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Fact Checking Clinton, Trump Debate Claims

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Here are claims from the presidential debate and how they stack up with the facts:

Watch: First Presidential Debate

  • Trump on the loan that launched his business

DONALD TRUMP: “My father gave me a small loan in 1975…”

THE FACTS: Trump got a whole lot more than a small loan. Aside from a $1 million financing from his father, Trump received loan guarantees, bailouts and a drawdown from his future inheritance. Reporter Tim O’Brien noted in a 2005 book that Trump not only drew an additional $10 million from his future inheritance during hard times, but also inherited a share of his father’s real estate holdings, which were worth hundreds of millions when they were eventually sold off.

  • Clinton misrepresents stance on Pacific trade

HILLARY CLINTON, denying Donald Trump’s accusation that she called the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade agreements: “I did say I hoped it would be a good deal.”

THE FACTS: Trump is correct. As secretary of state, Clinton called the deal that was taking shape the “gold standard” of trade agreements, in a 2012 trip to Australia, and championed the agreement in other venues around the world. She did not merely express the hope that it would turn out well.

Clinton flip-flopped into opposing the trade deal in the Democratic primary when facing Bernie Sanders, who was strongly opposed to it.

  • Trump on Clinton and the Islamic State group

TRUMP: “No wonder. You’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.”

THE FACTS: Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and is currently 68 years old. She reached adulthood in 1965. The Islamic State group grew out of an al-Qaida spinoff, al-Qaida in Iraq in 2013, the year Clinton left the State Department.

  • Clinton on debt-free college

CLINTON: As part of a list of economy-building moves, called for “making college debt free so more young people can get their education.”

THE FACTS: Clinton has proposed making college tuition free for in-state students who go to a public college or university. But tuition free doesn’t equate to debt free.

Under her plan, the government would pay for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities for students from families earning less than $125,000 a year. That would leave students still bearing the cost of room and board, which makes up more than half of the average $18,943 sticker price at a four-year public university, according to the College Board.

Experts worry about other effects: Will colleges raise tuition once the government starts paying, increasing the cost to taxpayers? Will more students flock to public colleges because of the subsidy, also raising costs?

  • Donald Trump on his tax returns

TRUMP: “You don’t learn a lot from tax returns.”

THE FACTS: Donald Trump was explaining why he won’t release his tax returns, although numerous other presidential candidates have done. And yes, one can learn quite a bit. Tax returns might not answer every question about Trump’s finances, but they’d provide vital information about his wealth, taxes paid, tax avoidance efforts, exact amounts of real estate holdings and charitable donations that can’t be gleaned from any other source. For these reasons, every major party candidate for the last 40 years has released at least a few years of recent tax returns.

  • Trump on Federal Reserve

TRUMP: “The Fed, by keeping interest rates at this level, the Fed is doing political things. … The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.”

THE FACTS: This is a recurrent claim by Trump with no evidence to back it up. It’s the Federal Reserve’s job to help improve the economy and to the extent that happens, political leaders and their party may benefit. But presidents can’t make the Fed, an independent agency, do anything.

Under former chairman Ben Bernanke and current chairwoman Janet Yellen, the Fed has attracted controversy by pegging the short-term interest rate it controls to nearly zero for seven years. After one increase in December, it is still ultra-low at between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent, a rate that some economists worry could spark a stock-market bubble or inflation. Bernanke was initially appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, and reappointed by President Barack Obama.

One reason Yellen is keeping rates low is that, in some ways, she agrees with Trump that hiring needs to keep growing to provide jobs for Americans who want them.

  • Trump on discrimination in his business

TRUMP: Donald Trump said that a 1970s racial discrimination case against his real estate business was settled “without any admission of guilt” and that the case was brought against “many real estate firms.”

THE FACTS: The first claim is technically correct; the second is flatly false.

