FactCheck.org http://www.factcheck.org A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center Tue, 23 Aug 2016 22:32:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 Twisting Clinton’s Immigration Plan http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/twisting-clintons-immigration-plan/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/twisting-clintons-immigration-plan/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 21:36:47 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112945 Donald Trump’s new TV ad on immigration creates a misleading comparison, saying that under Hillary Clinton, “illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay” but under Trump, “terrorists and dangerous criminals” are “kept out.” In fact, Clinton has said she would deport “violent criminals, terrorists, and anyone who threatens our safety.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to our questions about the ad. However, Clinton has supported measures, including the 2013 bipartisan Senate immigration bill, that would have allowed those living in the U.S. illegally who committed fewer than three misdemeanors, not including minor traffic violations, to stay — provided they met other requirements. This could be what the ad means by criminals “get to stay.”

If so, the ad, titled “Two Americas: Immigration,” misleads the viewer by contrasting Clinton’s plan with Trump’s proposal to keep “terrorists and dangerous criminals” out. That’s no different from what Clinton has proposed on illegal immigration. There are certainly different definitions of the word “dangerous,” but Clinton has used the same language in talking about whom she would deport. And the bill she supported barred convicted felons from becoming legal residents or citizens.

The Republican presidential nominee’s ad began airing Aug. 19 on a $4.8 million ad buy over 10 days in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, the campaign has said.

The ad begins with the narrator describing immigration “in Hillary Clinton’s America: The system stays rigged against Americans. Syrian refugees flood in. Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay. Collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line. Our border open.”

In contrast, the narrator gives this description of “Donald Trump’s America”: “Terrorists and dangerous criminals: kept out. The border: secured. Our families: safe.”

We’ve written about a few of these claims before. Clinton hasn’t supported “open” borders, as the ad falsely implies. The 2013 Senate immigration bill — the most recent comprehensive immigration legislation, which Clinton has said she backed — would have made large investments in border security, including additional border fencing, and Clinton said during a Democratic debate in November, “Border security has always been a part of that [immigration] debate.” As we’ll explain later, the immigration plan on her website talks about deporting some individuals. That’s not an “open” border.

The ad also uses a deceptive image of people crowded on top of train cars when it says “our border open,” as if anyone and everyone could stream in legally. That’s not what Clinton has proposed or supported. The 2013 Senate bill would have set up a path to citizenship for those who had entered the country prior to Dec. 31, 2011.

The ad also leaves the impression that “illegal immigrants” would be “collecting Social Security benefits” under Clinton’s presidency, but that would only happen if those immigrants became citizens or had legal status. And that’s the case under current law. As we’ve explained before back in 2009 and 2006, those in the country illegally are barred from collecting Social Security. Once an immigrant gains legal status, then that person can get credit for the Social Security taxes he or she paid when working illegally.

As for whether Clinton would allow a “flood” of Syrian refugees, that’s a matter of opinion. Obama has authorized the acceptance of 10,000 Syrian refugees for fiscal year 2016, while Clinton has said the number should be as many as 65,000. For context, there are nearly 5 million Syrian refugees displaced by the country’s civil war, which began in 2011. And the U.S. is set to accept a total of 85,000 refugees from around the world in fiscal 2016.

Trump has said that no Syrian refugees should be admitted to the U.S., because terrorists may be among them, and Clinton has said the refugees should be admitted “only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine.”

The claim that piqued our fact-checking interest, though, was the assertion that under Clinton “illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay.”

‘Criminals Stay’?

The ad includes a graphic that says “criminals stay” and a citation of “NBC News 7/9/16.” We tried internet and Lexis Nexis searches to find a relevant NBC News article on that day, but we came up empty. We asked the Trump campaign to point us to the article in question, and spokeswoman Hope Hicks told us over the phone that she would take a look at our emailed request. We have not received a response, but we will update this article if we do.

However, Clinton has talked about deporting criminals as part of her illegal immigration plan.

Clinton’s proposal says that she will send a plan to Congress that will include “a path to full and equal citizenship” within her first 100 days in office. That plan “will treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.”

The plan goes on to say that she would defend Obama’s executive orders to delay deportation for so-called DREAMers and the parents of citizens and lawful residents. But she specifically talks about deporting other immigrants, saying, she would “focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety.”

During a March Democratic debate, Clinton was asked about allowing immigrants to stay if they lacked a criminal record. She said: “But if you are asking about everyone who is already here, undocumented immigrants, the 11-12 million who are living here, my priorities are to deport violent criminals, terrorists, and anyone who threatens our safety.”

In a speech to the National Immigrant Integration Conference in December 2015, Clinton also talked about “prioritiz[ing] whom to deport.” She said: “Dangerous criminals? Yes. DREAMers and their families? No.”

As for Trump, he initially talked about deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally, but his stance has recently softened. At a February debate, he said that all immigrants with illegal status “will go out,” adding that some will “come back legally.” Last November, he talked about using a “deportation force” to deport all of the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

But in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Aug. 22, Trump said that “we’re going to get rid of all of the bad ones,” mentioning “gang members” and “killers,” and talked about using the existing deportation process for others. “As far as the rest, we’re going to go through the process, like they are now, perhaps with a lot more energy, and we’re going to do it only through the system of laws,” Trump said.

Trump described his deportation approach as similar to past administrations, including the current one. “What people don’t know is that Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. Bush the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I’m going to do the same thing and I just said that,” he told O’Reilly.

The candidates obviously differ on what to do about noncriminals who are illegally living in the United States: Clinton would create a path to citizenship, while Trump says he would keep existing laws and deportation processes. But as far as prioritizing whom to deport, both have said they’d focus on criminals and dangerous individuals.

What about the measures Clinton has supported in the past? The 2013 Senate immigration bill included a years-long path to citizenship, but that path would not have been available to those convicted of a felony, three misdemeanor crimes (not counting “minor traffic offenses”), a foreign crime or unlawful voting. Also, an individual would have been ineligible if there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that the person “is engaged in or is likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity.”

That would mean that an immigrant in the country illegally who was convicted of two misdemeanors could have stayed under the bill — provided that person met other requirements including paying a $500 fine and back taxes. Becoming a citizen then required other measures, such as having a steady work history, knowing English, passing background checks and more.

The bipartisan legislation, also known as the “Gang of Eight” bill, said that it would be possible for the secretary of homeland security to waive the barring of those convicted of three misdemeanors for “humanitarian” or “public interest” reasons. Under federal immigration laws, a misdemeanor is an offense punishable by up to a year in prison.

There are similar exclusions for felons and other criminals in Obama’s executive order on deferring deportation for so-called DREAMers, those who came to the United States at a young age and are attending or have graduated from high school or have served in the U.S. military. Among the requirements to apply for a two-year deferral of deportation proceedings: “Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety,” according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Such language leaves open the possibility that some convicted criminals — if their offenses were misdemeanors and fewer than three — would be allowed to stay under the types of proposals Clinton has supported. But contrasting that with a Trump plan to keep out “terrorists and dangerous criminals” is a misleading comparison. Clinton, too, has said she would deport “dangerous” and “violent” criminals, “terrorists” and “anyone who threatens our safety.”


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Clinton Campaign’s ‘Kremlin’ Deception http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clinton-campaigns-kremlin-deception/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clinton-campaigns-kremlin-deception/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:35:18 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112955 Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, made the baseless insinuation that Donald Trump compromised national security by inviting a man with Russian ties to his intelligence briefing.

Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mook said Trump was accompanied to his first intelligence briefing on Aug. 17 by “someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.” Mook claimed this “gentleman” — whom he did not name — “was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin” at RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December, and he demanded that Trump disclose “whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.”

Who is this mysterious, unnamed gentleman? The Clinton campaign told us Mook was referring to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who until two years ago was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama.

Flynn is not “on the payroll of the Russia Times.” He was merely one of many speakers at RT’s anniversary conference on Dec. 10, 2015, in Moscow. RT is a Russian government-funded TV station once known as Russia Today.

Mook made his misleading assertion about Flynn shortly after he claimed that “real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin.” Host George Stephanopoulos questioned Mook about that claim — which has been part of the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Trump ever since it was reported that Russia was likely behind the successful attacks on computer servers at the Democratic National Committee and the release of DNC emails.

Stephanopoulos: You’re saying he’s a puppet for the Kremlin?

Mook: Well, real questions are being raised about that. We — again, there’s a web of financial ties to the Russians that he refuses to disclose. We’ve seen over the last few week, him parroted Vladimir Putin in his own remarks. We saw the Republican Party platform changed. She saw Donald Trump talk about leaving NATO and leaving our Eastern European allies vulnerable to a Russian attack. The gentleman he brought with him to his security briefing just last week is someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. He was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin at their 10th anniversary gala.

There are a lot of questions here. And we need Donald Trump to disclose all of his financial ties and whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.

Trump has praised Putin and has called for improved relations with Russia, but he has denied that he has had any financial ties with Russia beyond holding the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow in 2013. Also, Trump’s personal financial disclosure report required of all presidential candidates does not show any investments in Russia.

