Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met Wednesday for their final debate, and CNN’s Reality Check Team spent the night analyzing their claims.
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the debate and selected key statements from both candidates, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
Reality Check: Trump on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s remarks
By Kate Grise, CNN
Trump called out the Supreme Court justice for her criticism of his candidacy.
“Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent and she was forced to apologize,” he said. “And apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made.”
Ginsburg called Trump a “faker” in a July 11 interview with CNN.
“He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment,” Ginsburg said. “He really has an ego … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”
“At first I thought it was funny,” she said. “To think that there’s a possibility that he could be president.”
Early that same week, Ginsburg also told The Associated Press that if Trump won the presidency, “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”
She also told The New York Times, “I can’t imagine what this place would be – I can’t imagine what the country would be – with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be – I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
Ginsburg later said she regretted the remarks.
“On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” Ginsburg said in a statement. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future, I will be more circumspect.”
We rate Trump’s claim true.
Reality Check: Trump justices would overrule Roe v. Wade ‘automatically’
By Steve Vladeck, CNN
Trump’s claim that the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade would be overruled by justices he would appoint to the Supreme Court “automatically” is belied by history.
Although Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointed justices who they believed would overrule the 1973 decision recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to choose an abortion, three of those appointees – Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter – famously voted to preserve the Roe decision in 1992.
Even if a President Trump were only to appoint “pro-life” justices, there is simply no way to ensure that any particular decision, including Roe, would be “automatically” overruled.
Reality Check: Clinton ‘fought for the wall,’ Trump claims
By Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Trump thundered that Clinton “fought for the wall in 2006.”
Clinton did indeed support a border barrier in 2006 – she voted for George W. Bush’s Secure Fence Act, which paved the way for 700 miles of security along the southern border. But as the name implies, it was a “fence,” not a wall.
It’s unclear if that is still an official campaign position. Her position on immigration reform, as listed on her website, says close to little about how she would secure the border.
Confronted by Latino anchor Jorge Ramos about the difference about her position and Trump’s, Clinton said in January.
“We do need to have secure borders, and what that will take is a combination of technology and physical barriers,” she told him.
“But you want a wall, then,” Ramos replied.
“I voted for border security – and some of it was a fence, I don’t think we ever called it a wall,” she replied, before conceding: “Maybe in some cases it was a wall.”
The difference is largely semantic – both are physical barriers that prevent people from crossing. But Trump isn’t entirely accurate.
Verdict: True, but misleading.
Reality Check: Clinton says undocumented workers pay more income tax than Trump
By Amy Gallagher, CNN
Talking about taxes, Clinton again maligned Trump for not paying income tax and went on to say “half of all immigrants, undocumented immigrants in our country actually pay federal income tax. We have undocumented immigrants in America who are paying more federal income tax than a billionaire.”
Is this true?
According to CNN’s own reporting based on government statistics, undocumented immigrants do pay taxes, both payroll taxes, such as social security tax and income tax. In fact, the government itself found that “50% to 75% of the about 11 million unauthorized US immigrants file and pay income taxes each year.”
So the first part of her claim is true, and might even be an understatement.
From the little we’ve seen of Trump’s tax returns, it appears possible that he has paid no income taxes since 1995. He hasn’t denied the specific accusation, though he made it clear that he pays other kinds of taxes.
Given what we know, we’ll rate Clinton’s claim true.
Reality Check: Trump says Obama admitted thousands of Syrians
By Laura Koran, CNN
Trump claimed that President Barack Obama has admitted “thousands and thousands” of Syrians, adding, “they have no idea where they come from.”
Let’s break this claim down.
The Obama administration amended its refugee quotas for the 2016 fiscal year in response to the growing migrant crisis, paving the way for at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US. They ended the fiscal year at the end of September having admitted more than 12,500 Syrians as part of this increase.
The administration called for a further increase in the overall refugee admissions quota for the 2017 fiscal year, from 85,000 to 110,000. Officials have not offered a specific goal for Syrians, but plan to admit 40,000 refugees from the geographic region that includes Syria.
There is also an “unallocated reserve” of 14,000 the administration can use to adjust admissions for populations facing the greatest need, which this administration (or more likely the next one) could use to increase the number of Syrians.
The second part of Trump’s claim suggests the US does not know the identities of the refugees who are entering the country.
