Washington CNN —  

President Donald Trump told a detailed story about CNN in a private meeting with US diplomats at the United Nations last week.

According to leaked audio, Trump said that CNN had built a special studio for a September special congressional election in North Carolina’s 9th District, a “beautiful” studio that cost maybe “$2 million,” and planned to keep it up for “weeks.” But when the Republican candidate won, Trump said, CNN dismantled the studio on election night, not wanting to report on the outcome.

Except…CNN did not build so much as a little set in North Carolina, let alone a seven-figure studio. It simply sent reporters to cover the two candidates. The President made this whole thing up.

The tale of the imaginary studio was one of 59 false claims Trump made last week, down from 79 the week prior and right at his average of 59 per week for the 12 weeks we have checked at CNN.

Trump made 13 of the 59 false claims at his press conference after the United Nations General Assembly and another seven on Twitter. He scattered most of the rest around his various speeches and exchanges with reporters at the UN.

Sixteen of the 59 false claims were about the economy, 13 about Democrats – standard fare for him. But an entirely new subject made the top three this week: Ukraine, with 12 false claims. Trump has responded with a blizzard of dishonesty to the controversy over his attempt to get Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden.

The most egregious false claim: A non-change to whistleblower rules

Trump is not only a serial peddler of his own fiction but a regular purveyor of bad information he has heard from other people – reliably willing to amplify inaccurate stuff “people are saying” but that he hasn’t bothered to check himself.

Last week at least, he identified his source: The Federalist, a pro-Trump conservative website. But the information was just as bad as from his usual band of unnamed tipsters.

The Federalist, casting aspersions on the whistleblower complaint over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, alleged that rules for intelligence whistleblowers had been “secretly” changed to allow people to make complaints based on information they had learned secondhand. “WOW, they got caught,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Except nobody got caught.

As Trump-appointed inspector general Michael Atkinson explained in an unusual statement released late Monday, the rules had not been changed.

The most revealing false claim: A nonsensical allegation of illegality

Trump had reasonable cause to criticize Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for Schiff’s comments at a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week. As we explained here, Schiff had offered a confusing, sometimes exaggerated paraphrase of Trump’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine.

As usual, Trump was not content to stick to factual criticism while accusing others of being non-factual. In a tweet, he said Schiff’s remarks were made “illegally.”

It is very much not illegal to do a bad paraphrase in a congressional committee meeting. The Constitution has a specific clause – Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 – that lets legislators say what they want during congressional business without facing legal repercussions.

The most absurd false claim: The CNN imaginary studio

As noted above, it was very weird.

Here’s this week’s full list of false claims, starting with the fresh claims we have not checked in a CNN weekly update before:

Ukraine, Democrats and the whistleblower

European aid to Ukraine (four claims)

Trump said four times during his visit to the United Nations that the US is the only country providing assistance to Ukraine. On three of those four occasions, he singled out Europe for supposedly failing to help Ukraine at all.

Facts First: European countries have provided hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2014. You can read a full fact check here.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged European “help” during his meeting with Trump last week at the United Nations, though he said the world’s efforts have been inadequate so far: “And, I’m sorry, but we don’t need help; we need support. Real support. And we thank — thank everybody, thank all of the European countries; they each help us. But we also want to have more — more.”

Democrats’ letter to Ukraine

“And it got almost no attention, but in May, CNN reported that Sens. Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General expressing concern at the closing of four investigations they said were ‘critical.’ In the letter, they implied that their support for US assistance to Ukraine was at stake and that if they didn’t do the right thing, they wouldn’t get any assistance. Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that sound familiar?” And: “I just told you about senators that threatened him with votes and no money coming into Ukraine if they do things.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: The Democratic senators’ letter – in which they expressed concern about a New York Times report that Ukraine had, to avoid angering Trump, froze investigations into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort stopped cooperating with the Mueller investigation – did not threaten to deny US assistance to Ukraine. In fact, the letter did not mention US assistance at all.

You can read a longer fact check of this claim here.

