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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:30 pm

A quick guide to President Trump's false Twitter claims

Glenn Kessler | Washington Post

 

President Donald Trump went on a Twitter rampage Monday night and Tuesday morning, spewing a number of false and misleading claims – many of which we have fact-checked previously. Here's a quick guide to what's factually incorrect.

"So many stories about me in the @washingtonpost are Fake News. They are as bad as ratings challenged @CNN. Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?"

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

"Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?"

 Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

We will begin with a pair of tweets attacking The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Amazon does not own The Post, but in any case the president's claims about "no-tax" Amazon are out of date. Amazon used to lobby to keep Internet sales free from state taxes, but no more. As of March, Amazon is collecting sales tax on purchases in every state that has one.

"Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign  'quietly working to boost Clinton.' So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity"

 Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

Trump is referring to efforts by a Ukrainian-American operative to expose former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's ties to the Russian government. The comparison to the Russian probe is overblown and facile. One fundamental difference is that Ukraine is considered a U.S. ally and Russia is considered an adversary. Moreover, U.S. intelligence officials found a top-down effort, initiated by Putin, to illegally hack and release information in a deliberate attempt to meddle in the U.S. election and undermine the democratic system. There is no such evidence of a top-down effort in the Ukrainian case.

"Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!"

 Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

Here, Trump reprises a false claim from the presidential campaign. McCabe, who is now the acting FBI director, became part of the investigation of Clinton's emails long after his wife, Jill McCabe, unsuccessfully ran for a Virginia senate seat. The political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D, gave $452,500 to McCabe, and the state Democratic Party gave her campaign an additional $207,788. That was about one-third of the $1.8 million budget for her campaign. McAuliffe is close to Clinton but there is no evidence she knew of the contributions. Moreover, it stretches the imagination that McAuliffe would know that the husband of someone he was supporting in a Virginia legislative race was going to be promoted months later to a position of authority in the email case.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!"

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017

Trump conflates a number of issues here. The Hillary Clinton email issue was exhaustively investigated by the FBI, with the conclusion a year ago that she was "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information but did not intend to violate any laws. "In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts," then-FBI director James Comey said in July 2016.

There is no evidence that Clinton was involved in the question of whether the Democratic National Committee's servers should be turned over to the FBI as part of the investigation into Russian-linked hacking. The FBI and the Democratic National Committee disagree on whether the FBI requested access to the DNC's servers. Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the bureau made "multiple requests at different levels" to access DNC's servers, but the DNC said the FBI never requested access. The DNC ultimately allowed a private company, CrowdStrike, to review its database and share findings with the FBI. "We got the forensics from the pros that they hired which - again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute," Comey said.

It's worth noting here that the DNC was the victim in this instance, and yet Trump without evidence seems to be accusing it of a crime.