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WEEKLY TRUMP REFUTATION POST FROM r/LeftCentral.

2017.03.10 16:32 Ali_Is_The_GOAT WEEKLY TRUMP REFUTATION POST FROM r/LeftCentral.

  1. DNC Chair on Trump and Overtime Pay. Date: 1 March 2017:
" New Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez made claims that Trump “wants to eliminate overtime pay for people.”
Viewers of NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 26 were left with the false impression from Perez that Trump wants to do away with federal overtime pay requirements altogether. And there is no evidence Trump wants to do that.
http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-02-26-17-n725781
The DNC press office says Perez was referring to the overtime rule proposed by President Barack Obama (while Perez was the labor secretary( https://web.archive.org/web/20170106035153/https://www.dol.gov/agencies/osec)), and the possibility that Trump may squash it.
Current federal rules require that workers be paid overtime (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3284183-Factsheet-on-overtime-rules.html) — one-and-a-half times the regular pay — for time worked over 40 hours in a week. However, the overtime law has a so-called “white collar exemption” for salaried employees who are paid $455 a week or more, or $23,660 per year, for jobs described as executive, administrative, professional, computer or outside sales.
The Obama administration sought to expand the income eligibility cutoff to about $47,500 a year. That would have made an additional 4.2 million salaried U.S. employees eligible for overtime pay, according to Labor Department estimates.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-overtime-rule-employers-adapt-1127-biz-2-20161123-story.html
The DNC noted that Trump talked about “rolling back the overtime regulation” in an interview with the online news service Circa in August.
Trump, Aug. 11: " We have to address the issues of over-taxation and over-regulation and the lack of access to credit markets to get our small business owners thriving again. Rolling back the overtime regulation is just one example of the many regulations that need to be addressed to do that. We would love to see a delay or a carve-out of sorts for our small business owners "
http://circa.com/politics/election-2016/trump-would-slash-us-education-department-reverse-worker-overtime-rules
The DNC also noted that a memo from the Trump campaign’s Small Business Advisory Council again targeted overtime rules as an impediment to small businesses.
https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/SBAC_Memo.pdf
Trump campaign memo: Labor issues like minimum wage, overtime rules, and union organizing all take their toll. It seems to many Small Business Owners out here in “flyover land” that the insiders in DC have it in for them. And they probably do. They tell you what you have to pay, set your work rules, mandate benefits and make it impossible to get a fair organizational vote.
The rules finalized by the Obama administration in May 2016 — and set to begin in December 2016 — never went into effect. Twenty-one states sued the Labor Department claiming the rule was unconstitutional, and in November, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found the rule was unlawful and granted a nationwide preliminary injunction.
The Trump administration’s Justice Department submitted a filing with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 asking for an extension until March 2 to file a reply brief in order to allow the incoming “leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issues,"
“It is highly unlikely the administration will support the rule,” Said the Washington Examiner.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-court-filing-could-be-end-of-obama-overtime-rule/article/2612960
The Washington Examiner and the DNC both cited an op-ed written by Andrew Puzder, Trump’s initial choice to head the Labor Department, as an ominous sign for the proposed overtime pay expansion. In the op-ed, published in Forbes on May 18, 2016, Puzder, a fast-food executive, blasted the expansion of overtime pay proposed by the Obama administration.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/05/18/the-harsh-reality-of-regulating-overtime-pay/#101a6e0f413e
“Turning highly sought-after entry level management careers into hourly jobs where employees punch a clock and are compensated for time spent rather than time well spent is hardly an improvement on the path from the working class to the middle class,” Puzder wrote.
The White House press office did not respond to investigators questions about the administration’s position on the overtime pay rule. It may be that the Trump administration seeks to squash it. But that’s still not the same as Trump attempting to “eliminate overtime pay for people” — at least not for people who are eligible for it today. " - Robert Farley.
  1. Trump’s Defense Increase ‘Historic’?. Date 1 March 2017.
" President Donald Trump told the nation’s governors that his first budget would include “a historic increase in defense spending.” But defense experts say that’s not the case.
For fiscal year 2018, Trump has proposed a 9.4 percent increase in the base defense budget, which does not including war funding. But Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan enacted double-digit increases in base defense spending in five years in the 1980s — including a whopping 25 percent increase in fiscal 1981.
On Feb. 27, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said ( https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/27/press-briefing-press-secretary-sean-spicer-2272017-17 ) Trump’s first proposed budget would contain $603 billion in defense discretionary spending for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1. That is $52 billion, or 9.4 percent, higher than the $551 billion in fiscal year 2017. (The $551 billion spending level for FY2017 was set by Congress and the Obama administration as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, as the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office explains in a January report.)
http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/682158.pdf
On the same day, Trump touted his proposed defense spending as “historic” in a speech to the nation’s governors, who are gathered in Washington, D.C., for the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
http://bcove.me/y28ab8c1
Trump, Feb. 27: This budget will be a public safety and national security budget, very much based on those two with plenty of other things but very strong. And it will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it.