Obama’s aid to Ukraine (three claims)

“Despite that, we’ve given far more (to Ukraine) than the Obama administration. He used to send sheets and pillows, and we sent anti-tank guns and weapons. But we really do.” – September 23 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda

“I gave you anti-tank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets. And I gave you anti-tank busters. And a lot of people didn’t want to do that, but I did it.” – September 25 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

“And nobody has given, I believe, more to Ukraine. You know, President Obama used to send pillows and sheets. I sent anti-tank weapons and a lot of things to Ukraine.” – September 24 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Facts First: Trump was correct that Obama, unlike him, refused to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine. But Trump’s suggestion that Obama only sent “pillows and sheets” was false, though it may perhaps have been intended as non-literal language. Obama sent Ukraine drones, armored Humvees, counter-mortar radars, night vision devices and medical supplies.

You can read a full fact check of this claim here.

Adam Schiff’s comments

“Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty. HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public.” – September 27 tweet

“The Whistleblower’s complaint is completely different and at odds from my actual conversation with the new President of Ukraine. The so-called “Whistleblower” knew practically NOTHING in that those ridiculous charges were far more dramatic & wrong, just like Liddle’ Adam Schiff fraudulently and illegally inserted his made up & twisted words into my call with the Ukrainian President to make it look like I did something very wrong. He then boldly read those words to Congress and millions of people, defaming & libeling me. He must resign from Congress!” – September 28 tweet

Facts First: It’s fair for Trump to be miffed about Schiff’s comments at a congressional committee meeting: Schiff’s mix of near-quotes from Trump, his own analysis, and supposed “parody” was at very least confusing, as we explained in an extended fact check here. But Schiff never purported to be reading “the exact transcribed version” of Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine; Schiff introduced his comments by saying he would be giving “the essence of what the president communicates,” not a verbatim recitation.

Though Schiff’s rendition was arguably misleading, it is obviously not “illegal” for a member of Congress to say something misleading during a committee meeting. In fact, the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause says that members of Congress “shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”

The clause has been interpreted broadly, to cover not just debates in the actual House and Senate chambers but in committees as well.

Whistleblower rules

“WOW, they got caught. End the Witch Hunt now!” – September 28 tweet

Facts First: Trump was amplifying an article from the conservative website The Federalist that alleged that the intelligence community had “secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings.” As CNN explained in this fact check, that assertion is false.

Hispanic home ownership

“Half a million more Hispanic Americans now own a home, and we’ve never seen these kind of numbers before.” – September 27 speech at White House Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

Facts First: Trump’s number was correct, but his statement that “we’ve never seen these kind of numbers before” was not; there have been larger gains under previous presidents.

According to the 2018 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, there was a gain of 362,000 in the number of Hispanic owner households in 2018 (high, but not an all-time high for a year) and a total gain of 538,000 in 2017 and 2018 (again high, but not an all-time high for a two-year period).

There was a gain of 414,000 Hispanic-owned households in 2002 and 404,000 in 2005, according to the association’s data, both years beating 2018. The total gain for 2004 and 2005 was 679,000, beating the total for 2017 and 2018.

Military spending (four claims)

Trump said in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly that the US has “spent over two and a half trillion dollars since my election to completely rebuild our great military.” On three other occasions, he put the figure at $2.5 trillion, omitting the “over.”

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. As noted by Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, total defense spending for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 was $2.05 trillion – and that includes more than three-and-a-half months of Obama’s tenure, since the 2017 fiscal year began in October 2016.

Harrison said he thinks Trump must have been including military funding for fiscal year 2020 to get to “$2.5 trillion” figure – but since the 2020 fiscal year hadn’t even started at the time Trump spoke, Harrison said, “that funding has not been ‘spent’ in any sense of the word. Additionally, the actual appropriations bills for FY20 are still pending in Congress.” While a budget deal earlier in the year allocates up to $738 billion for defense, Harrison said, “until the appropriation bill is passed, the money cannot be spent.”

