and deriding the method as all-but-rigged.

Many info are getting misplaced within the course of.

He repeatedly lambasted Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the Home Intelligence Committee chairman who’s main the impeachment overview, as responsible of treason or defamation for mocking Trump’s July 25 cellphone name with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Neither cost is legitimate.

Trump additionally assailed the whistleblower grievance as improperly filed and “dishonest,” in contrast with a “phrase for phrase” transcript of the decision. Truly, no actual transcript exists, and the appearing director of nationwide intelligence informed Congress that he believed the whistleblower grievance was “in alignment” with a tough transcript launched by the White Home.

Trump had the same playbook to dispute the Russia investigation by assailing particular counsel Robert Mueller as biased and saying the inquiry was illegally hatched by Democrats. These costs have been proven to be unfaithful.

In the meantime, amid indicators of producing weak point , Trump unfairly pointed a finger of blame on the Federal Reserve quite than his escalating commerce struggle with China, and overstated his position in a World Commerce Group ruling for the USA.

A overview:


TRUMP: “As I be taught increasingly more every day, I’m coming to the conclusion that what’s going down is just not an impeachment, it’s a COUP, supposed to remove the Energy of the….Individuals.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: No unlawful coup is afoot.

Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., final month initiated impeachment proceedings in opposition to Trump. She accused him of abusing presidential powers by in search of assist from a international authorities to undermine Democratic rival Joe Biden and assist his personal reelection. The transfer adopted a grievance by a whistleblower, a CIA officer, who made the fees.

A coup is often outlined as a sudden, violent and unlawful seizure of presidency energy. The impeachment course of is specified by the Structure, giving Congress the authority to question and take a look at a president as a part of its tasks as a coequal department of presidency to supply a test on a president when she or he commits treason, bribery, or “different excessive crimes and misdemeanors.”

The usual of “excessive crimes and misdemeanors” is obscure and open-ended to embody abuses of energy even when they don’t seem to be, strictly talking, unlawful.



TRUMP: “The Do Nothing Democrats must be centered on build up our Nation, not losing everybody’s time and vitality on BULLSHIT, which is what they’ve been doing ever since I received overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Trump once more misstates the Electoral Faculty vote. The official depend was 304 to 227, in keeping with an Related Press tally of the electoral votes in each state.



TRUMP: “I had a transcript completed by very, very proficient folks — phrase for phrase, comma for comma. … We had a precise transcript. And once we produced that transcript, they died.” — information convention Wednesday with Finland’s president.

TRUMP: “They by no means thought in one million years that I would launch the dialog … And that is a precise word-for-word transcript of the dialog, proper? Taken by very proficient stenographers.” — remarks Wednesday to reporters within the Oval Workplace.

THE FACTS: It is not a word-for-word transcript.

The memorandum of Trump’s July 25 cellphone name with Zelenskiy itself makes clear that it doesn’t signify a precise transcript of what was stated.

In line with the doc, it’s “not a verbatim transcript” and as an alternative “data the notes and recollections of Scenario Room Obligation Officers and NSC coverage employees assigned to pay attention and memorialize the dialog in written kind because the dialog takes place. A lot of elements can have an effect on the accuracy of the report.” It cited potential elements corresponding to the standard of the cellphone connection, variations in accent “and/or interpretation.”

NSC refers back to the Nationwide Safety Council.

The appearing director of nationwide intelligence, Joseph Maguire, informed a Home panel final month that he believed the whistleblower acted in “good religion” and the grievance was according to the White Home’s tough transcript.


TRUMP, on the whistleblower: “He received his data, I suppose, second or thirdhand. He wrote one thing that was complete fiction.” — remarks to reporters Thursday.

GOP HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN McCARTHY: “Whistleblowers had been required to supply direct, first-hand data of allegations…however simply days earlier than the Ukraine whistleblower got here ahead, the IC secretly eliminated the requirement from the grievance kind.” — tweet on Sept. 28.

TRUMP: “Who modified the lengthy standing whistleblower guidelines simply earlier than submittal of the pretend whistleblower report? Drain the swamp!” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: The method for submitting a whistleblower grievance was not rigged in opposition to Trump.

There was nothing improper in how the grievance was submitted. No whistleblower legislation was modified and nothing beneath that legislation requires the complaints to have firsthand data. In a uncommon assertion this previous week , the inspector common for the intelligence group additionally made clear that it had decided the whistleblower did have some firsthand, “direct data of sure alleged conduct.”

It is not true that the whistleblower may “present nothing greater than secondhand or unsubstantiated assertions,” the IG stated.

Intelligence company employees have lengthy been in a position to blow the whistle based mostly on secondhand or rumour data. The legislation solely requires federal employees to have a “cheap perception” of misconduct with a purpose to file a grievance, in keeping with Debra D’Agostino, a federal employment lawyer.

On this case, the whistleblower flagged partially Trump’s July name to Zelenskiy in a typed, nine-page doc addressed to the Home Intelligence Committee. The watchdog stated that whereas the whistleblower was not a direct witness to the decision, the inspector common individually obtained different data throughout its preliminary overview to deem the allegations credible.

Pointing to suspicious exercise, McCarthy, R-Calif., cites the elimination of some data from the standardized grievance kind, which beforehand harassed the necessity for firsthand data for an inspector common to find out the grievance credible. The inspector common’s workplace stated it had eliminated that language from the shape earlier this yr as a result of it decided that “it might be learn – incorrectly – as suggesting that whistleblowers should possess first-hand data with a purpose to file an pressing concern grievance with the congressional intelligence committees.”