In his Feb. 28 speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump similarly said that he would propose a budget with “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” What Trump has proposed so far is a large increase, but is it “a historic increase”?
https://www.c-span.org/video/?424147-1/president-trump-addresses-joint-session-congress&start=3166
Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was asked to place the 9.4 percent increase in historical context. He said investigators can use the White House Office of Management and Budget’s historical tables — specifically the “total national defense” line item in “Table 5.6 — Budget Authority for Discretionary Programs: 1976–2021” — to compare Trump’s 9.4 percent increase with past defense budgets, but only through fiscal year 2000. That’s because Trump’s 9.4 percent increase is just in base defense funding; he has yet to announce his war funding budget. The defense discretionary figures in OMB’s table from FY2001 to FY2017 include base defense funding and a special category of war funding known as overseas contingency operations, or OCO, for the Middle East wars.
file:///Users/student/Downloads/hist05z6.pdf
Investigators calculated the percentage change in defense discretionary spending authority for each of the 21 years from fiscal 1980 to fiscal 2000, and found that there were double-digit increases in five of those years. Also, President George H.W. Bush increased national defense spending in fiscal 1991 by 9.3 percent, about the same as Trump’s proposal.
“There were multiple years of increases larger than this during the early 1980s,” Harrison told investigators in an email. “So I don’t think this budget proposal can be accurately described as an historic increase. It’s a large increase, but not that large.”
Here are the double-digit increases in defense discretionary spending authority:
Defense Discretionary Spending
Year Increase (in billions) Percent change 1981 $35.9 24.9% 1982 $36.7 20.4% 1980 $17.6 13.9% 1983 $27.8 12.8% 1985 $29.3 11%
Investigators added that the defense discretionary budget figures in OMB’s table are in “current dollars,” which are not adjusted for inflation. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the increases in the 1980s were larger than Trump’s proposed $52 billion increase in four of the five years.
Edward Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said President George W. Bush’s base defense budget increases also were larger in 2002 (12 percent), 2003 (11 percent) and 2008 (10 percent). (The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculated those percentages by subtracting war funding from the discretionary defense figures to arrive at base defense budget figures for the years after fiscal 2001.) “There have been many increases larger in nominal and percentage terms” than Trump’s proposed increase, Lorenzen said.
Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, said the administration will not release its full budget and budget details until May. Until then, we will not know how much Trump will request in war funding.
Mackensie Eaglen, a defense expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote (https://www.aei.org/publication/trumps-defense-budget-wont-yield-a-serious-military-buildup/) that total defense spending may not rise as much as Trump now claims if the base defense budget includes items previously covered in the overseas contingency operations.
“What remains unclear is the total defense budget request by Trump’s team, which will include funding for overseas contingency operations (OCO),” Eaglen wrote. “With Mick Mulvaney running the White House budget office, it is likely that OCO will be scaled back, and some migration will begin of nonemergency priorities in this account shifting over to the base budget.” " - Eugene Kiely.
  1. Trump's Address To Congress. Date 1 March 2107.
" In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump stuck closely to his prepared remarks, but ran afoul of the facts in some cases.
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R44519.pdf
Trump may be referring to a long-term estimate by a Boston University political science professor, Neta Crawford. She puts the long-term cost of the war on terrorism at between $4.8 trillion and $7.9 trillion when including future costs for such things as veterans’ medical and disability costs, debt service on borrowed money, and war-related spending in the Department of Homeland Security.
http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwafiles/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf
Trump distorts the findings of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in a report released in September.
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=23550
The long-term impact of the legal immigration system on the overall wages and employment of native-born American workers is “very small,” the report said. “To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills,” according to a press release on the report.
As for taxpayers, the impact of the legal immigration system on government budgets is “mixed,” the report found. State and local governments “bear the burden of providing education benefits to children,” but the federal government benefits from “the resulting educated taxpayers” who work and pay taxes.
The report found that for 2011-2013 immigration there was a net annual cost of $57.4 billion for first-generation adults and their dependents; but second generations create a benefit of $30.5 billion a year, and third-plus generations create an annual benefit of $223.8 billion.
https://www.nap.edu/read/23550/chapte2
Overall, the report found that “immigration is integral to the nation’s economic growth” and “has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.”
As evidence of the poor economic “circumstances we inherited,” the president said “94 million Americans are out of the labor force.”