Administration officials have called the vetting process for refugees “the most stringent” applied to any group of people entering the country.
The process includes biometric and biographical checks involving officials from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI.
The process is made more complicated by the fact that the administration doesn’t have a diplomatic relationship with the Syrian government and therefore isn’t able to verify some details about applicants on the ground.
Obama’s own FBI director, James Comey, acknowledged the issue, saying last year, “If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”
But officials involved in the process insist the vetting process is a holistic one, and the interagency team takes advantage of a host of tools to verify applicants’ identities and their suitability to be relocated to the US.
Verdict: The first part of Trump’s claim is true. The Obama administration has already admitted well over 10,000 Syrian refugees and has put forward a plan that would allow for the admission of thousands more. The second part of his claim is false. Refugees undergo a vetting process that can take over 12 months to verify their identities.
Reality Check: Trump and Clinton on Second Amendment
By Lisa Rose, CNN
During a discussion about gun rights and the Supreme Court, Trump said Clinton intends to nominate justices who would “dismantle” the Second Amendment. To illustrate his point, he referenced comments Clinton and her advisers have made about a landmark case that overturned a handgun ban in Washington, DC.
Trump claimed Clinton was “upset” by the D.C. v. Heller decision, which reinforced the right for individuals to own firearms but included the caveat that gun rights aren’t absolute. Clinton responded that she was upset about one portion of the 5-4 ruling, which overturned Washington’s handgun ban and its safe storage law, requiring firearms to be kept in safes or locked boxes to prevent accidents.
“I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case,” said Clinton. “Because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from getting guns. They wanted people with guns to safely store them and the court did not accept that reasonable regulation.”
Although Clinton said she objected to one narrow sliver of the D.C. v. Heller decision during the debate, she expressed broader opposition to the ruling in a Bloomberg Politics article published last spring.
“Clinton believes Heller was wrongly decided in that cities and states should have the power to craft common sense laws to keep their residents safe, like safe storage laws to prevent toddlers from accessing guns,” said Maya Harris, a policy adviser to Clinton, in a statement emailed to Bloomberg. “In overturning Washington DC’s safe storage law, Clinton worries that Heller may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future.”
In a recording leaked from a private fundraiser last year, Clinton said, more broadly, “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment” while talking about the case.
Because Clinton has said that she thought the high court erred in D.C. v. Heller, we rate Trump’s claim true.
We rate Clinton’s claim as true, but misleading. During the debate, she said she opposed one part of the ruling but her past comments suggest she feels the whole case was wrongly decided.
Reality Check: Trump on Chicago’s gun laws
By Sonam Vashi, CNN
When moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump why he opposed any limits on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, Trump said: “Well, let me tell you before we go any further, in Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the United States, probably you could say by far, they have more gun violence than any other city. So we have the toughest laws, and you have tremendous gun violence.”
Trump and other Republicans have often cited Chicago as having some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
But while Chicago was once tough on guns, courts and gun rights advocates have overturned much of the legislation. The Supreme Court reversed Chicago’s handgun ban in 2010, a federal appeals court toppled the Illinois concealed carry ban in 2012 and Chicago began allowing gun stores in the city in 2014 for the first time in years after gun rights proponents pressured the city, according to the Chicago Tribune.
So while Chicago does have tough gun regulations, they are not necessarily the toughest in the nation anymore.
Chicago does see extreme raw numbers of gun violence, more than the rest of the country, although that’s affected by the city having a larger population than many other cities.
Additionally, the Chicago Police Department says it recovers more guns than any other city in the nation. That situation is affected by other states around Chicago; 60% of recovered guns in Chicago from 2009 to 2013 were first sold outside of Illinois, in states with softer gun laws, according to a 2014 report from the Chicago’s mayor’s office.
CPD authorities say violence in the city is often fueled by repeat offenders. And even when people who commit gun crimes are convicted, Chicago-area judges do not often give harsh sentences. In 2014, the Chicago Sun-Times analyzed Cook County convictions for illegal gun possession and found that most defendants received the minimum sentence – one year. That time didn’t even count early releases of prisoners under good behavior laws.
Trump is arguing that regulations like bans on assault rifles won’t necessarily reduce gun violence, because Chicago’s tough laws haven’t stopped its gun violence. But using Chicago as an example doesn’t work: its regulations have been scaled back, its gun violence is affected by more lenient laws in other states and its punishments are not always tough on gun crime, potentially enabling repeat offenders.