Job creation

“Fueled by massive tax cuts and regulations cuts, jobs are being produced at a historic rate. Six million Americans have been added to the employment rolls in under three years.” – September 24 speech to the United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: Trump was correct that about six million jobs have been added during his presidency but not that this pace of job creation is “historic.” More jobs were created in the 31 final full months of Obama’s presidency (6.91 million) than during the 31 first full months of Trump’s presidency (5.85 million).

Ivanka Trump and job creation

“And Ivanka has worked so hard for jobs and for women. And gets no credit for it, but she doesn’t even care, I tell you. Well, she gets credit with the people that count. You know that. That’s the people that we all know. She has done, really, a fantastic job for women and also for jobs. Thirteen million additional jobs.” – September 27 speech at White House Hispanic Heritage Month Reception

Facts First: Given that about six million jobs have been created during the Trump presidency, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and White House aide, has obviously not created “13 million additional jobs.” The President was referring here to the Pledge to America’s Workers, an initiative for which companies had promised to create more than 14 million “new opportunities” for workers as of Monday. But these “opportunities” are not all new jobs; the web page for the pledge program describes them as “education and training opportunities.” Also, as CNN has previously reported, many of the companies had already planned these opportunities before Ivanka Trump launched the initiative.

Brexit and Trump’s travel

Trump: “It’s a complicated subject (Brexit), but they took a vote, and the vote was – I was there. I happened to be there the day of that vote.” Boris Johnson: “Were you down at the vote?” Trump: “I made a prediction, even. I even made a prediction. And it was a correct prediction. And, you know, that was a long time ago.” – September 24 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Facts First: Trump was not in the United Kingdom the day of the Brexit vote in June 2016. He visited Scotland the day after the vote. (He might just have been forgetting, but he has made repeated false claims about his trip to Scotland and his comments on Brexit.)

Trump did predict in March 2016 that the United Kingdom would vote to leave the European Union. The day before the vote three months later, however, he made no prediction: he said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, “I don’t think anybody should listen to me,” because “I haven’t really focused on it very much,” but that his “inclination” would be that Britain should vote to leave the European Union.

A quote from Robert Jeffress

On September 29, Trump posted four tweets quoting something Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress had said on Fox News. You can read the tweets here.

Facts First: We don’t call it false when Trump makes minor errors or changes when quoting from a television show, but this one included significant alterations. Most notably, Trump omitted Jeffress saying “I don’t pretend to speak for all evangelicals,” leaving in his subsequent quote about how evangelicals are angry at Democrats’ push to impeach Trump. Trump also added his own parenthetical that Democrats “will never be” successful in removing him from office; Jeffress did not say this in the quote. And when Trump quoted Jeffress saying that “it will cause a Civil War like fracture” if Trump is removed, Trump omitted the preceding words from Jeffress: “I’m afraid.”

Black lung disease in Australia

“And it’s a funny thing. You know, I call it dangerous, rough stuff. But it’s become much safer. In Australia now they have no black lung disease. They really got all of that dust out of there. And they’ve done a fantastic job, we’re copying that system, we give credit where credit it is due. But it’s incredible.” – September 26 speech to US diplomats at the United Nations (leaked audio)

Facts First: Though black lung was once thought to have been eradicated in Australia, some new cases have emerged in the last four years. Malcolm Sim, an occupational physician and epidemiologist at Monash University in Australia who studies disease from chronic occupational exposure, said in an email: “Yes there are still new cases of Black Lung being identified in Australia, as well as other lung disease related to inhaling dust in coal mining,” such as silicosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Sim pointed us to data kept by the state of Queensland, which says that 12 cases of black lung (also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or CWP) were reported to the state in fiscal 2017, five cases in fiscal 2018 and five cases in fiscal 2019. Advocates for coal miners have said the total numbers are higher.

Trump could have accurately said that the number of black lung cases in Australia is small. But his declaration that there is no black lung disease at all is an exaggeration.

“The rate is close to 0 but not 0,” said David Cliff, a University of Queensland professor who is an expert on mining health and safety.