That’s true as far as it goes — but it’s not evidence of a bad economy. Trump failed to mention that the vast majority of those who aren’t working or looking for work are retired, disabled, attending school or home caring for family members.
https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-4/people-who-are-not-in-the-labor-force-why-arent-they-working.htm
Of the 94.3 million who were counted as out of the labor force last year, 88.5 million said they didn’t want a job, according to annual figures from the Current Population Survey. Barely half a million — 553,000 — said they wanted a job but weren’t looking because they were discouraged about finding one.
https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat35.htm#cps_eeann_nilf.f.1
Trump also said that “more than 1 in 5 people in their prime working years are not working.” Perhaps so, if you count stay-at-home parents, the disabled and those in school. But the fact is, as Trump took office in January, the unemployment rate among those 25 to 54 years old stood at only 4.1 percent.
https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.htm
So in that age group only 1 in 25 who wanted work had looked and couldn’t find it.
But it’s worth noting that only hours earlier, the president had signed an executive order aimed at eventually rolling back a 2015 Obama administration “Clean Water Rule.” And reports were circulating that Trump’s budget would propose laying off 20 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s workforce.
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/28/presidential-executive-order-restoring-rule-law-federalism-and-economic
That rule gives the federal government broad authority to limit pollution in small streams and wetlands that drain into major bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River, but it had come under fire from developers, farmers and other landowners who saw their property rights threatened.
Trump called it “this very destructive and horrible rule” as he signed the order to roll it back.
Meanwhile, Trump administration officials were pushing for a 24 percent cut in the EPA’s budget, according to reports in Politico and E&E News, citing unnamed sources.
Borders: Trump said that “we’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross.” That’s nonsense. The border patrol budget more than doubled from $1.15 billion in fiscal 2001 to $3.64 billion in fiscal 2016. The number of border patrol agents also increased over 100 percent from 9,821 in fiscal 2001 to 19,828 in fiscal 2016, when those agents made nearly 416,000 border apprehensions nationwide.
Refugee vetting: Trump said that “my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures” because “it is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.” As has been explained before, all refugees seeking to enter the U.S. must pass a more rigorous screening than even those entering on a tourist or student visa. And those from Syria, which is one of the seven nations singled out in Trump’s travel ban, are subjected to special measures including iris scans and an “enhanced review” by the Department of Homeland Security. It remains to be seen how Trump will change the vetting process, but the current process, for refugees at least, can take up to two years.
Welfare: Trump envisioned “millions lifted from welfare to work” by the time the United States celebrates its 250th anniversary, in nine years. But the welfare rolls have already dropped by millions — from 10.9 million average monthly recipients in fiscal 1997 to 2.8 million in fiscal 2016. The drop was precipitated by legislation signed by President Clinton in 1996 instituting work requirements and time limits to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. This is at least the third time Trump has made a claim about moving people from welfare to work since he was sworn in.
Jobs: Trump boasted that “since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”
But as has been reported repeatedly, many of the investments announced by those companies were in the works before the election or were largely market driven. Executives of those companies praised Trump’s plan to cut corporate taxes and reduce regulation, but several of them said the recently announced investments would have been made no matter who was elected president, and were part of a years-long investment strategy. We won’t know how Trump is doing on jobs until the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes out with its monthly figures for February, and it may take many more months or even years, to fully evaluate Trump’s impact on jobs.
We can say this, though: The creation of “tens of thousands” of jobs by these companies would represent a small part of the overall economy, which has shown a years-long trend of growth. The economy added nearly 2.2 million jobs (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001) in the 12 months before Trump took office. It has gained jobs for 76 straight months – the longest streak on record. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001?output_view=net_1mth
Health insurance: Trump said that “Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits,” giving the average 116 percent increase in Arizona as an example. But that state was the only one to have a “triple digit” average increase in premiums on the ACA exchange, for individuals who buy their own insurance.
As has been written before, the average nationwide change was a 25 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 among the 38 HealthCare.gov states. Ten of those states had single-digit increases or a decrease in the average second lowest-cost silver plan. And it’s worth noting that 84 percent of the 10.4 million Americans with marketplace coverage in the first half of 2016 received tax credits that limit the amount those individuals have to pay toward premiums.
https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-10-19.html
Crime: Trump got his talking point right when he said, “The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.” It’s a line he has repeatedly misstated (http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/trump-wrong-on-murder-rate/). But while the murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate did go up by 10.8 percent from 2014 to 2015, the long-term trend has been a decrease in murders. The 2015 rate, 4.9 per 100,000 people, is less than half the peak rate of 10.2 in 1980, according to FBI data. "
https://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/TrendsInOneVar.cfm
  1. No* **Stimulus Check. Date 2 March 2017.
" Is it true that Trump is giving every man, woman and child that is working $612.00?
The White House Communication and Propaganda Office does not exist. And it did not announce a program called “Tax Relief for Deserving Americans” that will give “$612 each for every legal American from a working family” and “give nothing to those who choose not to work, people in prison or illegal aliens.”