Trump’s correlation between gun regulation effectiveness and Chicago’s gun violence is egregiously misleading, making his claim false.
Reality Check: Clinton on 33,000 gun deaths annually
By Ali Foreman, CNN
“We have 33,000 people a year who die from guns,” Clinton claimed.
Her claim is in line with not only statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which reported 33,599 people killed by firearms in 2014) but also the rhetoric of her primary campaigning. In a February debate against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton said, “On average, 90 people a day are killed by gun violence in our country.”
While Clinton’s figures are correct – the CDC’s reported number rounds to about 92 firearm-related deaths a day – the context provided in Wednesday night’s debate misses the mark.
She expanded upon the statistic, saying, “I think we need comprehensive background checks, need to close the online loophole, close the gun show loophole … I see no conflict between saving people’s lives and defending the Second Amendment.”
Clinton’s use of this figure in support of gun control gives the impression that 33,000 Americans are violently killed by firearms each year. As we pointed out in February, the CDC’s statistic encompasses many types of gun-related deaths – not only violent, intentional encounters.
In addition to the 11,409 individuals killed as a result of gun violence (homicide and legal intervention), that 33,599 also includes suicides, unintentional deaths, and incidents with undetermined intent.
For this reason, we will rate Clinton’s claim for a second time true, but misleading.
Reality Check: Trump claims he doesn’t support nuclear proliferation
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
Clinton and Trump sparred over the Republican candidate’s statements about nuclear weapons.
Clinton claimed Trump had been “very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons,” an assertion Trump interjected to claim was “wrong.” The Democratic candidate continued: “He’s advocated more countries getting them. Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia.”
Trump disputed the characterization of his stance: “There’s no quote. You’ll not find a quote from me,” he said, saying he advocated countries taking steps to defend themselves, but “didn’t say nuclear.”
Over the course of his campaign, Trump has taken different and convoluted stances on nuclear proliferation. He suggested to The New York Times on March 27 that because North Korea has nuclear capabilities, Japan should develop a comparable defense.
“If Japan had that nuclear threat, I’m not sure that would be a bad thing for us,” he said then.
Pressed in various CNN interviews since then, Trump expressed a similar stance. He told Anderson Cooper on March 29: “Wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?”
And when Wolf Blitzer asked in May whether Trump was “ready to let Japan and South Korea become nuclear powers,” Trump answered affirmatively.
“I am prepared to, if they’re not going to take care of us properly, we cannot afford to be the military and police for the world,” he said.
But he’s also expressed a general opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons, telling CNN in March, “I hate nuclear more than any” and “I don’t want more nuclear weapons.”
Ultimately, Trump is on the record expressing support, at least in the hypothetical, for countries that currently don’t have nuclear weapons eventually obtaining them.
Reality Check: Trump on Clinton allowing abortions ‘two or three or four days prior to birth’
By Ben Tinker, CNN
When asked by moderator Chris Wallace about late-term abortion, Trump responded, “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that’s OK and Hillary can say that that’s OK, but it’s not OK with me. Because based on what she is saying, and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month, on the final day and that’s not acceptable.”
While Clinton has said she believes a fetus lacks constitutional rights, she did vote against a ban on late-term abortions in 2003 while serving as a senator from New York.
“The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make,” Clinton said in the debate Wednesday night.
“I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one can get – that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term, or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.”
Roe v. Wade, decided by the Supreme Court in 1973, made abortions legal during the entire term of a pregnancy, but put restrictions on the procedure during the second and third trimesters.
Clinton does believe mothers should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy at any point – up until birth – if her life is in danger, but abortions as late in a pregnancy as Trump suggests are almost unheard of.
We therefore rate Trump’s claim as true, but misleading.
Clinton’s State Department
Reality Check: Trump says $6 billion went missing from the State Department
By Laura Koran, CNN
Attacking Clinton’s leadership credentials, Trump claimed that $6 billion went missing from the State Department during her tenure as secretary of state, possibly stolen.
“How do you miss $6 billion?” he asked incredulously.
Trump has made this allegation at several recent rallies, but its origins are murky.
The conservative news website the Daily Caller reported on this apparent missing cash in August, having obtained a copy of a Freedom of Information Act request from the conservative government watchdog group Cause of Action Group.