CNN’s coverage of the North Carolina special elections

“In fact, the whole night, CNN, who had built the most beautiful, $2 million maybe they spent – no wonder they’re losing their ass. They have no ratings and they’re building studios all over the place. But they had a studio, the studio was going to stay up for weeks and toward the end of the night they were taking it down. Their so-called stars were leaving. They had stars. There’s not many stars…less than 10. But they were taking — the stars were leaving. And they didn’t want to report it. But the candidate, Dan Bishop, won by a lot.” – September 26 speech to US diplomats at the United Nations (leaked audio)

Facts First: CNN did not build any studio for its coverage of the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District, let alone a beautiful one costing $2 million. CNN simply sent journalists to the election-night events held by the Republican candidate, Bishop, and the Democratic candidate, Dan McCready.

“I was sitting next to CNN journalist @ryanobles on #NC09 election night. We were in a small hotel conference room in a hotel in SouthPark. There was a bowl of stale candies, tap water and a lack of electrical outlets. No fancy studio,” tweeted Joe Bruno, a reporter for Charlotte television station WSOC.

Here are the claims Trump made last week that we have previously fact checked in one of these weekly roundups. We’ve sorted them by category:

Economy and trade

Asian American unemployment (three claims)

Trump falsely claimed three times that Asian Americans are at their lowest-ever unemployment rate.

Facts First: The unemployment rate for Asian Americans was 2.8% in August – higher than the 2.6% rate in December 2016, Obama’s last full month in office.

Overall unemployment

“We have the best unemployment numbers we’ve ever had.” – September 25 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting on Venezuela

Facts First: The unemployment rate over this spring and summer – 3.7% in each of June, July and August, 3.6% in each of April and May – has been the lowest since December 1969, slightly less than 50 years ago; all of these rates were well off the record 2.5%, set in 1953.

Trump sometimes accurately touts unemployment records for specific demographic groups. In this case, he made a general claim that isn’t true.

Auto investments

“For years, we didn’t have an auto plant being built, and now we have many of them being built. So, it’s been terrific.” – September 25 remarks at United Nations meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Facts First: Few entirely new auto plants were built in the years immediately prior to Trump’s presidency, but Trump was exaggerating when he said there was not even one plant under construction over this period (which he didn’t precisely define). And the number of plant-investment announcements in Obama’s four-year first term was more than double the number of announcements during the first two-and-a-half years of Trump’s term, according to the Center for Automotive Research.

Among the pre-Trump construction projects: Volvo broke ground on a South Carolina sedan and SUV factory in 2015; Mercedes-Benz Vans broke ground on a Sprinter van factory in 2016, expanding an existing plant where Sprinters had been assembled rather than built from scratch; Toyota built a new Lexus assembly line at an existing factory in Kentucky starting in 2014.

Trump has not presided over a special boom in auto plant investments. Over the two-and-a-half years from Trump’s inauguration through July, the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit that studies the industry, found 66 automaker announcements of new US manufacturing facilities, or expansions or updates to existing facilities. There were 170 such announcements in Obama’s first term and 154 in Obama’s second term, the center’s Bernard Swiecki told CNN.

Japanese auto companies

“Many of the great Japanese companies, at my request, are now building their plants in the United States, in Detroit, and very, very many other places. We’re all over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina.” – September 25 remarks at United Nations meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Facts First: Just two Japanese car companies, Toyota and Mazda, have announced plans to build a US plant (together) during Trump’s presidency; their joint venture is under construction in Alabama. There is no evidence Trump was personally responsible for even this investment decision. “We know of no German or Japanese automakers currently looking to place additional car or truck assembly capacity in the United States,” said Kristin Dziczek, the vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research.

You can read a longer version of this fact check here.

Who is paying for Trump’s tariffs on China

Trump said again that China is “eating the tariffs” he has imposed on imports of Chinese products.

Facts First: A bevy of economic studies has found that Americans are bearing the overwhelming majority of the tariff costs, and Americans make the actual tariff payments.