However, Paul Manafort, who until last week was Trump’s campaign chairman, did have business dealings with Russian-aligned leaders in Ukraine, as uncovered by the New York Times. With Manafort gone, Mook redirected the campaign’s guilt-by-association attack on Trump by questioning Flynn’s associations with the Kremlin.

Trump was joined at his first intelligence briefing on Aug. 17 at FBI headquarters in New York City by Flynn and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As Huffington Post wrote, Flynn “was paid by a Russian state-funded television network to speak at its 10th-anniversary gala,” and Putin attended that conference. Reuters reported that Flynn “was pictured sitting at the head table with Putin” at the conference.

In an Aug. 15 article, Flynn told the Washington Post that his speaking engagement was arranged by his speaker’s bureau and that he was paid for it. He said he was introduced to Putin, but did not speak to him.

Flynn was one of many speakers at the conference. Others included former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and liberal U.S. media commentator Thom Hartmann.

Flynn sat for a one-on-one Q&A with RT correspondent Sophie Shevardnadze on the Islamic State terrorist group and the crisis in the Middle East. His conference topic coincided with the announcement that he is writing a book with Michael Ledeen on the Middle East called “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.”

The Clinton campaign provided no evidence that Flynn is “on the payroll” of RT or that he is “having meetings with the Kremlin,” as Mook alleged. It forwarded us a Politico story from May that said Flynn “makes semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst.” Politico wrote that Flynn is “presumably” paid for those TV appearances, but the retired lieutenant general told the Post that he is not paid by RT or any other TV stations, because “I want to be able to speak freely about what I believe.”

Steve Sestanovich, a senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told us that Flynn’s appearance at the conference certainly raises a question about Flynn’s “judgment and good sense,” but it probably doesn’t make him a security risk.

Flynn served for more than three decades in the military, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. He became the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama in July 2012. He was asked to resign after two years and quickly became one of the Obama administration’s most vocal critics on foreign policy. “I was asked to step down,” Flynn admitted in an interview with Foreign Policy. “It wasn’t necessarily the timing that I wanted, but I understand.”

Trump reportedly considered Flynn during his search for a vice presidential candidate, but ultimately picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The Clinton campaign certainly has legitimate questions it can raise about Trump’s foreign policy positions, such as his comments that he would “certainly look at” pulling the United States out of NATO, because it is “obsolete” and “is costing us a fortune.” But Mook goes too far in falsely claiming that Flynn is “on the payroll” of the government-funded Russia TV station and insinuating without evidence that the retired United States Army lieutenant general is a security risk.


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Unpacking Pot’s Impact in Colorado http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/unpacking-pots-impact-in-colorado/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/unpacking-pots-impact-in-colorado/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2016 21:21:37 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112770 During a town hall meeting, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson said “marijuana-related” traffic deaths, hospital visits and school suspensions in Colorado have “not significantly” increased since the state legalized the drug. That’s inaccurate. Statistics from various official sources show substantial increases.

But the limitations of the data make it impossible to know for sure how many of the documented incidents were directly caused by marijuana use. Unlike alcohol, for example, testing positive for marijuana doesn’t necessarily mean a person is under the influence of the drug at the time of the traffic accident.

SciCHECKsquare_4-e1430162915812Johnson, a former New Mexico governor who supports federal marijuana legalization, discussed the impacts of Colorado’s marijuana laws with CNN’s Anderson Cooper at a town hall meeting in New York City on Aug. 3.

In November 2000, Colorado legalized medical marijuana, which allowed qualifying patients or their caregivers to possess up to two ounces and grow six plants. In 2010, the state legalized medical dispensaries, and by 2012 there were 532 licensed dispensaries in the state and more than 108,000 registered patients.

In November 2012, the state legalized recreational marijuana, which allows any individual over age 21 to grow up to six plants and possess one ounce of marijuana. The 2012 law also permitted marijuana retail stores (in addition to medical dispensaries), the first of which received licenses in January 2014.

Cooper asked Johnson about reports of increases in “marijuana-related” fatalities and other incidents in Colorado under the new laws.

Cooper, Aug. 3: In Colorado there were increases in marijuana-related hospital visits, apparently traffic deaths, school suspensions. … How would you deal with other sort of follow-on effects [of legalization]?

Johnson: Actually, overall, Anderson, all the statistics were pointing north. Not significantly, but all the statistics were actually north. You may be pointing at some, some aberrations within that.

Johnson was wrong – increases in these incidents were significant. Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 154 percent between 2006 and 2014; Colorado emergency room hospital visits that were “likely related” to marijuana increased by 77 percent from 2011 to 2014; and drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40 percent from school years 2008/2009 to 2013/2014, according to a September 2015 report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic Area, a collaboration of federal, state and local drug enforcement agencies.

Quantifying the impact of the legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado will be important for policymakers considering whether to legalize marijuana on a federal level. In June 2014, for example, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton described Colorado and Washington as “laboratories of democracy,” when it comes legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

“We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now,” Clinton said. “I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”

But, as we said, the limitations of the data make assessing the benefits and costs of legalization difficult.

To unpack Colorado’s statistics, we’ll review the numbers law enforcement and others have collected, and we’ll explain the caveats attached to these findings.

‘Marijuana-Related’ Traffic Deaths

The definition of “marijuana-related” in the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic Area report makes it difficult to draw conclusions from the traffic fatality data, which were drawn from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the introduction of its report, the Rocky Mountain HIDTA states that terms such as “marijuana-related” or “tested positive for marijuana” do “not necessarily prove that marijuana was the cause of the incident.” The section on “Impaired Driving” also states that, when it comes to traffic fatalities, “marijuana-related” entails “any time marijuana shows up in the toxicology report [of drivers]. It could be marijuana only or marijuana with other drugs and/or alcohol.”

From 2009 to 2012, the “medical marijuana commercialization years,” the average yearly marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 48 percent compared with the “early medical marijuana era” between 2006 and 2008. In the first two years after the recreational use of marijuana became legal (2013 to 2014), the average yearly marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by another 41 percent.

From 2006 to 2014 overall, marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 154 percent, from 37 fatalities with drivers testing positive for marijuana in 2006 to 94 in 2014 — hardly an insignificant increase, as Johnson claimed. For comparison, there were 170 alcohol-related fatalities per year in Colorado between 2003 and 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Rocky Mountain HIDTA report emphasizes that the proportion of marijuana-related traffic fatalities to traffic fatalities as a whole increased as well: In 2014, marijuana-related traffic fatalities made up 19.26 percent of all traffic deaths, up from 6.92 percent in 2006.

But the increase in the proportion of marijuana-related traffic deaths could merely mean that more people are using the drug — not necessarily that more people are under the influence of marijuana when involved in fatal traffic accidents.

In fact, a January 2016 Rocky Mountain HIDTA update report, which only looked at youth and adult marijuana use, did note that 31.24 percent of college-aged adults (18 to 25) had reported using marijuana in the past month in 2013/2014, compared with 21.43 percent in 2005/2006. Likewise, 12.45 percent of adults 26-years-old and older used marijuana in the past month in 2013/2014, compared with 5.32 percent in 2005/2006.

It’s also worth noting that, according to the report, 37 percent of all drivers in 2014 who tested positive for marijuana, not just those involved in traffic fatalities, also had alcohol in their system. An additional 15 percent of all marijuana-positive drivers had other drugs in their system. And a further 15 percent of drivers had both alcohol and other drugs in their system, along with marijuana. Only 33 percent of tested drivers had only marijuana in their system.

Blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater is the legal threshold for driving while impaired in all 50 states. Blood alcohol concentration levels do correspond to a person’s intoxication level. However, marijuana and other drugs, such as cocaine and prescription pain killers, can stay in a person’s system for a few days, so the presence of the drug alone is not necessarily an indicator of intoxication.

Other states with legalized recreational marijuana also have seen similar trends in marijuana-related traffic fatalities. In May 2016, the American Automobile Association conducted an analysis of Washington’s marijuana-related fatalities and found that around twice as many “fatal-crash-involved drivers” had THC in their system in 2014 compared with previous years. Recreational marijuana became legal in Washington in November 2012.

Like the Rocky Mountain HIDTA’s 2015 report, the AAA report cautions that testing positive for THC doesn’t mean the driver was impaired or at fault for the crash. The AAA report added that many marijuana-positive drivers also had alcohol and other drugs in their system, “which in some cases likely contributed more significantly to the crash than did the THC.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also states that “the role played by marijuana in [traffic] accidents is often unclear, because it can remain detectable in body fluids for days or even weeks after intoxication and because users frequently combine it with alcohol.” Though the NIDA adds, “The risk associated with marijuana in combination with alcohol appears to be greater than that for either drug by itself.”

February 2015 “Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk” study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did find “a statistically significant increase” in crash risk (1.25 times) for drivers who tested positive for THC. But after the researchers controlled for age, gender, ethnicity and alcohol concentration level, increased crash risk associated with marijuana was no longer significant. This suggests these other variables “account for much of the increased risk associated … with THC,” write the study authors.

