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fact check
February 12, 2019

Early on Tuesday, President Trump expressed that he was not happy with the preliminary bipartisan deal in place to avoid another government shutdown. But he also added that he was "thrilled" with where things were going overall and that "the bottom line is we're building a lot of wall."

Fox News anchor Shep Smith quickly dismantled this notion, reminding viewers that the president has "been saying this for a while now, but it's simply not true." Instead, Smith said that workers "have replaced and repaired sections of the existing wall and fences, but so far they have not built anything new."

He added that the new deal — if it passes through Congress and the president signs it — "could create 55 miles of new fencing and border," but no wall. Smith did say that there is "some wiggle room" in the new deal "that could allow the president to add more money for his proposed wall and more money for detaining people."

Smith also fact-checked Trump's declaration at his rally in El Paso on Monday evening that the city's wall "turned a violent city safe." Smith pointed out that violent crime was at a historically low level in the Texas city when Congress authorized the El Paso section of steel fence in 2006. Watch Smith's full debunking at Mediaite. Tim O'Donnell

February 11, 2019

President Trump will rally supporters in El Paso Monday evening, where he is expected to use the city as part of his case for building more walls along America's southern border.

"The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and [was] considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities," Trump claimed in his State of the Union address last week. "Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities. Simply put, walls work, and walls save lives."

This may be a compelling argument, but the facts don't support it. As is the case across the country, violent crime has markedly declined in El Paso for decades after peaking in the early 1990s. It was already historically low when Congress approved new border wall construction in 2006 and when new barriers were built in El Paso in 2008 and 2009. In fact, NBC reports, violent crime in the city actually increased during and after those years of wall construction.

Speaking on CNN Saturday evening, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) said Trump must have been given "misinformation" for his SOTU claim about El Paso's past crime rates, because it was "not factually correct." Should Trump repeat his claim at the rally, Margo said, he would "absolutely" correct him. Bonnie Kristian

December 17, 2018

Rudy Giuliani is convinced Special Counsel Robert Mueller won't get to question President Trump. Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano has a reality check.

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday, Trump's lawyer declared Mueller's investigation a "joke" and said the special counsel would get to question the president "over my dead body." But Napolitano, who serves as Fox News' legal analyst, told Fox News' Bill Hemmer on Monday that wasn't quite true.

While Giuliani's message was intended to be a message to Mueller, "Rudy knows that, one way or another, Mueller gets to question the president," Napolitano said. It might be "one-on-one with Rudy whispering answers in the president's ear," Napolitano said, or it could be "before a grand jury without Rudy there," he said.

Monday's comments mark the latest in Napolitano's skeptical streak on Fox News airwaves. On Wednesday, Napolitano told Fox News' Shep Smith that federal prosecutors "have evidence" that Trump "committed a felony by ordering and paying [his former lawyer] Michael Cohen to break the law." And on Thursday, things got a little more harsh, with Napolitano going on a fact-checking spree against hosts and guests on Fox & Friends. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 30, 2018

President Trump says it's legal for him to end America's constitutionally-guaranteed birthright citizenship. Legal scholars and even members of his own party definitely disagree.

Trump confirmed Monday to Axios that he wants to issue an executive order ending America's guarantee of citizenship to all people born in the country. That's explicitly unconstitutional, and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) didn't hesitate to let Trump know in a Tuesday tweet. The congressman has maintained his GOP roots while "distancing" himself from the president on immigration, NPR recently noted. And in his tweet, Curbelo continued to call for "broad immigration reform" that "secure[s]" America and "reaffirms our wonderful tradition as a national of immigrants."

Trump used to think "you needed a constitutional amendment" to end birthright citizenship, but now says he learned "you don't," he told Axios Monday. Despite what Trump claims, legal experts say the 14th Amendment ensures the president is wrong. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 5, 2018

After most of the Philadelphia Eagles opted out of a traditional Super Bowl victory visit to the White House, Trump scrapped the whole thing for a national anthem extravaganza instead.

It's blatant retaliation for NFL players kneeling during the national anthem — except the Eagles never kneeled.