That tall tale, which appeared online in mid-February (http://web.archive.org/web/20170215072737/http://thelastlineofdefense.org/breaking-trump-just-gave-every-working-legal-man-woman-and-child-in-the-usa-612-each/) , was concocted by the Resistance, a self-described satirical website that has been talked about before. The story was flagged as potentially bogus by several Facebook users who discovered it on other online sites.
As the satirical story goes, President Donald Trump was inspired by President George W. Bush to authorize the $612 “stimulus bonus” for every American in a working family “while deciding how to distract the American people from the nonsense being ‘reported’ by the fake news media about world events and interior politics.” “People on welfare in good standing with work programs or job training will receive an extra $25 in bonus food stamps instead,” the fake story said.
But neither bonus is real, and there are no checks in the mail.
A disclaimer on the Resistance’s “about us” page says that its “articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.” That means that Trump didn’t say, as the Resistance article claimed, that he’d pay for the stimulus program by taxing Mexico or adding tariffs on Canadian Whiskey or asking China for help.
Investigators are certain that Trump would’ve had plenty to say had he approved stimulus checks for working families. In that case, the Resistance wouldn’t have had to make up anything. " - D'Angelo Gore
  1. Examining Trump’s Wiretap Claim. Date March 6 2017
" With no evidence, President Donald Trump called it a “fact” that “President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” He compared the alleged surveillance to the criminal acts of “Nixon/Watergate.”
It was a startling and serious allegation about a former president, made in a series of four tweets on March 4. Yet, Trump provided no support for it, and the White House remained silent for a day. When the White House press office finally got around to explaining the president’s tweets, it undercut Trump’s baseless claim:
It began with a tweet at 6:35 a.m. from Mar-a-Lago, the so-called winter White House that Trump owns in Florida:
" Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! "
Trump continued in this fashion for three more tweets for about a half hour:
" Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! "
" I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! "
" How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! "
What is Trump talking about? The White House didn’t respond for more than 24 hours. When it did, the press secretary issued a brief statement, which we run here in its entirety:
Spicer, March 5: Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.
President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.
Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.
The “Russian activity” is a reference to the U.S. intelligence community’s finding in January that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” The FBI and several congressional committees are continuing to investigate Russia’s role and possible connections between Russia and Trump associates.
http://www.voanews.com/a/several-investigations-under-way-trump-russia-connections/3747336.html
Spicer didn’t say much in his brief statement, but we learned the president’s claim of Watergate-style criminal abuse of power was not based on U.S. intelligence briefings, but on “reports.”
Later that day, Sanders went on ABC’s “This Week,” where she reiterated the White House’s call for an investigation and cited news organizations that “reported on the potential of this having had happened.”
In essence, Spicer and Huckabee aren’t saying the president’s statement is accurate; they are saying it may be accurate — without providing any evidence to support even that possibility.
Sanders went even further by claiming that Trump was only citing what “multiple news outlets” have already reported.
Sanders, March 5: 'Everybody acts like President Trump is the one that came up with this idea and just threw it out there. There are multiple news outlets that have reported this.'
That is false, as is explained next as a look at the news stories cited by the White House as evidence is taken.
When we asked for the news articles referenced by Sanders, the White House provided us with a timeline of events from five news stories written by four news organizations. Only two of the stories were relevant to Trump’s accusations, and none of them claimed that Obama ordered illegal wiretaps.
Trump’s claim rests primarily on the reporting of Heat Street, a conservative website owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and started by Louise Mensch, a former Conservative Party member of the British Parliament.
In a Nov. 7, 2016, article, Heat Street wrote (https://heatst.com/world/exclusive-fbi-granted-fisa-warrant-covering-trump-camps-ties-to-russia/) that the FBI on two occasions sought a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court, as part of its investigation of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, and Trump associates who were suspected of contacts with Russian officials.
Heat Street reported that the FBI failed in June to obtain a warrant, but it was successful in October after the request was narrowed to focus on possible “financial and banking offenses” involving two Russian banks:
Heat Street, Nov. 7, 2016: The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
The administration also referred us to a Jan. 12, 2017, (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427) report on the BBC website, which also cited anonymous sources who said that the FBI received a FISA court warrant in October.
The BBC report said the warrant targeted two Russian banks suspected of sending “money to Mr Trump’s organisation or his election campaign.” However, the BBC report said that “neither Mr. Trump nor his associates are named in the FISA order”:
BBC, Jan. 12, 2017: On 15 October, the US secret intelligence court issued a warrant to investigate two Russian banks. This news was given to me by several sources and corroborated by someone I will identify only as a senior member of the US intelligence community. He would never volunteer anything – giving up classified information would be illegal – but he would confirm or deny what I had heard from other sources.…Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities – in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offence.