There’s also some evidence that medical marijuana laws may contribute to decreasing traffic fatalities. One study published in The Journal of Law & Economics in 2013 reviewed traffic fatalities in the 19 states that had passed medical marijuana laws by 2010 and found that “legalization is associated with an 8–11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities” for the year after the laws took effect. The researchers from the University of Colorado, Denver and elsewhere also found that the decrease is more significant for alcohol-related fatalities at 13.2 percent.

To be clear, there is evidence that “marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time,” according to the NIDA.

There is also no doubt that marijuana intoxication alone has played a direct role in some fatal crashes. The Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2015 report, for example, cites a November 2014 case in which a teenager driving under the influence of only marijuana hit and killed a 16-year-old high school student. In addition to testing positive for marijuana, the teenager also showed visible signs of intoxication, such as having trouble walking in a straight line and smelling like the drug. Passengers in the car also said the driver had smoked marijuana in the car prior to driving.

Still, the question remains as to whether Colorado’s marijuana laws, or Washington’s for that matter, have directly led to surges in traffic fatalities overall. At this point, the data don’t conclusively prove that they have.

‘Marijuana-Related’ Hospital Visits

The Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2015 report says data on “marijuana-related” hospital visits come from “lab tests, self-admitted or some other form of validation by the physician.”

But the data are not directly obtained from lab tests or physicians. The 2015 report primarily includes numbers crunched by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which used medical codes as a means of quantifying marijuana-related emergency room visits. Medical coding translates information from hospital charts, which could include lab test results and a physician’s notes, into alphanumeric codes used for billing and insurance purposes.

In other words, the “marijuana-related” information pertaining to emergency room visits goes through at least one round of telephone before it’s translated into statistics by CDPHE and other groups. As we’ll explain, this is part of the reason why these codes don’t “necessarily prove marijuana was the cause of the emergency admission,” as the Rocky Mountain HIDTA report states.

The report breaks the data down into Colorado emergency department rates for visits that are “likely related” and “could be related” to marijuana. The former showed a 77 percent increase from 2011 to 2014; the latter a 68 percent increase.

Emergency room visits that could be related to marijuana included “any mention of marijuana” in the medical codes, and that was “not necessarily related to the underlying reason” for seeking medical care, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Emergency room visits that are likely related to marijuana included instances in which medical codes for poisoning by psychodysleptics are mentioned. They also included instances in which codes for cannabis abuse are listed first, second or third by medical coders.

The state health department argues that, among a group of about 15 to 30 codes filed for emergency room visits, the first three codes are more likely to be “clinically significant” than codes recorded further down the list.

A psychodysleptic is a drug that produces hallucinations, such as LSD and psilocybin (mushrooms). In large doses, marijuana can also induce hallucinations, according to the NIDA. This means some cases included in CDPHE statistics may have been due to other psychodysleptics, and not marijuana.

Furthermore, Andrew Monte, an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist at the University of Colorado, Denver, told us by email that the order in which medical codes are listed is, in his experience, “arbitrary” because they are “assigned by billers, not practitioners at the bedside.”

For this reason, Monte and his colleagues chose to look at all instances of only marijuana-related medical codes in their recent study on emergency department visits related to the drug.

Published in The New England Journal of Medicine in February 2016, Monte’s study found that the rate of emergency department “visits possibly related to cannabis use among out-of-state residents doubled from 85 per 10,000 visits in 2013 to 168 per 10,000 visits in 2014, which was the first year of retail marijuana sales.” But for Colorado residents, “the rate of ED visits possibly related to cannabis use did not change significantly between 2013 and 2014.”

This difference between out-of-towners and residents, Monte and his colleagues reason, “may represent a learning curve during the period when marijuana was potentially available to Colorado residents for medical use … but was largely inaccessible to out-of-state residents.”

Still, Monte told us his “study design is flawed” because “many of the included cases are not due to cannabis,” since the data comes from medical codes.

The state health department report also states that increases in emergency room visit rates in Colorado “have many potential explanations” and that without a full medical record review, it cannot “determine with certainty whether marijuana was truly a causal or contributing factor,” even in “likely related” cases. “This is a significant limitation,” the state health department report says. Monte agreed. In fact, he currently has “a group working on this but it takes months to get through these charts.”

Overall, Monte said, he has “clearly seen increased adverse effects from cannabis use,” but Colorado’s “emergency departments and hospitals are not overrun by cannabis related complaints.”

Marijuana-Related School Suspensions

The Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2015 report also says, “Drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40 percent from school years 2008/2009 to 2013/2014. The vast majority were for marijuana violations.” This is also a significant increase, despite Johnson’s claim.

However, it isn’t clear whether the increase was due solely to marijuana, because the Colorado Department of Education collects data on drug-related suspensions and expulsions in general, not those particular to marijuana.

The Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2015 report says that the education department lumps all drug-related suspensions and expulsions together. But, it adds, department “officials reported that most drug-related suspensions/expulsions reported since the 2008/2009 academic year have been related to marijuana.”

To support this claim, the 2015 report cites a website run by Dr. Christian Thurstone, an expert in youth substance abuse at the University of Colorado, Denver. A post on Dr.Thurstone.com said that “officials with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) say the state’s schools are reporting ‘a sharp rise’ in marijuana-related troubles for students.”

But that’s not exactly what the one state education official said. Janelle Krueger, manager of the department’s Expelled and At-Risk Student Services program, told the Denver Post in November 2013, “We have seen a sharp rise in drug-related disciplinary actions which, anecdotally, from credible sources, is being attributed to the changing social norms surrounding marijuana.”

So Krueger didn’t say she was speaking specifically of marijuana-related suspensions and expulsions, but, rather, “drug-related disciplinary actions,” which could include other drugs and other less severe punishments.

The Rocky Mountain HIDTA 2015 report does provide anecdotal evidence from surveys of 95 school resource officers in Colorado: 90 percent of school officers reported an increase in marijuana-related incidents since the legalization of recreational marijuana; 9 percent saw no change, and 1 percent saw a slight decrease. The predominant marijuana violation seen by the majority of school officers was the possession of marijuana.

But there are at least two reasons why these surveys cannot conclusively show how many suspensions and expulsions are due to the legalization of marijuana. First, it’s unclear whether the marijuana-related incidents cited by school officers led to suspensions or expulsions. More important, the surveys reflect the resource officers’ impressions of the impact that marijuana laws have had on students at their schools, which aren’t quantitative and objective statistics.

In fact, some education department data suggest expulsions specifically related to marijuana have decreased between the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 school years.

In December 2014, Krueger and colleagues at the education department reported that, for students who participated in the state’s Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Program, “30.5% had been expelled for marijuana-related code of conduct violations” during the 2013/2014 school year, compared with 32.6 percent for 2012/2013. However, for both years, marijuana-related expulsions did make up the largest proportion of all expulsions.

But are kids using pot more often since Colorado made it legal?

The 2016 Rocky Mountain HIDTA updated report says yes, citing results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: 12.56 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 said they had used marijuana in the past month in 2013/2014 in Colorado, compared with 7.6 percent in 2005/2006.

However, according to the Department of Public Health and Environment’s 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, Colorado’s high school students’ marijuana habits haven’t changed much since 2009. In 2009, 25 percent of high school students said they had used marijuana in the past month, compared with 21 percent in 2015. Likewise, in 2009, 43 percent said they had tried marijuana once in their lifetime, compared with 38 percent in 2015.

Drug-related suspensions and expulsions have increased in Colorado. School officers also say they’ve seen an increase in marijuana-related incidents. But anecdotal testimony isn’t quantitative data. As for whether or not students are using marijuana more often today compared with years prior, the research has produced conflicting data.

Johnson was wrong when he claimed “marijuana-related” traffic deaths, hospital visits and school suspensions in Colorado have “not significantly” increased. All three have. What we don’t know is whether marijuana use is the cause of the increases or, if it is, to what extent.

Editor’s Note: SciCheck is made possible by a grant from the Stanton Foundation.

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‘Record’ College Enrollment Rates? http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/record-college-enrollment-rates/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/record-college-enrollment-rates/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2016 21:21:11 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112843 President Barack Obama credited his administration for what he said are “record … college enrollment rates.” But the most recent federal data show that rates of enrollment are not a record and have not improved much compared with the year before Obama was president.

Obama made that statement on Aug. 15 at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser where he talked about progress the country has made since he became president.

Obama, Aug. 15: It’s important because we have made extraordinary progress over the last eight years on a whole range of issues. … We are seeing record graduation rates in high school — and college enrollment rates.

It’s true that the U.S. is “seeing record graduation rates in high school,” as Obama said.

“In school year 2013-14, the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high schools rose to an all-time high of 82 percent,” according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s the percentage of ninth-grade students who graduated within four years.

But the overall number of people enrolled in college declined for four straight years, from 2010 to 2014, and the latest rate of enrollment for 2015 is not a record, either.


The immediate college enrollment rate was 69.2 percent in 2015, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That’s down from a high of 70.1 percent in 2009, and only 0.6 percentage points higher than the 68.6 percent in 2008 before Obama took office.