Tariff payments to farmers

“And we’ve took it — we’ve taken it out of those tariffs and we gave the farmers $12 billion for two years ago. And for last year, we gave $16 billion, divided up among the farmers. So, they’re even. I mean, I wanted to know, what was the number. That was the number. And we had, you know, tens of billions of dollars left over. Because it will be well over $100 billion pretty soon that we will have taken into our Treasury.” – September 25 remarks at United Nations meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Facts First: It’s not true that there are tens of billions of dollars left over in tariff receipts after accounting for the $28 billion Trump has pledged to farmers affected by his trade war with China. His China-specific tariffs have generated a total of about $31 billion, according to the US government’s tracking data as of September 25.

Trump is free to predict that the tariffs will eventually bring in more than $100 billion. But it’s not true that there are tens of billions left over at the moment.

The USMCA and Canada

“You know, [US]MCA — you could tell me, Bob Lighthizer: Are they going to get to take a vote? All they have to do is – the agreement is signed. It’s approved by Canada. It’s approved by Mexico.” – September 25 remarks at United Nations meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Facts First: Mexico’s Senate has voted to ratify the USMCA trade agreement, but Canada’s Parliament has not held a vote.

The agreement is highly unlikely to be rejected by Parliament even if Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is ousted in the current election, since the Conservative opposition party says it will “reluctantly” vote in favor. Still, it’s not correct that the agreement has already been approved.

Foreign affairs and the military

The Iran nuclear deal (two claims)

Trump said at his UN meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his speech to the UN General Assembly that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran “was ready to expire” and had “very little time remaining.”

Facts First: Some central provisions of the nuclear agreement with Iran were written to expire in the next 10 to 15 years. But the deal as a whole – including a blanket prohibition on Iran developing nuclear weapons – was written to continue in perpetuity. You can read a fuller fact check here.

The war in Afghanistan Trump said at his meeting with Khan that the US has now been at war in Afghanistan for “19 years.”

Facts First: This was a small exaggeration. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, nearly 18 years ago. This was not a one-time slip; Trump habitually says “19 years.”

Remains from North Korea

“We had, really, two very successful summits. There’s been — as you know, there’s been no lessening of the sanctions. There’s only been an increasing of the sanctions. But very importantly, we have our hostages back. And that was a very big deal. And we got our hostages back. We have the remains of our great heroes from the past back — a lot of them. And they’re coming in, and they actually have a lot of them ready to start coming in again.” – September 23 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in

Facts First: While North Korea returned 55 boxes of remains last year, it is no longer doing so. The US military announced in May that the remains program had been suspended for the rest of the 2019 fiscal year because North Korea had stopped communicating with the US agency responsible for the effort. You can read a full fact check of this claim here.

Mexican troops on the border (five claims)

Trump said five times that Mexico has deployed 27,000 troops to the US border.

Facts First: Mexico has deployed a substantial number of troops, but Trump exaggerated how many are being stationed near the US border in particular. Acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters in September that 10,000 of the approximately 25,000 troops were on Mexico’s own southern border: “They’ve created a new national guard within their country: 10,000 troops to the southern border; 15,000 troops to the northern border with the United States.” Trump himself said in late July that 6,000 of the troops were near Guatemala.

Venezuela’s wealth

“And it (Venezuela) was one of the great countries and one of the richest countries not so long ago — 15 years ago. It’s incredible.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: Venezuela was not one of the world’s wealthiest countries 15 years ago.

The International Monetary Fund ranked Venezuela 67th in the world by GDP per capita in 2004, at $4,019 (US) – better than more than half of the world’s countries, but nowhere near the top.

“Venezuela was one of the richest countries in the world 60 years ago. The richest in Latin America 40 years ago. But not 20 years ago,” Ricardo Hausmann, a former Venezuelan planning minister and central bank board member, said in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. Hausmann, now a Harvard University professor of economic development, was chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1994 to 2000.

Elections, polls and popularity

The 2016 election result

“And after that person — namely, me — won, and convincingly won at 306 to 223 in the Electoral College…” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly.

Facts First: Hillary Clinton earned 232 votes in the Electoral College, not 223. This was not a one-time slip; Trump has habitually said “223.”