These stories, which were based on anonymous sources and have not been confirmed, do not support Trump’s claims that “President Obama was tapping my phones in October,” or that the alleged wiretapping was illegal.
First, the president has no role in the FBI’s decision to seek a warrant or the FISA court’s approval for one, as explained in a 2006 story by the New York Times on how the FISA application process works. The warrant application would be initiated by the FBI and presented to the FISA court by Justice Department attorneys.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9504EFD8173EF934A35751C0A9609C8B63
Second, the FBI must prove to the court that there is “probable cause” that the target of the warrant is “an agent of a foreign power” and engaged in criminal activity, as explained in a joint statement last year to Congress by the intelligence community officials.
https://web.archive.org/web/20160907202002/https://judiciary.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/joint-sfr-for-doj-fbi-odni-and-nsa-updated.pdf
Neither Heat Street nor the BBC alleged any wrongdoing by Obama or the FBI in allegedly obtaining a FISA court warrant in October.
On the same day that the White House provided us with these stories, James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence under Obama, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and denied that a FISA court warrant was issued to monitor Trump Tower.
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/former-dni-james-clapper-i-can-deny-wiretap-trump-tower-n729261
Clapper said he would have known whether the FBI had a court order for surveillance, and he was not aware of one.
Obama’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis, also denied Trump’s allegation, calling it “simply false” in a statement issued on Twitter.
https://twitter.com/KLewis44/status/838087878089535491/photo/1
“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” the statement said. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
The three other stories cited by the White House:
It is the responsibility of the politician making a claim to provide information to support it. But Trump has failed to do so. First, there is no evidence that the FBI wiretapped Trump’s phone or his campaign offices in Trump Tower. Indeed, the director of national intelligence flatly denied it.
Second, the claim is loosely based on two reports — a conservative blog and a BBC report — that cited anonymous sources who claimed that the FBI obtained a warrant in October to investigate two Russian banks. Neither report alleged any wrongdoing by Obama or even evidence that the warrant was obtained illegally. In fact, Heat Street and the BBC claimed that the FBI obtained a legal warrant from the FISA court.
Finally, there is no evidence Obama ordered any wiretapping, as Trump alleged. That would be handled by the FBI and Justice Department independently of the White House. " - Eugene Kiely
  1. Trump’s False Gitmo Blame**. Date 7 March 2017.
" Trump wrongly tweeted that “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield.” Actually, it’s only nine former detainees. The other 113 were released under President George W. Bush.
The president’s March 7 tweet came just a half hour after “Fox & Friends” tweeted a Fox News story about a prisoner released by President Obama from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility who was killed recently by a U.S. airstrike. The tweet noted that “122 former Gitmo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism,” a point also made in the news story.
https://twitter.com/foxandfriends/status/839076420018065408
The Fox News segment reported that U.S, airstrikes in Yemen killed Yasir al Silmi, who the New York Times noted went by the name Mohammed Tahar while at Guantanamo, according to military records. According to The Long War Journal, al Silmi was detained at Gitmo because he was suspected of being part of a group that was “planning to use explosives against Americans in Afghanistan.”
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/03/former-guantanamo-detainee-killed-in-us-air-campaign-in-yemen.php
Although he was recommended for “transfer out of [Department of Defense] control” in 2007, that assessment was reversed in 2008, according to a leaked intelligence document that stated it had been that determined al Silmi was a “high risk” as he is “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.”
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/guantanamo/detainees/679-muhammaed-yasir-ahmed-taher
“It is assessed detainee [al Silmi] will engage in extremist activities upon release,” the 2008 report states. “He has threatened GTMO personnel and continues to support jihad.”
The Fox News segment posted on the “Fox & Friends” Twitter page on March 7 concluded with the announcer stating, “122 prisoners released from Gitmo have returned to the battlefield.” A graphic highlighted the same statistic.
That’s true. But Trump took the extra step of assigning all of those releases to Obama. And that’s simply false.
According to the government’s latest “Summary of Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” the vast majority of the released Gitmo detainees who were “confirmed of reengaging” — 113 of the 122 — were released or transferred out of Gitmo by President Bush.
Obama had transferred 161 Gitmo detainees as of July 15, 2016. Of those, nine were “confirmed of reengaging” in terrorist activities and another 11 were “suspected of reengaging.”
This is not the first time the Trump administration has wrongly assigned Obama blame for detainees released by Bush.
On Feb. 22, it was noted, Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, wrongly suggested that a released Guantanamo Bay detainee responsible for a recent suicide bombing in Iraq was released by Obama.
He was transferred from Gitmo in 2004 under President Bush. Gorka also wrongly claimed that among detainees released by Obama, “almost half the time, they returned to the battlefield.” According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about 12.4 percent of those transferred from Gitmo under Obama are either confirmed or suspected of reengaging.