The immediate college enrollment rate is defined as the percentage of those ages 16 to 24 who complete high school (including GED recipients) and enroll in two- or four-year colleges in the fall immediately following graduation.

The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in degree-granting colleges or universities also wasn’t a record as of 2014.

That year, 40 percent of individuals in that age group were attending a two- or four-year college. However, the percentage was higher — 42 percent — in 2011, and the 39.6 percent enrolled in 2008 was only 0.4 percentage points lower than the most recent enrollment rate.

At the fundraising event, Obama also commented on the improvement of the U.S. economy, which experts say has contributed to the decline in college enrollments.

“Historically, as the economy improves and Americans get back to work, college enrollment declines,” Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell told CNN Money in May.

So a record percentage of students are now graduating from high school on time, but the rate at which those same students are enrolling in college — even compared with 2008 — isn’t quite record-breaking, nor has it improved much.


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Groundhog Friday http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/groundhog-friday-8/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/groundhog-friday-8/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2016 20:18:29 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112651 This week’s rundown of repeated claims includes former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Jeff Sessions and President Barack Obama, in addition to the presidential candidates and one of the running mates. Follow the links to our stories on the original claims for more information.

Groundhog2Former President Bill Clinton on Hillary Clinton’s emails, Aug. 12 in Las Vegas: “And the truth is that it was a mistake for her to use her personal email even though her predecessors had and her successor, John Kerry, did for a year until it was no longer legal.”

As his wife has done, Bill Clinton said “her predecessors” (plural) also used personal email for government business when they were secretaries of state. That’s false. Colin Powell was the only one to use personal email for government business. Like Clinton, Powell used a personal account “exclusively” for government business, but the State Department inspector general’s report issued in May made it clear that Clinton’s unusual email arrangement cannot be compared to previous secretaries.

The IG report said that it has been department policy since 2005 — four years before Clinton took office — that “normal day-to-day operations” be conducted on government servers. It also said that in 2007 the department adopted additional policies requiring “non-Departmental information systems” used to “process or store department information” to meet the same security controls as the department’s systems, and requiring that they be registered with the department. Clinton did not adhere to either policy. Clinton was secretary of state from January 2009 to February 2013.

“By Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the Department’s guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated,” the report said. “Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives.”

As for Kerry, the IG report said the current secretary of state has said he “infrequently” used personal email for government business, and “primarily” uses his government email account for official business.

“Clinton Spins Immigration, Emails,” July 8, 2015

“IG Report on Clinton’s Emails,” May 27



Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump’s child care plan, Aug. 15 rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania: “And there’s one more part of Trump’s plan I want to mention. He’s now saying he wants to help people pay for child care by excluding those payments from taxation. Well again, guess who that will help the most? It will help rich people, who will get 30 or 40 cents on the dollar to pay for their nannies. Hardworking families who can’t afford child care in the first place will get little to no real help. That’s why his child-care plan has been panned by experts across the political spectrum left, right, and center.”

Republican presidential nominee Trump initially provided little detail about his child care plan, saying in an Aug. 8 speech: “My plan will also help reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes.” And economists did criticize the plan for providing little benefit to low-income workers, since 44 percent of workers pay no federal income tax — therefore, they wouldn’t benefit from a deduction. But Trump’s campaign later said that “low-income taxpayers [would be] able to take deduction against payroll tax.”

The campaign also said in statements to the media that the plan would give “credit to stay-at-home caregivers” and that there would be an income cutoff for eligibility. No income threshold was given.

“Clinton’s Economic Speech,” Aug. 11



Trump on neighbors not reporting bombs on the floor of San Bernardino shooters’ home, Aug. 16 Fox News town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: “And San Bernardino, they saw bombs lying around the apartment. People saw it. And they wanted to be — they called it racial profiling. We didn’t want to call in because of racial profiling. In other words, a lawyer got to them and said you got a problem here, you knew this was — say racial profiling.”

Trump here adds a new twist to his baseless claim that neighbors saw bombs on the floor of the apartment owned by the San Bernardino shooters and did not report it due to concerns about racial profiling. In this telling, he says “a lawyer got to them” to say that. As we have said before, the neighbor in question only reportedly saw the couple receiving a large number of packages, and observed that they were working a lot in their garage. A friend of that neighbor said she didn’t report that because of concerns about racial profiling. There is no evidence that that neighbor, or any other, saw “bombs lying around the apartment” of the shooters.

“Trump’s Terrorism Speech,” Aug. 15

Donald Trump on Orlando Shooting,” June 21

Trump’s Press Conference,” July 27



Trump on Syrian refugees, Aug. 16 Fox News town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: “We’re letting thousands and thousands of people come into our country. We have no idea who they are, where they come from. There’s no paperwork. Nobody knows what they’re doing. And they’re coming in by the thousands.”

All refugees seeking to enter the U.S. must pass a more rigorous screening than anyone else allowed into the country, and those from Syria are subjected to special measures, including iris scans and an “enhanced review” by the Department of Homeland Security.

False GOP Theme: ‘Unvetted’ Refugees,” Aug. 4



Trump on the Iraq War, Aug. 16 Fox News town hall: “Look, I said one thing right from the beginning, I wanted to get out. We should have never been there and I wanted to get out and I’ve been — I’ve been against it ever since. I mean you can look back to 2004, 2003, uh, in fact, on Neil Cavuto’s show, before the war started, I said, let’s not do it. We have other things we have to do, including fix our economy, which was a mess, OK, to put it mildly.”

It’s not true that Trump told Cavuto “let’s not do it.” Trump made a similar claim in his Aug. 15 speech on terrorism, but as we wrote Trump did not take a position on the war when talking to Cavuto.

In the Jan. 28, 2003, interview — which occurred a week before then Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations to make the Bush administration’s case for war — Trump told Cavuto that President Bush needed to make a decision soon. “Either you attack or you don’t attack,” Trump said. That prompted Cavuto to ask Trump if he thought that “stringing this along could ultimately hurt us.” Trump responded by reiterating that Bush “has either got to do something or not do something,” and then Trump went on to say that public opinion polls showed that the economy is a “much bigger” political problem for Bush than “the Iraq situation.”

“Donald Trump and the Iraq War,” Feb. 19

“Trump’s Terrorism Speech,” Aug. 15



Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on Indiana jobs, Aug. 17 speech in Henderson, Nevada: “We’ve cut unemployment in half, and we’ve got more Hoosiers working than ever before in the 200 year history of our state.”

Pence, who is the governor of Indiana, made this claim during the Republican convention. And it’s true that there are more people employed in Indiana now than at any earlier period on record — but that’s not unusual. The total U.S. employment is also at record levels, as is the U.S. population. We looked at figures last month for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and only 18 states have failed to set a record for the number of jobs this year.

Job growth under Pence’s governorship also lags behind the national growth. Total nonfarm employment in the state has increased 5.3 percent from the time Pence first took office on Jan. 14, 2013, through July. Total U.S. employment grew even faster — by 6.8 percent — during the same period.

“Pence on Employment Record,” July 21



Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama on income, Aug. 14 interview on ABC’s “This Week”: “Wages have declined by $4,000 per median — median income has declined $4,000 since 2000.”

This is an outdated talking point, which was also recently used by Trump. Median household income was $4,000 less in 2014 than it was in 2000 — but more up-to-date figures show median household income is down $620 since 2000.

Census data is available through 2014, but Sentier Research provides more current estimates based on the monthly Current Population Survey, a statistical series from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sentier’s most recent report says median household income was $57,206 in June, slightly less than the $57,826 median figure for January 2000.

Also, paychecks — or “wages,” as Sessions first said — have been going up, especially in the last two years. The average weekly earnings for all workers in June was 3.1 percent above the figure for the same month in 2014.

“Trump’s Economic Speech,” Aug. 9



President Barack Obama on clean energy, Aug. 15 remarks at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser: “We have doubled our production of clean energy.”

Obama continues to make this inflated claim about clean energy in the United States. Monthly renewable energy production has increased by about 40 percent from January 2009 to April 2016, far from the 100 percent increase the president claimed. Wind and solar power have more than doubled since 2008 (they’ve quadrupled, even), but, together, they represent less than a third of renewable energy consumption in April.

Biomass, such as ethanol that is blended in gasoline, accounted for about half of all renewable energy production in both 2008 and 2015, and hydroelectric power is the second largest category of renewable energy consumption.

Renewable Energy ‘Doubled’?” Sept. 14, 2012



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Video: Clinton’s Partisan Game http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/video-clintons-partisan-game/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/video-clintons-partisan-game/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2016 20:15:55 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112905 The latest fact-checking video in our collaboration with CNN’s Jake Tapper is about a popular talking point used by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine.

In Florida on Aug. 8, Clinton made a false claim about the partisan leanings of Mark Zandi, a well-respected economist who has favorably compared Clinton’s economic plans with Donald Trump’s plans. Clinton described Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, as “somebody who advised John McCain back in 2008, so you know that, no, he’s not a Democrat.” Actually, Zandi is a Democrat, and he has donated $2,700 to Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Similarly, Kaine, at the party’s convention in Philadelphia, referred to Zandi as the “chief economic adviser” to Republican Sen. John McCain during McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Actually, Douglas Holtz-Eakin was McCain’s chief economic adviser. Holtz-Eakin told us that Zandi was hired to provide economic data to the McCain campaign’s economic advisory team and was not a direct adviser to McCain.