The Cause of Action request, submitted to the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), asserts that the State Department lost contract files worth over $6 billion.
A footnote to the request shows they arrived at that figure by reading a management alert written by the State Department OIG in March 2014, which noted, “significant vulnerabilities in the management of contract file documentation that could expose the Department to substantial financial losses.”
“Specifically, over the past six years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all,” that management alert noted.
But does that mean $6 billion went missing?
In short, no.
In fact, after The Washington Post reported on the management alert in 2014, the State Department IG wrote a letter to the editor seeking to dispel this notion.
“Some have concluded based on this (alert) that $6 billion is missing,” Steve Linick wrote. “The alert, however, did not draw that conclusion.”
“Instead,” he continued, “it found that the failure to adequately maintain contract files - documents necessary to ensure the full accounting of US tax dollars – ‘creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.’”
Verdict: False. The man in charge of the same office that issued the management alert said the conclusion that $6 billion was lost is false. Rather, the State Department misplaced important documents related to valuable contracts.
Reality Check: Clinton on Trump encouraging Russia to hack US
By Jamie Crawford, CNN
“It is pretty clear you won’t admit the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people,” Clinton said to Trump about assertions that Russia orchestrated the hack of emails from Clinton’s campaign manager.
While there is no evidence that Trump has personally been involved in directing Russian agents to do the hacking, Clinton is correct that Trump has encouraged Russia of doing similar action.
During comments at a news conference earlier this year, Trump said the following in relation to the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said in Florida.
“They probably have them. I’d like to have them released,” he continued. “Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean, to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.”
Soon after those comments, Trump was asked by Fox News if he was being sarcastic, to which he replied, “Of course I’m being sarcastic.”
Based on Trump’s comments calling on Russia to take the action he did, we rate Clinton’s assertion as true.
Clinton also said the following regarding Russia’s alleged role in supplying WikiLeaks with the hacked emails being published from Podesta’s account: “We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin.”
Earlier this month, US intelligence officials confirmed that emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee were the work of Russian intelligence, with the approval of Russia’s senior-most leaders. That included the Director of National Intelligence – representing all US intelligence agencies which include civilian and military agencies – and the Department of Homeland Security.
“The kinds of disclosures that we’ve seen, including at WikiLeaks, of stolen emails from people who play an important role in our political process is consistent with Russian-directed efforts,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at the time.
Based on this, we also rate Clinton’s comments as true.
Reality Check: Trump calls the most recent jobs report ‘anemic’
By Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney
Trump slammed the US job market’s progress in September.
“They came out with an anemic jobs report. A terrible jobs report,” Trump said.
The US economy added 156,000 jobs in September, and though the unemployment ticked up slightly, it is at a relatively low 5% – down from 10% in October 2009.
Roughly 90,000 new jobs per month are needed to keep up with the growth of the job market, according to many economists.
Economists didn’t call it a great jobs report, but didn’t say it was terrible, either. Many used the Goldilocks metaphor that job growth was not too hot nor too cold – it was steady.
“Most of the indicators in the September jobs report were modestly below expectations, but overall they suggest that labor market conditions continue to improve,” Kevin Logan, a US economist at HSBC, said when the report came out.
UBS economist Drew Matus called September’s job gains “healthy.”
It was the 72nd consecutive month that the economy gained jobs, marking six straight years of monthly gains in jobs.
Since Obama took office in January 2009, the economy has added 10.8 million jobs overall.
Reality Check: Trump on jobs being ‘sucked out’
By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
Trump repeated his familiar refrain that America’s economy and manufacturing base has collapsed.
“Our jobs are being sucked out of the economy,” Trump said. “You look at all of the places I just left. You go to Pennsylvania. You go to Ohio. You go to Florida. You go to any of them. You go to upstate New York. Our jobs have fled to Mexico and other places.”
And a few minutes later: “We’ve lost our jobs. We’ve lost our business. We’re not making things anymore, relatively speaking.”
We’ve previously examined the claim of jobs leaving the US for Mexico, when Trump made the claim back in September. We found it to be mostly true.
But let’s examine the jobs situation Trump outlined.
Trump didn’t specify a time period so we will look what’s happened over the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.