As was noted then, most of the former Gitmo detainees who are now suspected or confirmed to have reengaged were transferred or released under President Bush. Bush transferred a higher number of detainees — 532 compared to 161 under Obama — and they have been reengaging (or are suspected of reengaging) at a higher rate — 35 percent compared to 12.4 percent under Obama. That may change over time, but those were the percentages as of last July. " - Robert Farley
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2017.03.10 13:46 Prettygame4Ausername Weekly Trump Refutation Thread

  1. DNC Chair on Trump and Overtime Pay. Date: 1 March 2017:
" New Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez made claims that Trump “wants to eliminate overtime pay for people.”
Viewers of NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 26 were left with the false impression from Perez that Trump wants to do away with federal overtime pay requirements altogether. And there is no evidence Trump wants to do that.
http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-02-26-17-n725781
The DNC press office says Perez was referring to the overtime rule proposed by President Barack Obama (while Perez was the labor secretary( https://web.archive.org/web/20170106035153/https://www.dol.gov/agencies/osec)), and the possibility that Trump may squash it.
Current federal rules require that workers be paid overtime (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3284183-Factsheet-on-overtime-rules.html) — one-and-a-half times the regular pay — for time worked over 40 hours in a week. However, the overtime law has a so-called “white collar exemption” for salaried employees who are paid $455 a week or more, or $23,660 per year, for jobs described as executive, administrative, professional, computer or outside sales.
The Obama administration sought to expand the income eligibility cutoff to about $47,500 a year. That would have made an additional 4.2 million salaried U.S. employees eligible for overtime pay, according to Labor Department estimates.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-overtime-rule-employers-adapt-1127-biz-2-20161123-story.html
The DNC noted that Trump talked about “rolling back the overtime regulation” in an interview with the online news service Circa in August.
Trump, Aug. 11: " We have to address the issues of over-taxation and over-regulation and the lack of access to credit markets to get our small business owners thriving again. Rolling back the overtime regulation is just one example of the many regulations that need to be addressed to do that. We would love to see a delay or a carve-out of sorts for our small business owners "
http://circa.com/politics/election-2016/trump-would-slash-us-education-department-reverse-worker-overtime-rules
The DNC also noted that a memo from the Trump campaign’s Small Business Advisory Council again targeted overtime rules as an impediment to small businesses.
https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/SBAC_Memo.pdf
Trump campaign memo: Labor issues like minimum wage, overtime rules, and union organizing all take their toll. It seems to many Small Business Owners out here in “flyover land” that the insiders in DC have it in for them. And they probably do. They tell you what you have to pay, set your work rules, mandate benefits and make it impossible to get a fair organizational vote.
The rules finalized by the Obama administration in May 2016 — and set to begin in December 2016 — never went into effect. Twenty-one states sued the Labor Department claiming the rule was unconstitutional, and in November, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found the rule was unlawful and granted a nationwide preliminary injunction.
The Trump administration’s Justice Department submitted a filing with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 asking for an extension until March 2 to file a reply brief in order to allow the incoming “leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issues,"
“It is highly unlikely the administration will support the rule,” Said the Washington Examiner.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-court-filing-could-be-end-of-obama-overtime-rule/article/2612960
The Washington Examiner and the DNC both cited an op-ed written by Andrew Puzder, Trump’s initial choice to head the Labor Department, as an ominous sign for the proposed overtime pay expansion. In the op-ed, published in Forbes on May 18, 2016, Puzder, a fast-food executive, blasted the expansion of overtime pay proposed by the Obama administration.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/05/18/the-harsh-reality-of-regulating-overtime-pay/#101a6e0f413e
“Turning highly sought-after entry level management careers into hourly jobs where employees punch a clock and are compensated for time spent rather than time well spent is hardly an improvement on the path from the working class to the middle class,” Puzder wrote.
The White House press office did not respond to investigators questions about the administration’s position on the overtime pay rule. It may be that the Trump administration seeks to squash it. But that’s still not the same as Trump attempting to “eliminate overtime pay for people” — at least not for people who are eligible for it today. " - Robert Farley.
  1. Trump’s Defense Increase ‘Historic’?. Date 1 March 2017.
" President Donald Trump told the nation’s governors that his first budget would include “a historic increase in defense spending.” But defense experts say that’s not the case.
For fiscal year 2018, Trump has proposed a 9.4 percent increase in the base defense budget, which does not including war funding. But Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan enacted double-digit increases in base defense spending in five years in the 1980s — including a whopping 25 percent increase in fiscal 1981.