So when Fox News reported the cancellation over footage of Eagles players kneeling, the players were quick to punt back. Tight end Zach Ertz clarified that they weren't kneeling in protest, they were kneeling in prayer, and called the manipulative usage of the images "propaganda."

Defensive end Chris Long went even further, implying that Trump is Fox News' "boss."

And wide receiver Torrey Smith concisely dispelled with the notion that any Eagle kneeled during the 2017-18 regular season.

Even if players weren't kneeling, Trump tweeted that staying in the locker room during the anthem was just as bad. (The Eagles didn't do that either.) Kathryn Krawczyk

Update 11:01 a.m. ET: Fox News issued an apology for using the "unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer" in its segment about the canceled White House visit. You can read their full statement here.

May 24, 2018

President Trump and his allies have spent the past week stoking unfounded fears that the Deep State planted a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump didn't let up on Thursday, tweeting:

Trump was immediately called out on his lies. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper actually said the opposite of what Trump claims, Politifact reports: Clapper's exact quote when asked "was the FBI spying on Trump's campaign" was, "No, they were not. They were spying on — a term I don't particularly like — but on what the Russians were doing."

There is no publicly available evidence that there was any politically motivated spying on Trump's campaign. Rather, an FBI informant spoke with two Trump campaign advisers in 2016 after being alerted to suspicious contacts with Russia. "Accusations that the FBI was 'spying' on the Trump campaign — rather than spying on foreign spies, which is its job — erase the important distinctions between counterintelligence and criminal investigations," argued Asha Rangappa at The Washington Post.

Many critics believe Trump is intentionally branding the intelligence community as partisan as a means of discrediting Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Read how Trump's strategy might just be crazy enough to work here at The Week. Jeva Lange

March 29, 2018

President Trump is entering his sixth day in a row without any appearances in public, but he took some time out of his morning Thursday to sound off about his "concerns with Amazon." Central to the president's ire (aside from the fact that Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the "failing" Washington Post) is that Amazon uses "our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.)." As Axios reported Thursday, this is not actually true.

"It's been explained to [Trump] in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon," one person in the know said.

Last year, Trump aired a similar complaint on Twitter: "Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer?" he wondered. Vox dug into the question and found that while the USPS is "bleeding money," its parcel service is actually one arm that is "doing okay."

(Atlas)

While the Post Office likely does cut deals with Amazon, Vox adds in conclusion that "Amazon doesn't need the USPS. The same isn't necessarily true for the USPS." Quartz's own analysis found "Amazon and the broader e-commerce sector aren't what's ailing the USPS. They just might be keeping it afloat." Axios notes that some post offices in America have even added Sunday delivery because "Amazon made it worthwhile." Jeva Lange

April 17, 2017

Over the weekend, The Times of London caused a bit of a stir in the U.S. with a report that President Trump "has made clear" that a ceremonial ride through London, from the Royal Mews to Buckingham Palace, in one of Queen Elizabeth II's gilded carriages is "an essential element" of his state visit in October. The article was based on unidentified "officials" and "security sources," who warned that the procession would require an unprecedented "monster" of a security operation. Former President Barack Obama opted for "the Beast," the president's heavily armored limousine, for his visit with the queen in 2011, to spare his hosts such a security nightmare.

"The vehicle which carries the president of the United States is a spectacular vehicle," a source told The Times. "It is designed to withstand a massive attack like a low-level rocket grenade. If he's in that vehicle he is incredibly well protected and on top of that it can travel at enormous speed. If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased." The queen's carriage is ostensibly bulletproof, the source said, but "it would not be able to put up much resistance in the face of a rocket propelled grenade or high-powered ammunition. Armor-piercing rounds would make a very bad show of things."

Anyone who has seen Trump's apartment in Trump Tower knows that the president is fond of gold, but a White House spokeswoman calls the report that he is demanding a gold-plated carriage ride with Queen Elizabeth "completely false," telling People: "We have not even begun working on details for this trip." In any case, if Trump does insist on traveling in gold, he will not be alone: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are among the world leaders who chose to go the carriage route with the queen during their state visits. Putin even rode with the top down. Peter Weber

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