In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper details several claims President Donald Trump made in a White House Rose Garden speech. The president made misleading and false claims about the special counsel investigation and a House special election.
In his May 22 remarks, Trump claimed there was, “No collusion. No obstruction.” As we’ve written before, special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s report did say “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.” However, on the obstruction question, the report did not exonerate the president. It said, “Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” and it examined those acts in detail.
Trump’s Attorney General William P. Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded the investigation did not establish that Trump had committed the criminal offense of obstruction of justice.
The president also claimed in his remarks that he allowed the special counsel team to “have whatever they want.” But that’s false. Trump refused to be interviewed in person, submitting only written responses, which the Mueller report described as inadequate. “[O]n more than 30 occasions” Trump said he “does not ‘recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an ‘independent recollection’” in response to questions, while other answers were “incomplete or imprecise,” the Mueller report said.
Finally, Trump falsely claimed that a special House election in Pennsylvania this week was “a 50/50 shot” and yet the Republican candidate, Fred Keller, “won in a landslide” after the president held a rally to stump for him. Keller won a solidly Republican district, in which, Roll Call reported, “outside groups and the national parties have not engaged … which is a sign that it is not expected to be competitive.” Had the new lines been drawn for the district in the 2016 election, Trump would’ve won it by 36 points.
All of our fact-checking videos produced in collaboration with CNN’s “State of the Union” are on our website.