There are now 144.7 million workers in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 134.1 million at the start of Obama’s administration in January 2009 and from 132.7 million when Bush took office in January 2001.
And looking at the states that Trump mentioned:
Pennsylvania has added 193,000 positions since Obama took office and by 247,000 jobs since Bush’s inauguration.
In Ohio, employment has risen by 297,000 during Obama’s tenure, but is down 102,000 jobs from when Bush took office.
Florida’s employment is up by 975,000 jobs under Obama’s presidency and by 1.5 million since Bush took office.
As for whether we make things in this country, it may not seem like it when Americans shop for clothing, toys or some other consumer products. But the nation’s factories are humming – America still manufactures products from cars to chemicals.
The nation’s industrial production has not quite returned to its pre-recession high, but is up from 2000 and far up from the 1970s and 1980s, according to Federal Reserve Bank statistics.
We rate Trump’s claim on America losing jobs false.
Reality Check: Trump says accusers’ claims against him ‘debunked’
By Eve Bower and Kay Guerrero, CNN
Within the last week, nine different women have spoken with various media outlets accusing Trump of non-consensual, invasive acts ranging from unwelcome advances to physical and sexual assault.
At the debate, Trump said, “those stories have been largely debunked.”
Sexual assault accusations are difficult to prove definitively beyond the assertions of the parties involved. Trump has vehemently denied the accusations against him. The nine women maintain that their stories are true.
In reporting these allegations, CNN has spoken with six of Trump’s accusers, and has worked to verify details contained in their accounts. CNN has also spoken with friends and colleagues of three accusers, and in each of those cases, the women’s stories were corroborated.
Last Friday morning, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that “evidence” would come out that day that would show the assault allegations against him to be false. As of Wednesday’s debate, that evidence has still not emerged.
Trump’s claim that the accusations against him have been “debunked” is false.
Reality Check: Trump and women’s accusations
By Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Clinton claimed that Trump had swatted away the women who have accused him of sexual assault by disparaging their looks.
“He had a number of big rallies,” Clinton said, “where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for –”
“I did not say that,” Trump interrupted.
“…them to be assaulted,” Clinton continued.
“I did not say that,” Trump repeated.
Clinton then rattled off a series of comments made by Trump, including him saying, “Look at her. I don’t think so”; “that wouldn’t be my first choice”; and deemed a third woman who wrote a story about the assaults to be “disgusting.”
CNN has not independently verified any of the women’s claims, and Trump has vociferously denied each of their allegations.
But Trump has indeed made comments suggesting that he couldn’t have done what was alleged because of how the accusers looked.
“You take a look, look at her, look at her words,” Trump said in West Palm Beach, Florida, of Natasha Stoynoff, a People magazine writer who alleged misconduct. “And you tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”
“Believe me, she would not be my first choice,” he said in Greensboro, North Carolina, of Jessica Leeds, who claimed Trump groped her on an airplane. “That would not be my first choice.”
Though not explicitly, Trump certainly left the impression the women’s looks were evidence he did not do what was alleged. We rate that claim by Clinton true.
But Clinton went too far, including the description of The New York Times reporter which, based on the reporter’s own account, was his reaction to her writing a negative article, not her looks. We rate this claim false.
Reality Check: Will Clinton really double your taxes?
By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney
Trump asserted that Clinton’s “tax plan is going to raise taxes and even double your taxes.”
Clinton’s plan calls for a range of tax increases on wages and investments, but they target the highest-income households, according to the latest analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The top 1%, for instance, would absorb 93% of her proposed tax hikes.
Among her proposed tax increases, Clinton wants to implement the so-called Buffett Rule. It’s named after billionaire Warren Buffett and would require anyone making $2 million or more to pay at least 30% of that in federal income taxes. So to the extent someone making that much pays 15% or less today, their tax bill would double.
But on average, the Tax Policy Center estimates that those in the top 0.1% would see their tax bills rise by 20%.
Low- and middle-income households, meanwhile, would see a small tax cut on average.
Broadly speaking, it’s true that Clinton’s tax plan would raise taxes, but they would be raised only on the highest earners. And even among that group, most would not see a doubling of their tax bill.
“I think you could find those edge cases where people would see a doubling of their tax bill. But more generally her plan is relatively modest,” said Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects at the Tax Foundation, which advocates for lower taxes and a simpler code.
