It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day. But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the presidential election. This milestone appeared unlikely when The Fact Checker first started this project during his first 100 days. In the first 100 days, Trump averaged less than five claims a day, which would have added up to about 7,000 claims in a four-year presidential term. But the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger.
As of April 27, including the president’s rally in Green Bay, Wis., the tally in our database stands at 10,111 claims in 828 days. In recent days, the president demonstrated why he so quickly has piled up the claims. There was a 45-minute telephone interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News on April 25: 45 claims. There was an eight-minute gaggle with reporters the morning of April 26: eight claims. There was a speech to the National Rifle Association: 24 claims. There was 19-minute interview with radio host Mark Levin: 17 claims. And, finally, there was the campaign rally on April 27: 61 claims. The president’s constant Twitter barrage also adds to his totals. All told, the president racked up 171 false or misleading claims in just three days, April 25-27. That’s more than he made in any single month in the first five months of his presidency.
About one-fifth of the president’s claims are about immigration issues, a percentage that has grown since the government shutdown over funding for his promised border wall. In fact, his most repeated claim — 160 times — is that his border wall is being built. Congress balked at funding the concrete wall he envisioned, and so he has tried to pitch bollard fencing and repairs of existing barriers as “a wall.” Trump’s penchant for repeating false claims is demonstrated by the fact that The Fact Checker database has recorded nearly 300 instances when the president has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times. He also now has earned 21 “Bottomless Pinocchios,” claims that have earned Three or Four Pinocchios and which have been repeated at least 20 times. Trump’s campaign rallies continue to be a rich source of misstatements and falsehoods, accounting for about 22 percent of the total. The rally in Green Bay on April 27 was little different, with claims that covered a range of issues:
— He exaggerated the size of trade deficits with Japan, China and the European Union and falsely claimed the United States loses money from such deficits.
— He said he had “nothing to hide” from the Russia investigation but refused to testify under oath.
— He continued his practice of inflating the jobs created under his administration by starting the count from the election, not his inauguration.
— He launched a series of exaggerated or false attacks on Democrats, including claiming the Green New Deal will require every building in Manhattan be replaced (no) and saying Democrats support the killing of healthy babies that have been born (no).
— He overstated the possible impact of the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico in myriad ways and trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, even though the differences are modest.
— He took credit for funding a program — the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative — his administration tried to eliminate.
— He made a series of false claims about immigration, such as “open borders bring tremendous crime” (there is no documented link between illegal immigration and crime).
— He claimed he passed the biggest tax cut in history (no) and he said he had cut the estate tax to “zero” (no).
— He said he was one vote away from repealing Obamacare (no).
— He falsely said the United States paid for “almost 100 percent” of NATO (no), that Saudi Arabia inked $450 billion in deals with the Trump administration (no) and even that the United States subsidizes the Saudi military (U.S. aid amounts to $10,000 a year).
— He even claimed that he insisted the new embassy in Jerusalem be made of Jerusalem stone even though ever since the British mandate in then-Palestine, municipal laws have required that all buildings must be faced with this local form of limestone that has a warm, golden hue.
Projecting Ahead as Trump False Statements Run Amok
Astoundingly, we’re on pace to hear over 22,000 lies from our president before his term is up. Since democracy dies in darkness, we cannot be numb to or simply dismiss this unprecedented torrent of falsehoods & disinformation. It cannot be considered just Trump being Trump when we’re dealing with a pathological liar. The lies need to be exposed & called out, since the truth still matters! See the opening to washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/
It’s a tsunami of lies. It’s an avalanche of falsehoods. It’s a deluge, a torrent, a rockslide, a barrage, an onslaught, a blitzkrieg. President Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading statements since becoming president — on the size of the inaugural crowd, the number of steel plants being built in America and whether he knew about hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, to name just three. And as unbelievable as it sounds, the tempo is picking up dramatically. On Tuesday, an oddsmaker predicted that the prevaricator-in-chief will tell 22,500 false statements by Election Day 2020. “As the election approaches and the number of rallies, debates and opportunities to discuss policy is magnified, we are expecting all-time highs in the number of false statements from President Trump,” said odds consultant John Lester of BookMaker.eu.
