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Donald Trump

Five lies from US President Donald Trump’s press conference on White House lawn

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 June, 2018, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 June, 2018, 12:20pm

US President Donald Trump made a slew of false or misleading claims during an appearance on Fox and Friends that morphed into a news conference on the White House lawn. We fact-checked five whoppers. But this is only a partial list.

1. “I think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. And if you read the report, you’ll see that.”

This is false. The Justice Department inspector general on June 14 released a report that found fault with the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The 500-page report doesn’t delve into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election or possible collusion with Trump’s campaign, although it does scrutinise anti-Trump texts messages sent by several FBI agents.

2. “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign … I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago?

“You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. He worked for Ronald Reagan. He worked for Bob Dole. He worked for John McCain, or his firm did. He worked for many other Republicans. He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something? A very short period of time.”

Manafort, who was sent to jail June 15 for violating bail conditions, worked on Trump’s presidential campaign for 144 days in 2016, 92 of them as its chairman. He was an instrumental figure.

3. “I feel badly for General Flynn. He’s lost his house. He’s lost his life. And some people say he lied, and some people say he didn’t lie. I mean, really, it turned out maybe he didn’t lie. So how can you do that?”

Trump has said repeatedly that he dismissed Michael Flynn for lying. The president asked for the resignation of his first national security adviser and accepted it February 13, 2017. Days later, in a news conference February 16, 2017, Trump said he had fired Flynn for providing incomplete information to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. In December 2017, the president tweeted: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak.

4. “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.”

This is false. As part of its border crackdown, the Trump administration is separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents largely due to a “zero tolerance” policy implemented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. No law requires these separations. The government must release rather than detain immigrant children under a 1997 federal consent decree and a bipartisan human trafficking law from 2008. But neither of these requires family separations.

5. “Barack Obama, I think you will admit this, he said the biggest problem that the United States has, and by far the most dangerous problem … is North Korea. Now, that was shortly before I entered office. I have solved that problem. Now, we’re getting it memorialised and all, but that problem is largely solved, and part of the reason is we signed, number one, a very good document. But you know what? More importantly than the document – more importantly than the document, I have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un.”

Trump’s denuclearisation agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is light on details and its success or failure will depend on difficult negotiations still ahead. It’s far too early to say he’s “solved” the problem posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Trump points to the “very good document” he signed, but its language is weaker than in previous agreements negotiated by the United States, which North Korea later broke.