Holtz-Eakin criticized Clinton for perpetuating a false narrative about Zandi’s politics “for political reasons,” telling us “this ends today.” This talking point has been used in various forms by Democrats since 2010, including on other occasions this year by Clinton and Kaine.

For more about Zandi, his work for McCain in 2008 and his assessment of the 2016 economic proposals advanced by Trump and Clinton, please read “Clinton Plays Partisan Game.” All the CNN/FactCheck.org videos can be found on our website.

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Clinton Plays Partisan Game http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clinton-plays-partisan-game/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clinton-plays-partisan-game/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 22:59:22 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112442 It wasn’t enough that a well-respected macroeconomics firm concluded Hillary Clinton’s proposals — if fully implemented — would add millions of jobs while Donald Trump’s would cost millions of jobs. Clinton said that report came from “somebody who advised John McCain back in 2008, so you know that, no, he’s not a Democrat.” Actually, he is a Democrat.

In fact, Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, contributed the maximum amount allowable — $2,700 — to Clinton’s primary campaign.

For years, Zandi has been ensnared in a partisan game. Democrats frequently cite his work to bolster their arguments, and then quickly note that Zandi was once an adviser to McCain’s presidential campaign. In other words, the Democrats imply, even one of their guys says our plan is better.

That’s misleading, as we and other fact-checkers have noted time and again.

But last week, Clinton upped the rhetoric another notch, from misleading to downright false. She said that Zandi “advised John McCain back in 2008” and then added, “so you know that, no, he’s not a Democrat.”

Zandi’s role with the McCain campaign has frequently been overplayed. And Zandi confirmed to us that he is a longtime registered Democrat and that he contributed the maximum amount allowable — $2,700 — to Clinton’s primary campaign.

Some serious caveats to Clinton’s claim are also in order. Moody’s Analytics concluded that if Clinton were able to fully implement the plans she has outlined in her campaign, the economy would add 10.4 million jobs during Clinton’s presidency. But that’s 3.2 million more than it projects would be added under current law. Moreover, Moody’s Analytics doesn’t expect Clinton would be able to pass all of her proposals through a divided Congress. “Given the current political discord,” Moody’s expects Congress would put up “substantial roadblocks” to Clinton’s policy proposals, and under its “most-likely scenario,” a Clinton presidency would result in employment going just “a bit higher” than it otherwise would — putting the U.S. on a path to create 1.5 million more jobs over 10 years than is expected under current law.

The False Narrative of Zandi’s Politics

Reflexively identifying Zandi as “an adviser to McCain” or “McCain’s chief economic adviser” — as Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, wrongly did during his speech at the Democratic convention — has been an ongoing political game played by leading Democrats for years to try to add another layer of credibility to reports from Zandi’s firm deemed favorable to their position.

Zandi was hired to provide economic data to the McCain campaign’s economic advisory team and was not a direct adviser to McCain, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was the McCain campaign’s director of domestic and economic policy (aka the actual chief economic adviser to McCain). Clearly irritated, Holtz-Eakin told us in a phone interview that he was weary of and fed up with the false narrative about Zandi’s politics being “pushed for political reasons.”

“This ends today,” Holtz-Eakin said. “It’s wrong. … It’s not fair to Mark.”

Holtz-Eakin said he reached out to Zandi during the 2008 campaign to ask him to provide reports on economic and financial market data. Holtz-Eakin said he — not Zandi — then used that data to inform his policy recommendations to McCain.

Holtz-Eakin said Zandi did not talk to, meet with or otherwise directly advise McCain.

Zandi “advised me and me alone,” Holtz-Eakin said.

Holtz-Eakin said he hired Zandi because, “he’s a good economist, extremely knowledgeable about macroeconomics. … I have a lot of respect for Mark.”

For his part, Zandi noted that he was, in fact, named as an economic adviser to the McCain campaign.

“It’s a matter of public record, and it was broadcast by the campaign,” Zandi told us, pointing to an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2007 about McCain’s advisory committee of economists. The article noted that Zandi is a registered Democrat but quoted him saying that he has “done work for both Democrats and Republicans.”

“I devoted a significant amount of time and energy to the campaign, providing almost daily written briefings on the performance of the economy and financial markets, offering policy suggestions on how to respond to the developing crisis (including on mortgage restructuring and fiscal stimulus), and participating on numerous calls with the entire economics team,” Zandi told us via email.

In the realm of political infractions, highlighting just this one line from Zandi’s resume is perhaps a parking violation. But it has proven to be an intractable one, and it has been remarkably resistant to fact-checkers’ efforts over the years to set the record straight.

In September 2010, for example, we corrected Kaine, then chairman of the Democratic National Committee, when he referred to Zandi as “John McCain’s chief economics adviser.” Zandi had strongly endorsed the economic stimulus measure that McCain denounced as wasteful and ineffective. In 2011, we wrote about it again when President Obama referred to Zandi as “John McCain’s former economist” when citing Zandi’s report about jobs created by the stimulus.

Zandi’s role with the McCain campaign was again highlighted by Democrats in 2012, when on CNN, Zandi said of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax plan, “the arithmetic doesn’t work as it is right now.” Sen. Bernie Sanders even joined in — referring to Zandi as the “former economic adviser to John McCain” –when Zandi issued a report finding that the budget proposed by Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, would result in job losses.

So when Moody’s Analytics issued reports this year finding Clinton’s plans would do more for jobs than Trump’s, Clinton and Kaine wasted little time in reminding voters that this was McCain’s guy.

In a June speech in Ohio, Clinton said, “One of John McCain’s former economic advisers actually calculated what would happen to our country if Trump gets his way. He described the results of a Trump recession. We would lose 3.5 million jobs.” And it has become a regular talking point in her speeches ever since.

During a speech in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Aug. 8, Clinton said, “One independent expert — actually, the economist who advised John McCain in 2008, so you know, not somebody that has any pre-disposition towards our side.”

And then in a speech in Kissimmee, Florida, on Aug. 8, Clinton went one step further.

Clinton, Aug. 8: And one particular economist who looked at his plans, somebody who advised John McCain back in 2008, so you know that, no, he’s not a Democrat. He’s an independent economic analyst, and he basically said if Trump were able to implement what he’s proposing, heaven forbid, it would cost 3.5 million jobs. He would actually reduce jobs. And then to be fair, he looked at what I’m proposing, and he said what I’m proposing would create at least 10 million new jobs in the first four years.

Most recently, in a speech in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Aug. 16, Kaine referred to Moody’s as “the best economic analysis firm in the country,” adding, “They’re not Democrats. The chief economist, Mark Zandi, was John McCain’s head economist in 2008.”

Zandi set the record straight in an email to FactCheck.org.

Zandi, Aug. 10: Yes, I was an economic advisor to the 2008 McCain campaign for President. Doug Holtz-Eakin was his principal economic advisor. I provided daily reports on economic and financial market conditions, and I also provided policy advice on how to respond to the developing financial crisis. Yes, I’m a registered Democrat and I contributed $2,700 to the Clinton campaign during the Democratic primary. I have contributed in the past to Democrats and Republicans.

Public records back that up. According to records from the Federal Election Commission, Zandi donated $2,700 to the Clinton campaign in June. In recent years, he also has donated to former Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and to Katie McGinty, a Pennsylvania Democrat running for the Senate. Zandi also contributed to Sen. Arlen Specter in 2009, but after he had switched his party allegiance to become a Democrat. In the 2008 presidential election, Zandi contributed to Republican John McCain, though he declined to tell the Washington Post whether he voted for McCain or Obama.

Zandi said he will leave it up to the public to decide whether the Moody’s reports on Clinton and Trump are independent.

“The studies were done by a team of Moody’s Analytics economists using the same methods and models that we use for all of our work,” Zandi said. “They are available to the public, and those who are interested should read them and make up their own mind as to their independence.”

Again, Zandi is a highly regarded economist in the field of macroeconomic analysis, and we have no position on the content of his reports. But enough already with trying to boost the value of Moody’s Analytics reports by making it seem like Zandi is a Republican.

 Massaging the Moody’s Analytics Report

Now, about those reports. Clinton is spinning them some to present their findings in a light most appealing to her cause.

According to Clinton, the Moody’s reports found “if Trump were able to implement what he’s proposing, heaven forbid, it would cost 3.5 million jobs. He would actually reduce jobs. And then to be fair, he looked at what I’m proposing, and he said what I’m proposing would create at least 10 million new jobs in the first four years.”

The reports actually considered three scenarios, starting with forecasts of the economic impact should all of the candidates’ proposed policies be implemented — what the reports called the “face value” scenario. Then, Moody’s considered a version in which the candidates get what they want “but on a smaller scale” — what the reports call the “Lite” scenario. And finally, the reports considered a “most-likely scenario” if the candidate were elected, given that Congress would be unlikely to go along with all of the candidate’s proposals.