The gambling site sent out its prediction as an email blast on Tuesday, and when I followed up with Lester, he told me that Trump is more likely to bend the truth when he is “caught up in the excitement of crowd reaction” and when he is discussing policy. The site — which uses The Washington Post’s Fact Checker as its measuring rod — has been burned before by underestimating the president’s tendencies. After Trump gave his first address from the Oval Office (on border security) last January, the site had to pay out nearly $300,000 to people who had bet that he would tell more than 3½ lies during his televised talk. “We knew we were in trouble early with this one,” Lester, at the time, told Buzzfeed News. The Post, as it turned out, clocked six presidential falsehoods in that address. The site’s experts had reasoned that Trump would be constrained by the address’s short duration and the fact that the world was watching.
Clearly, they didn’t know who they were dealing with: the greatest. At some point, and we’ve definitely arrived there, the number of presidential falsehoods overcomes the public’s ability to care. The thinking seems to go like this: We get it, already. He lies a lot. Now, back to whether James Holzhauer will win big again tonight on “Jeopardy!” or whether the Nationals’ bullpen will get fixed. But it does matter. Lies — especially repetitive lies — are a crucial part of how propaganda works. Truth is a basic part of a functioning democracy. And the press is supposed to hold powerful figures accountable for their misdeeds. So, to do their jobs, the news media can’t engage in business as usual. Yes, they have to do the hard work of fact-checking and keeping track. But they also have to bring some new tools and techniques — and maybe a new attitude — to the project.
More than 370 former federal prosecutors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations have signed on to a statement asserting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump — if not for the office he held. The statement — signed by myriad former career government employees as well as high-profile political appointees — offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William P. Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump committed a crime.
“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former federal prosecutors wrote. “We emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment,” they added. “Of course, there are potential defenses or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here. . . . But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice — the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution — runs counter to logic and our experience.”
Among the high-profile signers are Bill Weld, a former U.S. attorney and Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who is running against Trump as a Republican; Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush Administration; John S. Martin, a former U.S. attorney and federal judge appointed to his posts by two Republican presidents; Paul Rosenzweig, who served as senior counsel to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr; and Jeffrey Harris, who worked as the principal assistant to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration. The list also includes more than 20 former U.S. attorneys and more than 100 people with at least 20 years of service at the Justice Department — most of them former career officials. The signers worked in every presidential administration since that of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Many legal analysts have wondered since Mueller’s report was released whether the special counsel believed he had sufficient evidence to charge Trump and was just unwilling to say it out loud. By the report’s account, Trump — after learning he was being investigated for obstruction — told his White House counsel to have Mueller removed. And when that did not work, according to Mueller’s report, Trump tried to have a message passed to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of Mueller’s authority. Of that episode, Mueller’s team wrote there was “substantial evidence” to indicate Trump was trying to “prevent further investigative scrutiny” of himself and his campaign. “All of this conduct — trying to control and impede the investigation against the President by leveraging his authority over others — is similar to conduct we have seen charged against other public officials and people in powerful positions,” the former federal prosecutors wrote in their letter.
They wrote that prosecuting such cases was “critical because unchecked obstruction — which allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished — puts our whole system of justice at risk.” Mueller’s team, though, wrote that it decided not to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” in part because of the Justice Department opinion on not indicting sitting presidents and because the evidence obtained “presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved” if they were to do so. “At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller’s team wrote.
More articles on the signed letter from federal prosecutors shows the numbers in the several hundreds keep growing, to the point by the time you read this might be in the thousands. That’s a whole lot of expertise that can clearly see our president has committed the crime of obstruction over & over again:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to talk about President Donald Trump’s reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. He noted that Americans should be concerned about the findings in the report. “It’s a vast pattern. It’s not some event,” Krugman said. “You write that it’s very much up in the air whether America as we know it will survive,” Cooper said.“Institutions depend upon the willingness of people to obey norms, and occasionally to say, okay, ‘this is not how we do things in our country,’” Krugman said. “This didn’t start with Trump there’s been a steady erosion of those norms. This has been building for a long time, and we’re very close to the edge right now.”
“When you say close to the edge, what does that mean to you?” Cooper asked. “You know, on paper, we’ll stay a democracy, but I worry very much about a sort of Hungary type situation where you have on paper the institutions of democracy. You even hold votes, but the system is rigged, and in fact, it’s become effectively you have a one-party rule,” he said. “We’re very close. If Trump is re-elected if the Republicans retake control of the House, what are the odds that we will really have a functioning democracy after that?” Krugman said. “I mean, that’s a pretty terrifying idea,” Cooper said. “If you’re not terrified, you’re not paying attention,” Krugman said.