On Feb. 27, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said ( https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/27/press-briefing-press-secretary-sean-spicer-2272017-17 ) Trump’s first proposed budget would contain $603 billion in defense discretionary spending for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1. That is $52 billion, or 9.4 percent, higher than the $551 billion in fiscal year 2017. (The $551 billion spending level for FY2017 was set by Congress and the Obama administration as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, as the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office explains in a January report.)
http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/682158.pdf
On the same day, Trump touted his proposed defense spending as “historic” in a speech to the nation’s governors, who are gathered in Washington, D.C., for the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
http://bcove.me/y28ab8c1
Trump, Feb. 27: This budget will be a public safety and national security budget, very much based on those two with plenty of other things but very strong. And it will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it.
In his Feb. 28 speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump similarly said that he would propose a budget with “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” What Trump has proposed so far is a large increase, but is it “a historic increase”?
https://www.c-span.org/video/?424147-1/president-trump-addresses-joint-session-congress&start=3166
Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was asked to place the 9.4 percent increase in historical context. He said investigators can use the White House Office of Management and Budget’s historical tables — specifically the “total national defense” line item in “Table 5.6 — Budget Authority for Discretionary Programs: 1976–2021” — to compare Trump’s 9.4 percent increase with past defense budgets, but only through fiscal year 2000. That’s because Trump’s 9.4 percent increase is just in base defense funding; he has yet to announce his war funding budget. The defense discretionary figures in OMB’s table from FY2001 to FY2017 include base defense funding and a special category of war funding known as overseas contingency operations, or OCO, for the Middle East wars.
file:///Users/student/Downloads/hist05z6.pdf
Investigators calculated the percentage change in defense discretionary spending authority for each of the 21 years from fiscal 1980 to fiscal 2000, and found that there were double-digit increases in five of those years. Also, President George H.W. Bush increased national defense spending in fiscal 1991 by 9.3 percent, about the same as Trump’s proposal.
“There were multiple years of increases larger than this during the early 1980s,” Harrison told investigators in an email. “So I don’t think this budget proposal can be accurately described as an historic increase. It’s a large increase, but not that large.”
Here are the double-digit increases in defense discretionary spending authority:
Defense Discretionary Spending
Year Increase (in billions) Percent change 1981 $35.9 24.9% 1982 $36.7 20.4% 1980 $17.6 13.9% 1983 $27.8 12.8% 1985 $29.3 11%
Investigators added that the defense discretionary budget figures in OMB’s table are in “current dollars,” which are not adjusted for inflation. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the increases in the 1980s were larger than Trump’s proposed $52 billion increase in four of the five years.
Edward Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said President George W. Bush’s base defense budget increases also were larger in 2002 (12 percent), 2003 (11 percent) and 2008 (10 percent). (The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculated those percentages by subtracting war funding from the discretionary defense figures to arrive at base defense budget figures for the years after fiscal 2001.) “There have been many increases larger in nominal and percentage terms” than Trump’s proposed increase, Lorenzen said.
Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, said the administration will not release its full budget and budget details until May. Until then, we will not know how much Trump will request in war funding.
Mackensie Eaglen, a defense expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote (https://www.aei.org/publication/trumps-defense-budget-wont-yield-a-serious-military-buildup/) that total defense spending may not rise as much as Trump now claims if the base defense budget includes items previously covered in the overseas contingency operations.
“What remains unclear is the total defense budget request by Trump’s team, which will include funding for overseas contingency operations (OCO),” Eaglen wrote. “With Mick Mulvaney running the White House budget office, it is likely that OCO will be scaled back, and some migration will begin of nonemergency priorities in this account shifting over to the base budget.” " - Eugene Kiely.
  1. Trump's Address To Congress. Date 1 March 2107.
" In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump stuck closely to his prepared remarks, but ran afoul of the facts in some cases.
https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R44519.pdf
Trump may be referring to a long-term estimate by a Boston University political science professor, Neta Crawford. She puts the long-term cost of the war on terrorism at between $4.8 trillion and $7.9 trillion when including future costs for such things as veterans’ medical and disability costs, debt service on borrowed money, and war-related spending in the Department of Homeland Security.
http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwafiles/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf
Trump distorts the findings of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in a report released in September.
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=23550
The long-term impact of the legal immigration system on the overall wages and employment of native-born American workers is “very small,” the report said. “To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills,” according to a press release on the report.
As for taxpayers, the impact of the legal immigration system on government budgets is “mixed,” the report found. State and local governments “bear the burden of providing education benefits to children,” but the federal government benefits from “the resulting educated taxpayers” who work and pay taxes.
The report found that for 2011-2013 immigration there was a net annual cost of $57.4 billion for first-generation adults and their dependents; but second generations create a benefit of $30.5 billion a year, and third-plus generations create an annual benefit of $223.8 billion.
https://www.nap.edu/read/23550/chapte2
Overall, the report found that “immigration is integral to the nation’s economic growth” and “has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.”