So when Clinton said she was citing the report’s finding on “if Trump were able to implement what he’s proposing,” she was referring to the “face value” alternative.

That’s fair: Candidates’ plans are often evaluated based on what they propose, even if it is politically unlikely that all of those plans would come to pass if they were elected. But there’s a major caveat to Clinton’s claim that Moody’s Analytics concluded her proposals “would create at least 10 million new jobs in the first four years.” That’s 3.2 million more jobs than if current laws were to remain in place.

Moody’s Analytics: During her presidency, the economy would create 10.4 million jobs, 3.2 million more than under current law.

Moody’s also cautioned that it’s highly unlikely Clinton would be able to enact all of her proposals.

Moody’s Analytics: Given the current political discord, it is reasonable to expect that the next Congress would put up substantial roadblocks to Secretary Clinton’s economic policy proposals. The current Republican-controlled Congress supports tax cuts and reform, and less non-military spending, not higher taxes and more spending. And it has been largely steadfast in its opposition to larger deficits. It is thus difficult to envisage any future Congress acquiescing to Secretary Clinton’s proposals. In this scenario, the next Congress makes the secretary’s proposals more politically workable. It would be a potential baseline, or most-likely scenario, if Secretary Clinton became president.

Under what it calls the “most-likely scenario,” Moody’s projects an economy under Clinton “similar to that experienced under current law” with more modest job growth. “Employment is as expected a bit higher,” the report states, than under current law. “By 2026, there are 1.5 million more jobs” than would be created under current policies.

Clinton accurately described the dire economic projection Moody’s forecast if Trump were able to implement all of his proposed policies at face value. If his policies were fully implemented, Moody’s predicts the economy would suffer an extended recession beginning in early 2018. The policies would also result in 3.4 million job losses over the course of Trump’s presidency. Under current law, the report states, the economy would otherwise be forecast to create 6 million jobs over the same period. In other words, that’s a swing of more than 9 million jobs.

But as is the case with Clinton, Moody’s does not expect Congress will go along with all of Trump’s proposals. The jobs projection under the “most-likely scenario” under Trump is not as dire. According to this scenario, “Employment barely budges in the first two years, and over his four years as president just over 2.8 million jobs are created. This is about half as many jobs as would be created if there were no changes to current economic policy.”

In other words, under the most-likely scenario for both candidates in the Moody’s reports, a Clinton or Trump presidency would see job growth — though under Trump the job gains would be less than under Clinton.


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Fake Clinton Medical Records http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/fake-clinton-medical-records/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/fake-clinton-medical-records/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 21:08:23 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112706 Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton got a clean bill of health from her doctor, fake medical records for Clinton are circulating on some conservative websites, purporting to show that she suffers from seizures and dementia.

Clinton’s longtime physician — whose name appears atop the alleged “leaked” documents — released a statement to FactCheck.org calling the documents “false,” and reiterating her diagnosis that Clinton is “in excellent health and fit to serve as President of the United States.”

The fake records are making the rounds just as some in the conservative media have been baselessly questioning Clinton’s health. Among them was Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who played a tape of Clinton vigorously shaking her head in a manner he deemed “seizure-esque” (although neither of the medical experts on his program agreed).

The doctored documents play off Clinton’s very real concussion in December 2012 — which caused her to suffer double vision for nearly two months starting in late 2012. But her longtime physician, Lisa Bardack, director of internal medicine, Mount Sinai Health System at CareMount Medical, says follow-up medical exams in 2013 “revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion.”

The fake documents, dated Feb. 5, 2014, which appear to have originated from a since-deleted Twitter account, purport to come from Dr. Bardack. But her title is wrong on the letterhead.

The letter purports to indicate that Clinton suffered complications from a 2012 concussion including “blacking out,” “uncontrollable twitching” and “memory loss.” It says Clinton has previously been diagnosed as having “Complex Partial Seizures” and “early-onset Subcortical Vascular Dementia.” The images were shared and discussed on numerous websites and in social media. But again, we can’t stress this enough: It’s a fake document.


The same Twitter user later posted what was purported to be a magnetic resonance angiogram of Clinton’s brain showing a significant “abnormality” in the brain tissue. This is also a bogus image.



In a statement provided to FactCheck.org by the Clinton campaign, Bardack dismissed the authenticity of these documents, saying they are “false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts.”

Bardack, Aug. 16: As Secretary Clinton’s long time physician, I released a medical statement during the campaign indicating that she is in excellent health. I have recently been made aware of allegedly “leaked” medical documents regarding Secretary Clinton with my name on them. These documents are false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts. To reiterate what I said in my previous statement, Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as President of the United States.

Bardack, who has served as Clinton’s personal physician since 2001, did publicly release a summary of Clinton’s health history and a medical evaluation in a letter dated July 28, 2015. It paints a much different picture than the fake documents.

According to Bardack’s letter, Clinton “is a healthy 67-year-old female whose current medical conditions include hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies.”

The letter discusses Clinton’s concussion — well-documented in the media at the time — and some of the lingering effects she suffered from it. As the New York Times noted in December 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion after fainting and striking her head. Bardack’s letter said Clinton suffered a stomach virus after traveling, and became dehydrated, which caused her to faint.

Bardack, July 28, 2015: During follow up evaluations, Mrs. Clinton was found to have a transverse sinus venous thrombosis and began anticoagulation therapy to dissolve the clot. As a result of the concussion, Mrs. Clinton also experienced double vision for a period of time and benefited from wearing glasses with a Fresnel Prism.

Here’s Clinton in those much-discussed glasses, which her aide acknowledged at the time was “because of lingering issues stemming from her concussion.”

Bardack said Clinton’s symptoms, including the double vision, went away within two months.

Bardack, July 28, 2015: She had follow-up testing in 2013, which revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion as well as total dissolution of the thrombosis.

Bardack said Clinton’s most recent physical examination on March 21, 2015, “revealed a healthy-appearing female.” Bardack said Clinton has a healthy diet and exercises regularly, including yoga, swimming, walking and weight training.

Bardack, July 28, 2015: In summary, Mrs. Clinton is a healthy female with hypothyroidism and seasonal allergies, on long-term anticoagulation. She participates in a healthy lifestyle and has had a full medical evaluation, which reveals no evidence of additional medical issues or cardiovascular disease. her cancer screening evaluations are all negative. She is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States.

Despite the public release of Bardack’s medical evaluation, some conservative pundits have questioned Clinton’s health and ability to serve as president.

On Fox News, Sean Hannity repeatedly speculated about serious health issues for Clinton. Hannity showed clips of Clinton in the midst of a coughing fit in February, stumbling while boarding a plane in 2011, and dramatically shaking her head during a press scrum in June (which Hannity said “almost looks seizure-esque to me”). Never mind that two medical experts on the program said the video did not appear to show seizures, though both called for a disclosure of medical records for both presidential candidates.

Hannity, Aug. 10: That last one in particular is so odd to me. What was your take?

Dr. Fiona Gupta, neurologist, North Shore Brain and Spine Center: You know, it’s just so hard to speculate based on snippets of the clips that, you know, what is going on without having a full examination and workup.

Hannity: Look at this video right here. Watch her reaction, because I’m not — it almost seems seizure-esque to me.

Gupta: There are different types of seizures, local seizures that sometimes can cause just one body part, but it would be very rare. I mean, typically seizures will generalize, so I can’t say that’s a seizure.

Hannity: Aren’t there many seizures like that, Dr. Siegel?

Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News medical contributor: I’m not a neurologist, and I don’t think that necessarily looks like a seizure, but I will say this …

An Associated Press reporter who was among those shouting questions to Clinton during the press scrum inside a muffin shop called it an “innocuous exchange” that has “become the fodder for one of some Trump supporters’ most popular conspiracy theories: her failing health.”

“Perhaps eager to avoid answering or maybe just taken aback by our volume, Clinton responded with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds,” AP reporter Lisa Lerer later wrote. “Video of the moment shows me holding out my recorder in front of her, laughing and stepping back in surprise. After the exchange, she took a few more photos, exited the shop and greeted supporters waiting outside.”

An opinion writer for Newsweek, who has epilepsy, wrote that Clinton’s movements looked “nothing like” a seizure. The writer called Hannity’s speculation degrading to people with epilepsy, and he demanded an apology.

But Hannity isn’t the only one questioning Clinton’s physical fitness to be president. Though he was vague, Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, said in a speech on foreign policy on Aug. 15 that Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS, and all of the many adversaries we face – not only in terrorism, but in trade and every other challenge we must confront to turn our great country around.”

Neither Trump nor Hannity referenced the fake medical documents purporting to be from Dr. Bardack. But their baseless speculation is also refuted by the public statements and medical evaluation released by Clinton’s longtime doctor.


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Manafort Off Base on Terrorist Claim http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/manafort-off-base-on-terrorist-claim/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/manafort-off-base-on-terrorist-claim/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:13:03 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112653 Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, wrongly claimed that “the NATO base in Turkey” was attacked last week by “terrorists.” Middle East experts told us there wasn’t any such attack. One expert called Manafort’s remark a “total fabrication.”