Trump and his father fiercely fought a 1973 discrimination lawsuit brought by the Justice Department for their alleged refusal to rent apartments in predominantly white buildings to black tenants. Testimony showed that the applications filed by black apartment seekers were marked with a “C” for “colored.” A settlement that ended the lawsuit did not require the Trumps to explicitly acknowledge that discrimination had occurred — but the government’s description of the settlement said Trump and his father had “failed and neglected” to comply with the Fair Housing Act.

Trump is also wrong to say that the suit was brought against many real estate developers — it was specific to buildings rented by him and his father.

  • Clinton and Trump on possible Russian hacking

CLINTON: “Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans.”

TRUMP on hacking of the Democratic National Committee: “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC… I mean it could be Russia. But it could also be China. It could be lots of other people. It could be somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds.”

THE FACTS: Clinton’s claim is an exaggeration; Trump’s assessment doesn’t reflect U.S. intelligence.

After the DNC hack in July and initial reports linking Moscow, Trump suggested that Russia should focus on getting deleted messages from the private email server Clinton used as secretary of state.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. But he didn’t call specifically for Putin to “hack into Americans,” as Clinton put it.

Meanwhile, Trump’s refusal to point the finger at Moscow is at odds with the prevailing position of the U.S. intelligence community and in line with the flattering comments he’s made about Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, throughout the campaign.

Last week, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said, “There’s a tradition in Russia of interfering with elections, their own and others.” The top Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees say they’ve concluded Russian intelligence agencies were trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Russia has denied the accusation.

  • Trump glosses over Iraq’s sovereignty

TRUMP: “Had we taken the oil (in Iraq), and we should have taken the oil, ISIS would not have been able to form.”

THE FACTS: Donald Trump’s assertion that the U.S. should have seized Iraq’s natural resources would have required that it also seize control of the country. That ignores the fact that Iraq is a sovereign nation, and the U.S. at no point threatened to take possession of it.

To achieve Trump’s stated goal of destroying Islamic State militants’ revenue stream, the U.S. has bombed oil facilities in Iraq. The bombing was designed to render the oil facilities inoperable, but not destroy them, so Iraq could rebuild its economy with its oil when the conflict ended.

  • Clinton, Trump loose with facts on Iran deal

CLINTON on nuclear deal: “It’s been very successful in giving us access to facilities we’ve never been to before.”

TRUMP: “We gave them $150 billion back.”

THE FACTS: Both are playing loose with the facts.

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency had been present in Iran’s declared nuclear facilities like Natanz and Fordo long before the July 2015 agreement that eased economic sanctions on the country in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

The agency’s inspectors had also visited previously the Parchin military base, where nuclear weapons testing was suspected to have taken place. When the IAEA sought answers on Parchin in September 2015, the Iranians were permitted to take their own soil samples.

As to Trump’s claim about the $150 billion, the deal allowed Iran to get access to its own money that was frozen in foreign bank accounts, estimated at about $100 billion. The U.S. didn’t give Iran $150 billion.

  • Trump on Russian military

DONALD TRUMP on Russia’s military capacity: “Russia’s been expanding. They have much newer capabilities than we do.”

THE FACTS: Russia has indeed been expanding its military and increasing spending on weapons and equipment. But the U.S. still has far more advanced military aircraft, weapons and capabilities than Russia. In addition, the Pentagon plans to spend $108 billion over the next five years to sustain and improve its nuclear force and is developing the next generation bomber.

  • Trump overstates job losses to Mexico

TRUMP: “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. … Ford is leaving, thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio.” He added, “They’re leaving, and they’re leaving in bigger numbers than ever.”

THE FACTS: There are no official data on job flows between countries. However, the U.S. economy has added nearly 14.9 million jobs since 2010, when the economy bottomed out after the recession.

Since GM and Chrysler declared bankruptcy, the auto industry in particular has recovered and resumed hiring. The industry has added 300,000 jobs since June 2009, when the recession ended. Ford has announced it is moving production of small autos to Mexico, but the company maintains that it won’t cut any U.S. jobs because it will make other vehicles at the affected plant.