Special election in North Carolina’s 9th District (two claims)

“We did it the other night, Tuesday night. We had two congressmen, one who was possibly going to win…one was down by 17. And they said, ‘Sir, don’t campaign for him please.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because if he loses, they’re going to kill you, the press.’ I said they’re going to kill me whether I campaign or not…The guy was down 17 points and he ended up winning by a lot.” – September 26 speech to US diplomats at the United Nations (leaked audio)

“We just won two races that a lot of people – we thought we were going to lose both of those races. One was down 17 points three weeks before the race, and he ended up winning by a substantial margin – by a substantial margin.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: Dan Bishop, the victorious North Carolina congressional candidate to whom Trump was referring, was not down 17 points in any public poll, though some did have him trailing by single-digit margins.

You can read a longer fact check of this claim here.

Special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District

“And then we had a second race, as you know, and he was up one or two points and ended up winning by – what was it? Twenty-five points or some incredible – I’ll ask you folks because I don’t want to be inaccurate. Otherwise, I’ll have a front-page story: ‘We have breaking news. Trump exaggerated.’ But he won by many, many points. And he was leading by maybe two, maybe three, but he won by – in the twenties.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

“We did it the other night, Tuesday night. We had two congressmen, one who was possibly going to win, he was up by two, he won by about 27, I think, or something like that. A lot.” – September 26 speech to US diplomats at the United Nations (leaked audio)

Facts First: Republican Greg Murphy won the special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District by 24 percentage points, not “about 27,” and he had been leading by significantly more than one, two or three points, according to public polling. One late poll had him up by 11 points.

You can read a longer fact check of this claim here.

Trump’s crowds

“We have – we’ve never had an empty seat. From the day I came down the escalator, with a potential, unbelievable woman who became a first lady…The crowds loved her, the people love her. But we’ve never had an empty seat, not one.” – September 26 speech to US diplomats at the United Nations (leaked audio)

Facts First: There have been empty seats at various Trump events, including a July rally in Greenville, North Carolina, an October 2018 rally in Houston, Texas and an April 2017 rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to journalists on the scene.

Approval with Republicans

“94% approval rating in the Republican Party. Thank you!” – September 23 tweet

Facts First: Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is very high, regularly in the 80s and sometimes creeping into the 90s, but it has not been 94% in any recent poll.

Trump was at 88% with Republicans, for example, in a Quinnipiac University poll conducted from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, 84% in an Ipsos poll conducted Sept. 24 and Sept. 25, 88% in a CNN poll conducted Sept. 5 to Sept. 9 and 91% in Gallup data gathered from Sept. 3 to Sept. 15.


Hunter Biden and Joe Biden

“And I think it was $1.2 billion he (Joe Biden) wasn’t going to give unless they got rid of the prosecutor who was investigating his son and the company that his son works for.” – September 23 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda

Facts First: There is no public evidence that Hunter Biden was ever himself under investigation. Joe Biden says he threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine if it did not fire a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely seen to be unwilling to bring corruption prosecutions. Shokin’s former deputy told Bloomberg News earlier this year that the actual investigation – into the business activities of Mykola Zlochevsky, who owned a natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, for which Hunter Biden had sat on the board of directors since 2014 – was dormant at the time of Joe Biden’s pressure on Ukrainian leaders.

You can read a full fact check on Trump’s claims about the Bidens and Ukraine here.

Hillary Clinton’s emails

“‘State Department has stepped up Hillary Clinton Email probe.’@foxandfriends You mean the 33,000 Emails that she has deleted and acid washed so they can never be found…” – September 29 tweet

Facts First: A server company working for Hillary Clinton deleted emails using a free software program called BleachBit. The software involves neither actual bleach nor acid.

You can read a longer fact check of Trump’s claims about these emails here.