Manafort, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” accused the media of ignoring major news stories last week and instead covering stories that were critical of Trump. He cited, for example, the extensive media coverage of Trump’s comment that perhaps “Second Amendment people” could stop Hillary Clinton from making Supreme Court appointments.

Trump’s Second Amendment comment, which he made Aug. 9, was perceived by some as a threat against Clinton. Trump later said he only meant that gun-rights supporters could deny Clinton an election victory if they mobilize to elect him. Manafort told CNN’s Jake Tapper that “you covered this aside about the Second Amendment for three days.”

Manafort, Aug. 14: I mean, there’s plenty of news to cover this week that I haven’t seen covered. You had information coming out about pay-for-play out of emails of Hillary Clinton’s that weren’t turned over, by the way, to the Justice Department for her investigation. That’s a major news story.

You had — you had the NATO base in Turkey being under attack by terrorists. You had a number of things that were appropriate to this campaign, were part of what Mr. Trump has been talking about.

Let’s first dispense of Manafort’s comment that Clinton’s emails weren’t covered. They were widely covered, as Tapper said.

Manafort is referring to emails and other State Department documents that were released on Aug. 9 by Judicial Watch. As part of its ongoing freedom of information lawsuit against the State Department, the conservative group disclosed that it had obtained “296 pages of State Department records, of which 44 email exchanges were not previously turned over to the State Department.” That email release was widely covered by the media, including CNN, which reported that the emails “raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure” as secretary of state.

The coverage may not have been as extensive as Manafort would have liked, but he was wrong to say that it wasn’t covered.

What about the failure of the media to cover a “NATO base in Turkey being under attack by terrorists”?

“There was no terrorist attack on a NATO base in Turkey that I am aware of,” Steven A. Cook, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told us in an email.

Other experts said the same thing. “There was no attack on the American base by anyone in Turkey,” Henri J. Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., said in an email. “Total fabrication.”

What was Manafort talking about? We don’t know because the Trump campaign did not respond to our requests for information.

There was, of course, a failed military coup in Turkey on July 15. The Turkish government claims Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-exile in Pennsylvania, plotted the coup attempt. Turkey describes Gulen as the leader of the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization,” and it has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen, as the New York Times has reported.

Kemal Kirisci, director of the Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution, said Manafort may be referring to the coup attempt and the Fethullah Terrorist Organization, but he said the U.S. does not consider the group to be a terrorist organization.

“The term ‘terrorism’ is being used these days in a very loose fashion,” Kirisci told us. “The Turkish government defines this group as a terrorist organization. And in some ways it is a terrorist organization. The West does not define this group as a terrorist group.”

Also, the coup attempt happened a month ago (not a week ago) and it was widely reported (not ignored by the media).

The experts with whom we consulted also told us that there were anti-American demonstrations  in late July at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Turkey is a NATO member, and Incirlik is sometimes misidentified as a NATO base. But it is not, Cook told us. It is operated jointly by the U.S. and Turkey.

The anti-American demonstrations sprung from the belief widely held in Turkey that the U.S. was behind the coup attempt “either directly or simply because the man widely suspected to be the leader of the conspiracy, the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-exile in the United States,” as the New York Times explains.

Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense authorized news outlet, reported that there were at least 1,000 demonstrators on July 28, but operations at the base were not disrupted. There were protests again on July 30, and this time Turkish police blocked access to the base amid inaccurate speculation of a second military coup, Stars and Stripes reported.

“Mr. Manafort may be referring to the fact that Turkish police surrounded Incirlik airbase, which is not a NATO facility,” Cook said. “That happened about 2.5 weeks ago.”

The anti-U.S. demonstrations at the base did not receive much U.S. attention that we could find. But Barkey told us they were “peaceful.”

There simply is no evidence that we could find of a “NATO base in Turkey being under attack by terrorists,” as Manafort claimed.


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Trump’s Terrorism Speech http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/trumps-terrorism-speech/ http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/trumps-terrorism-speech/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:41 +0000 http://www.factcheck.org/?p=112658 In a speech in Ohio on terrorism, Donald Trump repeated several fact-twisting and bogus claims he has made before:

  • He again said that he opposed the Iraq War “from the beginning,” and this time pointed to two interviews as support. But he didn’t express an opinion in one interview on whether the U.S. should invade Iraq. And the other came more than a year after the war had started.
  • Trump blamed President Obama for saying, “here’s our time, here’s our date” for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, but that date had been set by an agreement signed by President George W. Bush.
  • Trump wrongly said that one of the San Bernardino shooters “very openly” supported jihad online. The FBI said the messages on jihad that it found were private messages — not public postings.
  • Trump again claimed with no evidence that a neighbor of the San Bernardino shooters “saw … bombs on the floor” of their home but didn’t report it because of racial profiling concerns. One neighbor reportedly saw the couple receiving several packages and doing work in their garage.
  • Trump said “Hillary Clinton’s plan” would allow 620,000 refugees from around the world to resettle in the U.S. during a first term as president. But Clinton didn’t say that. The number comes from a Republican-led subcommittee that made assumptions about what Clinton would do as president.

Still No Evidence for Iraq War Claim

Trump misrepresented a TV interview he gave in January 2003 to claim that he opposed the Iraq War “from the beginning.” In that interview, Trump said polling showed the economy is a “much bigger problem” for President Bush than Iraq, but he expressed no opinion on whether the U.S. should invade.

As we have written before, Trump on numerous occasions has made the claim without providing evidence that he was opposed to the Iraq War before it started. In this speech, he claims to have the evidence — but he doesn’t have the goods. Instead, he cherry-picks his quotes to twist the facts.

Trump, Aug. 15: I was an opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning – a major difference between me and my opponent. Though I was a private citizen, whose personal opinions on such matters were really not sought, I nonetheless publicly expressed my private doubts about the invasion. I was against it, believe me. Three months before the invasion I said, in an interview with Neil Cavuto, to whom I offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery, that quote, perhaps we shouldn’t be doing it yet and that the economy is a much bigger problem.

Trump did not tell Cavuto that “we shouldn’t be doing it yet and that the economy is a much bigger problem.” Trump is conflating two separate statements and presenting them as a single sentence and thought.

A little background: The Jan. 28, 2003, interview with Cavuto on Fox Business was conducted prior to President Bush’s State of the Union address that would be delivered that night. Cavuto starts by asking Trump what advice he would give the president on how much time to devote to Iraq and how much to the economy. Trump said the American public is “much more focused now on the economy,” and he criticized the Bush administration for dragging out the decision on whether to invade Iraq.

“Either you attack or you don’t attack,” Trump said.

Trump softened his criticism when Cavuto asked Trump if what he was saying was that Bush’s indecision “could ultimately hurt us.”

“Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps [we] shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know,” Trump responds. “He’s under a lot of pressure. He’s — I think he’s doing a very good job.”

Trump switched to defending the administration and presented the alternative argument that the invasion should have the support of the United Nations. He didn’t say the U.S. shouldn’t invade Iraq.

Trump then went on to say, “But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned.”

Once again, Trump didn’t say the U.S. shouldn’t invade Iraq. He said public opinion polls show the economy is a “much bigger problem” for Bush.

Below is a fuller exchange with Cavuto. We marked in bold the passages that Trump highlighted in his speech. They are not part of the same sentence, or even the same thought.

Cavuto, Jan. 28, 2003: If you had to sort of breakdown for the president, if you were advising him, how much time do you commit [in the State of the Union] to Iraq versus how much time you commit to the economy, what would you say?

Trump: Well, I’m starting to think that people are much more focused now on the economy. They are getting a little bit tired of hearing, we’re going in, we’re not going in, the — you know, whatever happened to the days of the Douglas MacArthur. He would go and attack. He wouldn’t talk. We have to — you know, it’s sort like either do it or don’t do it. When I watch Dan Rather explaining how we are going to be attacking, where we’re going to attack, what routes we’re taking, what kind of planes we’re using, how to stop them, how to stop us, it is a little bit disconcerting. I’ve never seen this, where newscasters are telling you how — telling the enemy how we’re going about it, we have just found out this and that. It is ridiculous.

Cavuto: Well, the problem right there.

Trump: Either you attack or you don’t attack.

Cavuto: The problem there, Donald, is you’re watching Dan Rather. Maybe you should just be watching Fox.

Trump: Well, no, I watch Dan Rather, but not necessarily fondly. But I happened to see it the other night. And I must tell you it was rather amazing as they were explaining the different — I don’t know if it is fact or if it is fiction, but the concept of a newscaster talking about the routes is — just seems ridiculous. So the point is either you do it or you don’t do it, or you — but I just — or if you don’t do it, just don’t talk about it. When you do it, you start talking about it.

Cavuto: So you’re saying the leash on this is getting kind of short here, that the president has got to do something presumably sooner rather than later and stringing this along could ultimately hurt us.

Trump: Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps [we] shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know. He’s under a lot of pressure. He’s — I think he’s doing a very good job. But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned.