In any occasion, the inspector common’s workplace stated it had supplied the whistleblower separate background materials on submitting a grievance that included that language.



TRUMP: “Congressman Adam Schiff ought to resign for the Crime of, after studying a transcript of my dialog with the President of Ukraine (it was good), fraudulently fabricating a press release of the President of the USA and studying it to Congress, as if mine!” — tweet Wednesday.

TRUMP: “Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & horrible assertion, pretended it to be mine as an important a part of my name to the Ukrainian President, and browse it aloud to Congress and the American folks. It bore NO relationship to what I stated on the decision. Arrest for Treason?” — tweet Monday.

THE FACTS: Trump is overstating Schiff’s exaggerations. The California Democrat, in what he stated was a parody throughout a committee listening to, mocked and overstated the president’s pleas in his July name to Zelenskiy, as Trump does along with his critics routinely.

Below the Structure, treason happens when a U.S. citizen, or a noncitizen on U.S. territory, wages struggle in opposition to the nation or supplies materials assist, not simply sympathy, to a declared enemy of the USA. It’s outlined narrowly as a part of an effort by the framers to stop the federal government from utilizing it as a motive to suppress political speech, stated J. Richard Broughton, affiliate dean at College of Detroit Mercy and a member of the Republican Nationwide Legal professionals Affiliation.

The manager department can solely carry costs in extraordinarily restricted circumstances.

For example, within the Chilly Warfare case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who had been executed for giving atomic secrets and techniques to Russia, the Rosenbergs had been convicted of espionage, not treason, as a result of the U.S. and Russia weren’t formally at struggle. Nobody has been convicted of treason because the aftermath of World Warfare II, says Carlton F.W. Larson, a College of California legislation professor who has a e-book on treason.

Throughout final week’s Home Intelligence Committee listening to, Schiff made clear he was offering an account that was in “essence” what he believed Trump was conveying to Zelenskiy, when “shorn of its rambling character.”

No actual transcript of Trump’s feedback with Ukraine’s president truly exists, only a tough transcript launched by the White Home.


TRUMP: “Liddle’ Adam Schiff … fraudulently and illegally inserted his made up & twisted phrases into my name with the Ukrainian President to make it appear like I did one thing very mistaken. He then boldly learn these phrases to Congress and tens of millions of individuals, defaming & libeling me.” — tweets on Sept. 28.

THE FACTS: Schiff’s remarks should not unlawful nor would it not be defamatory or libelous. Lawmakers are given large protections from legal responsibility for feedback made in the middle of Congress beneath the “speech or debate” clause within the Structure, which seeks to foster political debate.



TRUMP, on a World Commerce Group ruling permitting the U.S. to tax impose tariffs on $7.5 billion price of European imports yearly: “You by no means had wins with different presidents, did you? However we’re having quite a lot of wins on the WTO since I grew to become president.” — information convention Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Trump is mistaken that the U.S. by no means received any WTO victories beneath different presidents.

The U.S. has at all times had a excessive success fee when it pursues circumstances in opposition to different international locations on the WTO. In 2017, commerce analyst Daniel Ikenson of the libertarian Cato Institute discovered that the U.S. had received 91% of time it introduced a grievance that ended up being adjudicated by the Geneva-based commerce monitor. True, Ikenson famous, the international locations bringing complaints are inclined to win overwhelmingly. That is as a result of they do not trouble going to the WTO within the first place if they do not have a fairly sturdy case.

The WTO announcement culminated a 15-year combat over EU subsidies for Airbus — a combat that started lengthy earlier than Trump was in workplace.


TRUMP: “As I predicted, Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve have allowed the Greenback to get so sturdy, particularly relative to ALL different currencies, that our producers are being negatively affected. Fed Price too excessive.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Truly, most economists and plenty of manufacturing unit house owners level to Trump’s commerce insurance policies for the difficulties in U.S. manufacturing, not the Federal Reserve and Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Institute for Provide Administration reported on Tuesday that manufacturing unit exercise shrank in September for the second straight month. That report reveals that the manufacturing unit sector has been contracting largely due to the commerce struggle in opposition to China that Trump sparked by launching a salvo of tariffs.

The index relies on a survey of producers. Of the 10 quoted within the report, none blames the challenges they face on the Fed or the sturdy greenback. However three say the tariffs and commerce struggle have harm their companies.

“The first wrongdoer right here is the commerce struggle,” Eric Winograd, senior U.S. economist at AllianceBernstein, stated Tuesday.

Trump is correct that the Fed’s resolution to lift short-term rates of interest 4 occasions final yr contributed to a stronger greenback. Nevertheless it wasn’t the one issue. The U.S. financial system is rising extra rapidly than Europe’s or Japan’s, which attracts extra funding and boosts the greenback’s worth. And lots of international traders choose to spend money on U.S. Treasury securities when the worldwide financial system slows, as it’s now, as a result of Treasuries are seen as a protected haven. That additionally pushes up the greenback.

The Fed has reversed itself this yr and minimize its benchmark rate of interest twice, however that hasn’t weakened the greenback, as a result of different central banks are additionally reducing charges. Trump has beforehand urged the Fed to slash its fee to zero, however that would spook customers and companies, who would possibly see it as an indication {that a} recession is close to. Client spending may fall consequently and sluggish the U.S. financial system.

The sort of sharp fee cuts by the Fed that Trump is demanding would additionally doubtless encourage traders to put extra money in shares and different speculative investments. This is able to threat inflating a inventory market bubble to ranges which may finally destabilize the U.S. financial system.


AP Economics Writers Josh Boak and Christopher Rugaber in Washington and Related Press author Amanda Seitz in Chicago contributed to this report.


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