Reality Check: Trump on the flag and his foundation
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
Seeking to defend his charitable foundation, Trump sought to explain why he used funds from the group to settle a penalty imposed by a municipal government in Florida.
“The money goes, 100%, to a lot of charities, including a lot of military,” Trump said of his namesake foundation. “I don’t buy boats. I don’t buy planes.”
Pressed by Wallace about reports that some of the money had gone to settle lawsuits, Trump said: “No, we put up the American flag and that’s it. They put up the American flag. We fought for the right in Palm Beach to put in the American flag.”
“The money,” Trump said, “went to Fisher House, where they build houses, the money that you’re talking about went to Fisher House where they build houses for veterans and disabled veterans.”
The roundabout explanation stems from a 2007 complaint brought by the city of Palm Beach, Florida, against Trump for raising a flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago club whose height exceeded regulations. As first reported in The Washington Post, Trump and the city settled the dispute over unpaid fines by agreeing Trump would donate $100,000 to a veterans’ charity.
As the Post reported, the money did come from the Trump Foundation – which is funded primarily with other people’s money.
Trump’s campaign didn’t dispute the scenario. His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN in September that the “donations went to veterans groups” and questioned “how did the Mar-a-Lago benefit from him giving $100,000 to veterans?”
We rate this true, but misleading. Trump’s claim that his foundation donated the money to the Fisher House veterans charity is accurate, though it only happened after he reached a legal settlement to do so.
Reality Check: Trump claims he got NATO countries to pay their dues
By Jamie Crawford, CNN
Trump said the following about spending of countries in the NATO alliance: “I questioned NATO. Why aren’t they paying? Since I did this all of a sudden, they’re paying. I’ve been giving a lot of credit for it. All of a sudden they’re starting to pay up. I’m a big fan of NATO, but they have to pay up.”
Trump is correct in saying there is a deficiency by the majority of countries of the 28 nation alliance that do not meet the NATO recommendation that each country spend 2% of its GDP on defense. In fact, only five members – the United States, Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom – meet that benchmark, so Trump is correct in asserting that a majority of NATO countries are not paying their fair share.
Throughout his campaign, NATO has been a popular punching bag for the Republican nominee, who has threatened not to honor the commitment to self defense outlined in the NATO treaty unless other countries increase their spending.
In testimony before Congress last month, US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee told the Senate that “all 28 allies are moving toward spending at least 2% of GDP on defense, with 70% already on track to meet that goal by 2024.”
But is that the result of Trump’s comments this campaign?
NATO allies have become alarmed by Russia’s incursion into eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea over the past two years. Over the past year, several NATO countries have rotated forces throughout countries near the Russian border as a show of support. Europe is also under heavy stress from a refugee crisis stemming from the turmoil in the Middle East.
The goal of having more countries meet the NATO spending standards has long been an issue. There is nothing to indicate from the comments from officials of any NATO countries that the increase in spending has been spurred by the rhetoric from Trump or the US campaign trail.
Due to the fact that there is nothing to concretely quantify Trump’s claim, we rate his comment as false.
Reality Check: Will Trump add $20 trillion to the debt and Clinton not a penny?
By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney
Clinton said that she “will not add a penny to the debt. I have costed out what I’m going to do. (Trump) will, through his massive tax cuts, add $20 trillion to the debt.”
Both candidates’ tax plans have been analyzed by outside tax and budget groups. The latest – from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center – estimates that Trump’s tax cuts would increase the federal debt by $22.1 trillion over the next 20 years.
By contrast, it estimates that Clinton’s tax plan, which raises taxes on the wealthy and some businesses, would reduce the federal debt by at least $5.4 trillion over the same time period. So Clinton would be correct to say that her tax plan wouldn’t add a penny to the debt and that Trump’s would add $20 trillion.
But those numbers don’t include the candidates’ spending proposals.
Once Clinton’s tax and spending plans are considered together, her not-a-penny claim isn’t quite as airtight. Clinton’s proposals as a whole would add an estimated $200 billion to the debt in the first decade, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Though that $200 billion may end up being paid for once Clinton offers more specifics on what she means by “business tax reform,” said Marc Goldwein, CRFB’s senior policy director.
Still, that’s a lot more than a penny, though $200 billion is a rounding error in the $18 trillion US economy.
Editor’s note: The verdict on this Reality Check has been updated.