Trump also offered as evidence an interview with Esquire that ran in the August 2004 edition — 17 months after the Iraq War started. As we have written, Trump was an early critic of the war after it started, but we can find no clear evidence that he was opposed to it before it started.


Withdrawal from Iraq

Trump blamed President Obama for setting a date for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, but that date had been set by an agreement signed by President George W. Bush.

Trump: But I have been just as clear in saying what a catastrophic mistake Hillary Clinton and President Obama made with the reckless way in which they pulled out. After we had made those hard-fought sacrifices and gains, we should never have made such a sudden withdrawal – on a timetable advertised to our enemies. They said we’re moving out, here’s our time, here’s our date. Who would do this but an incompetent president?

As we recently explained, some have argued that Obama could have done more to renegotiate the Status of Forces Agreement signed by Bush in 2008. But Trump blames the wrong president for, in his words, saying, “here’s our time, here’s our date.”

Bush signed the SOFA on Dec. 14, 2008. It said: “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.” Then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in a book published in 2011 that Bush didn’t want to set a deadline and wanted an agreement for a residual force — but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki objected. Bush reluctantly signed the agreement.

Obama had three years to renegotiate, and, indeed, Obama sought to leave a residual force of 5,000 to 10,000 troops. But Maliki wouldn’t agree to shield U.S. troops from criminal prosecution by Iraqi authorities, and the negotiations ended in October 2011 over that issue.

Then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta later wrote in his 2014 book that Obama didn’t press hard enough for a deal. But some experts say Maliki wasn’t going to agree to a residual force. Iraq was more closely aligned with Iran at that point.

Maliki “wanted the Americans out of there — and the Iranians wanted the same thing,” Princeton University professor Bernard Haykel, who heads the university’s Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, told us. “I don’t think there was a deal to be had — not one in which the Americans would have had immunity.”

As for Clinton — who was secretary of state at the time — she publicly supported Obama. In 2014, she blamed the Iraqi government for not coming to an agreement to protect American troops. In a recent interview with the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker, Joby Warrick, a Post reporter and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” said that “[w]ithin the administration, Clinton was one of the loudest forces for keeping a residual force in Iraq.”

And as for Trump’s views on leaving Iraq, he strongly supported withdrawing in March 2007, telling CNN. “You know how they get out? They get out. That’s how they get out. Declare victory and leave, because I’ll tell you, this country is just going to get further bogged down.”


Missed Signs?

Trump cited two bogus examples to back up his point that “warning signs were totally ignored” in recent terrorist shootings.

  • He claimed one of the San Bernardino shooters “very openly” supported jihad online. It was incorrectly reported that the shooter had posted public messages supporting jihad on social media, but the FBI later clarified that those were private messages.
  • Trump wrongly claimed that “a neighbor [of the San Bernardino shooters] saw suspicious behavior — bombs on the floor and other things – but didn’t warn authorities because they said they didn’t want to be accused of racial profiling.” The neighbor in question only reportedly saw the couple receiving a large number of packages, and observed that they were working a lot in their garage.

Stop us if you’ve heard these before, because we have written about these claims several times. But it bears repeating: Neither of these claims has been substantiated.

Here’s what Trump said in his Aug. 15 speech on “Understanding The Threat: Radical Islam And The Age Of Terror.”

Trump: Another common feature of the past attacks that have occurred on our soil is that warning signs were totally ignored. …

The female San Bernardino shooter on her … statements and everything that she said. She was here on a fiancee visa, which most people have never even heard of. From Saudi Arabia. And she wanted to support very openly jihad, online. These are the people we’re taking in.

A neighbor saw suspicious behavior — bombs on the floor and other things – but didn’t warn authorities because they said they didn’t want to be accused of racial profiling. Now, many are dead, and many more are gravely wounded.

We wrote about the first claim back in March when then Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz claimed that the woman involved in the San Bernardino, California, shooting had “publicly posted on social media calls to jihad.”

The Dec. 2, 2015, shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 dead was carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook, who was born in the United States, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who came to the U.S. from Pakistan in July 2014 on a K-1 fiancee visa. Farook and Malik were killed in a police shootout.

Support material for Trump’s speech provided by his campaign links to two articles, one by CNN and the other in the Los Angeles Times, both on Dec. 14. Both stories cited unnamed law enforcement officials saying that the woman sent messages advocating jihad on social media, but both noted the messages were private and written under a pseudonym.

The New York Times — which wrote on Dec. 12 that Malik had “talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad” — later added an editor’s note explaining that that wasn’t correct, and that FBI Director James B. Comey said on Dec. 16, 2015, that the online communication the FBI had found from late 2013 between the two San Bernardino shooters was in “private, direct messages, not social media messages.”

Comey went on to say: “So far in this investigation we have found no evidence of the posting on social media by either of them at that period of time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom.”

The Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, wrote about the Times’ “faulty” original report, which relied on anonymous sources. Sullivan quoted Executive Editor Dean Baquet as saying, “This was a really big mistake.”

Sullivan wrote that Comey’s statements, in addition to further reporting by the Times, found “Ms. Malik had not posted ‘openly’ on social media. She had written emails; she had written private messages, not visible to the public; and she had written on a dating site. … In other words, the story’s clear implication that those who vetted Ms. Malik’s visa had missed the boat – a clearly visible ocean liner – was based on a false premise.”

Trump was also off-base with his claim that “a neighbor saw suspicious behavior — bombs on the floor and other things – but didn’t warn authorities because they said they didn’t want to be accused of racial profiling.”

Despite Trump’s repeated claims, there is no evidence that any neighbor saw “bombs on the floor” of the San Bernardino shooters’ home but declined to report it because of racial profiling concerns.

Authorities did find what the Los Angeles Times described as “an armory of weapons and explosives … including a dozen pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition” in the Redlands home of the couple responsible for the shooting rampage. But there is no evidence so far that any neighbors knew about that cache of explosives.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Los Angeles’ KTLA 5 aired an interview with a man, Aaron Elswick, who is a friend of one of the neighbors. Elswick said the neighbor told him she noticed, “They were receiving quite a number of packages and they were also working a lot in their garage.”

“And it sounds like she didn’t do anything about it,” Elswick said. “She didn’t want to do any kind of racial profiling.”

On the day of the shooting on Dec. 2, 2015, CBS Los Angeles also aired an interview with a “man who worked in the neighborhood the past three months” who “said he noticed unusual activity.” But the extent of the “unusual activity” reported by the man — who was not identified in the news report — was that he noticed six well-dressed “Middle Eastern guys” walk from the home to a nearby lunch spot on several occasions. The man said he and his co-workers wondered, “What are those guys doing in this neighborhood?”

Neither of those reported cases includes someone who saw the inside of the home, let alone “bombs on the floor,” as Trump claims.


Clinton on Refugees

Trump, citing a Senate subcommittee report, said that “Hillary Clinton’s plan” would allow 620,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S. during her first term as president. But Clinton didn’t say that’s how many refugees she would allow into the country. The Republican-led subcommittee made assumptions about what Clinton would do as president.

Trump: The United States Senate subcommittee on immigration estimates that Hillary Clinton’s plan would mean roughly 620,000 refugees from all current refugee-sending nations in her first term, assuming no cuts to other refugee programs. So it could get worse.

Last year, Clinton proposed that the U.S. accept 65,000 refugees from Syria. That was 55,000 more than the 10,000 President Obama authorized for admission from that country for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. In all, Obama authorized the admission of 85,000 refugees from all nations in fiscal 2016, and Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the administration would aim to admit at least 100,000 global refugees in fiscal 2017.

To get to 620,000 refugees, the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and The National Interest assumed that Clinton would do something she has not explicitly said that she would — allow 155,000 refugees into the U.S. each year during her first term as president.

Subcommittee on Immigration and The National Interest, June 27, 2016: Assuming Clinton’s desire to bring in 65,000 Syrian refugees is in addition to the Obama Administration’s current goal of admitting 10,000 this fiscal year (out of 85,000 total refugees), that would amount to an increase of 55,000 refugees. ‎55,000 on top of 85,000 totals 140,000 refugees. The Obama Administration’s target for FY 2017 is actually 100,000 refugees, meaning that adding 55,000 refugees to that would result in 155,000 refugees each year. Due to statutory flaws in our Refugee Admissions Program, the number could be as high as Hillary Clinton desires. Assuming her goal is to admit 155,000 refugees each year during a hypothetical first term in office, a Clinton Administration would admit at least 620,000 refugees in just four years – a population roughly the size of Baltimore.

So, it’s not “Clinton’s plan” to admit 620,000 refugees as president. The subcommittee assumed she wanted to do that, even though Clinton has not specified a figure for all refugees over four years.

Trump went on to say that the Republican subcommittee “estimates her plan would impose a lifetime cost of roughly $400 billion when you include the costs of health care, welfare, housing, schooling, and all other entitlement benefits that are excluded from the State Department’s placement figures.” So, that “lifetime” estimate is also based on an assumption about the number of admitted refugees that Clinton has not yet addressed. It relies on other assumptions as well, such as that most of the refugees would be low-skilled workers.


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