  • Trump on his tax audits

TRUMP: “I’ve been under audit for almost 15 years.”

THE FACTS: Donald Trump has never provided any evidence to the public that he is actually under audit. A letter released by his tax attorneys never used the word, merely describing his tax returns as under continuous examination. “Continuous examination” is not a formal term for any kind of action by the Internal Revenue Service.

Trump has declined to provide the IRS’ formal notice of audit to The Associated Press and other news outlets. And former IRS officials have expressed skepticism that anyone would be audited so frequently.

  • Trump’s tax payment

TRUMP, responding to Hillary Clinton’s statement that he didn’t pay any federal income tax in the early 1990s, as recorded in documents from New Jersey gaming regulators: “That makes me smart.” Asked by reporters after the debate if he had admitted to not paying federal income taxes, Trump said, “I didn’t say that at all.”

THE FACTS: Trump did say during the debate not paying taxes made him smart. And documents show it’s true — he didn’t pay taxes for at least two years in the early 1990s. But his failure to pay taxes wasn’t the result of savvy tax planning. Instead, Trump avoided taxes in a simpler way: by losing money. According to documents from New Jersey gaming regulators, Trump posted losses from his creditors writing down his debts during those years that were large enough to cancel out any gains he would have had to report

Tax avoidance may have played a larger role in Trump not paying taxes during better years in the late 1970s and in 1984. As for more recent years, the size of Trump’s tax payment is unclear because he has refused to release his returns, citing an IRS audit. The IRS and tax experts have said the audit doesn’t prevent Trump from making his returns public.

  • Clinton on jobs

CLINTON: “Independent experts have looked at what I’ve proposed and looked at what Donald’s proposed, and basically they’ve said this: that if his tax plan…were to go into effect, we would lose 3.5 million jobs and maybe have another recession. They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said…we will have 10 million more new jobs.”

THE FACTS: The numbers come from one expert, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, a widely respected analyst but one who has also donated to Clinton’s campaign. His estimate that Trump’s plan would cost 3.5 million jobs was issued in June 2016, and Trump has altered his tax cut proposals and other policies since then. And Zandi estimated Clinton’s policies would actually create 3.2 million more jobs over 10 years, not 10 million. An additional 7.2 million would be created under current law, Zandi calculated. Adding the two gets 10 million-plus.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


One Comment

  1. mstarvin says:

    Who is doing your fact checking?? Obama paid Iran to release the hostages and now this has emboldened them and they buzz or ships in international waters…. The hostages even stated that they were told they were waiting until the plane with the money arrived before they were allowed to leave….

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Please cite sources absolutely proving that anyone was paid. Remember, when you get your information from Trump, it is typically a lie so please do not use him as a source. Please use a credible source. I understand they waited for planes. Do you have any idea how it works when you get hostages? Do some looking into the release of the iran hostages in the 1970s…not the movie as it was close but not completely factual. The original plan was for Pan Am to fly in. I know this because my sister in law was scheduled to be on the plane. Iran changed its mind and said no private aircraft. It took a lot of waiting to determine what plane would go in for the hostages. It took more waiting to determine which planes would fly in after the hostages were released to pick up any nonIranians remaining and who feared for their lives. Pan am (with my SIL as one of crew) was one of them. She is not certain of other two carriers but thinks maybe Swiss Air and British Airways.

      That is how it works. I don’t know who expected an airplane to simply fly in and out, but it doesn’t happen like that.

  2. Your style is unique compared to other people I have read stuff from.
    Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark
    this web site.

  3. American says:

    Trump raped himself hard.

  4. Concerned American says:

    Trump lied about being against the Iraq war, then he lied about saying he would have left troops there, he said he would have pulled out every troop and let them have a civil war.
    Trump lied about not saying that the CHinese created global warming.
    Trump lied about the woman who he claimed said Hilary started the birther movement.

    All these lies and many others are left out.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      You cannot be the individual who used to use Concerned American….can you?

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