A quote from Democratic Rep. Al Green

“And you had one or two congressmen, Democrats, say, ‘Listen, we can’t beat them at the election, so let’s impeach him.’ Right? Didn’t you hear — Al Green. That’s a beauty. He’s a real beauty, that guy. But he said, very distinctively, it’s all — it was all over the place. I don’t know — they’re trying to lose that tape, I guess. But he said, ‘We can’t…’ Essentially, he said, ‘We can’t beat him. Let’s impeach him.’ That’s pretty — that’s pretty dangerous stuff.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: Trump was at least slightly misquoting Green, a Texas congressman. In May, Green said this: “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this President, he will get reelected.” He told CNN in September, “I never said we can’t beat the President.”

The final version of Trump’s claim here, in which he said he was relaying “essentially” what Green said, was at least slightly more accurate. But the first version was inaccurate.


Veterans Choice (two claims)

“We got Choice approved. It couldn’t be approved.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

“…fixed the VA & gotten Choice for our Vets (after 45 years)…” – September 28 tweet

Facts First: The Choice bill, a bipartisan initiative led by senators Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, was signed into law by Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the program.

Air quality

“…I believe in clean air and clean water. It’s very simple. We have the cleanest air. We have the cleanest water. Cleaner than it’s ever been before in our country.” – September 23 exchange with reporters at United Nations meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Facts First: By several measures, US air was cleaner under Obama than it’s been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.

Additionally, there were more “unhealthy air days” for sensitive groups in 2018 than in 2016 – 799 days across the 35 American cities surveyed by the EPA, up from 702. Though there were significantly more “unhealthy air days” in Obama’s first term than there have been in Trump’s, the lowest amount of unhealthy air days – 598 – occurred in 2014 under Obama.

Energy independence

“…we’re now independent, energy-wise — we’re energy independent.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: While definitions of “energy independence” vary, the US is not “energy independent” by any definition; it is expected to export more energy than it imports by 2020, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration, but that has not happened yet. In the first five months of 2019, PolitiFact noted, the US also consumed more energy than it produced.

There have been occasional, brief periods where US exports have exceed imports or where its production has exceeded consumption, but this hasn’t happened for a full recent year. You can read a longer fact check of this claim in this article.


San Diego and the border wall

“They really wanted that wall in California, in San Diego. As soon as it was completed, they said, ‘We don’t want a wall.’ They were begging me for a wall. I should take it out and move it to another location.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: It is possible that someone or some group from San Diego told him they wanted a border wall, but there is no basis for Trump’s repeated suggestion that the city itself wanted a wall. San Diego’s city council voted 5-3 in 2017 to express opposition to the proposal, and even the Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer, has made clear that he is opposed.

The border wall

“And the wall is going up, many miles a week.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: No new miles of border wall had been built during Trump’s presidency as of September 30, according to a fact sheet from Customs and Border Protection. Over Trump’s tenure in office, 69 miles of barriers had been constructed in places where “dilapidated and outdated” barriers had existed before; that’s a pace of about half a mile of replacement barrier per week.

Democrats and borders

Trump said during a White House photo opportunity with sheriffs that Democrats “want open borders.”

Facts First: Even Democratic presidential candidates who advocate the decriminalization of the act of illegally entering the country, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, do not support completely unrestricted migration, as Trump suggests.

Mueller and obstruction

“Well, I thought we won. I thought it was dead. It was dead. The Mueller report — no obstruction, no collusion. You look at all of the things that happened.” – September 25 press conference after United Nations General Assembly

Facts First: Mueller’s report did not say “no obstruction” in any way. It was Attorney General William Barr who determined that the evidence laid out by Mueller was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

Mueller’s report laid out a case that Trump may have committed obstruction, describing multiple specific incidents, but he explained that he would not offer a final conclusion on whether a crime was committed because of a Justice Department policy that holds that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

The report did say that Mueller would have declared that Trump did not commit obstruction if he’d had confidence in that conclusion. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the report said.

Mueller also did not use the words “no collusion”; his report explained that he was investigating the issue of conspiracy, since collusion does not have a precise legal meaning. With that said, “no collusion” is a much fairer paraphrase of Mueller’s findings than “no obstruction” is.

CNN’s Geneva Sands contributed to this article.