As evidence of the poor economic “circumstances we inherited,” the president said “94 million Americans are out of the labor force.”
That’s true as far as it goes — but it’s not evidence of a bad economy. Trump failed to mention that the vast majority of those who aren’t working or looking for work are retired, disabled, attending school or home caring for family members.
https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-4/people-who-are-not-in-the-labor-force-why-arent-they-working.htm
Of the 94.3 million who were counted as out of the labor force last year, 88.5 million said they didn’t want a job, according to annual figures from the Current Population Survey. Barely half a million — 553,000 — said they wanted a job but weren’t looking because they were discouraged about finding one.
https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat35.htm#cps_eeann_nilf.f.1
Trump also said that “more than 1 in 5 people in their prime working years are not working.” Perhaps so, if you count stay-at-home parents, the disabled and those in school. But the fact is, as Trump took office in January, the unemployment rate among those 25 to 54 years old stood at only 4.1 percent.
https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.htm
So in that age group only 1 in 25 who wanted work had looked and couldn’t find it.
But it’s worth noting that only hours earlier, the president had signed an executive order aimed at eventually rolling back a 2015 Obama administration “Clean Water Rule.” And reports were circulating that Trump’s budget would propose laying off 20 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s workforce.
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/28/presidential-executive-order-restoring-rule-law-federalism-and-economic
That rule gives the federal government broad authority to limit pollution in small streams and wetlands that drain into major bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River, but it had come under fire from developers, farmers and other landowners who saw their property rights threatened.
Trump called it “this very destructive and horrible rule” as he signed the order to roll it back.
Meanwhile, Trump administration officials were pushing for a 24 percent cut in the EPA’s budget, according to reports in Politico and E&E News, citing unnamed sources.
Borders: Trump said that “we’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross.” That’s nonsense. The border patrol budget more than doubled from $1.15 billion in fiscal 2001 to $3.64 billion in fiscal 2016. The number of border patrol agents also increased over 100 percent from 9,821 in fiscal 2001 to 19,828 in fiscal 2016, when those agents made nearly 416,000 border apprehensions nationwide.
Refugee vetting: Trump said that “my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures” because “it is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.” As has been explained before, all refugees seeking to enter the U.S. must pass a more rigorous screening than even those entering on a tourist or student visa. And those from Syria, which is one of the seven nations singled out in Trump’s travel ban, are subjected to special measures including iris scans and an “enhanced review” by the Department of Homeland Security. It remains to be seen how Trump will change the vetting process, but the current process, for refugees at least, can take up to two years.
Welfare: Trump envisioned “millions lifted from welfare to work” by the time the United States celebrates its 250th anniversary, in nine years. But the welfare rolls have already dropped by millions — from 10.9 million average monthly recipients in fiscal 1997 to 2.8 million in fiscal 2016. The drop was precipitated by legislation signed by President Clinton in 1996 instituting work requirements and time limits to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. This is at least the third time Trump has made a claim about moving people from welfare to work since he was sworn in.
Jobs: Trump boasted that “since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”
But as has been reported repeatedly, many of the investments announced by those companies were in the works before the election or were largely market driven. Executives of those companies praised Trump’s plan to cut corporate taxes and reduce regulation, but several of them said the recently announced investments would have been made no matter who was elected president, and were part of a years-long investment strategy. We won’t know how Trump is doing on jobs until the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes out with its monthly figures for February, and it may take many more months or even years, to fully evaluate Trump’s impact on jobs.
We can say this, though: The creation of “tens of thousands” of jobs by these companies would represent a small part of the overall economy, which has shown a years-long trend of growth. The economy added nearly 2.2 million jobs (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001) in the 12 months before Trump took office. It has gained jobs for 76 straight months – the longest streak on record. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001?output_view=net_1mth
Health insurance: Trump said that “Obamacare premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits,” giving the average 116 percent increase in Arizona as an example. But that state was the only one to have a “triple digit” average increase in premiums on the ACA exchange, for individuals who buy their own insurance.
As has been written before, the average nationwide change was a 25 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 among the 38 HealthCare.gov states. Ten of those states had single-digit increases or a decrease in the average second lowest-cost silver plan. And it’s worth noting that 84 percent of the 10.4 million Americans with marketplace coverage in the first half of 2016 received tax credits that limit the amount those individuals have to pay toward premiums.
https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-10-19.html
Crime: Trump got his talking point right when he said, “The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century.” It’s a line he has repeatedly misstated (http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/trump-wrong-on-murder-rate/). But while the murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate did go up by 10.8 percent from 2014 to 2015, the long-term trend has been a decrease in murders. The 2015 rate, 4.9 per 100,000 people, is less than half the peak rate of 10.2 in 1980, according to FBI data. "
https://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/TrendsInOneVar.cfm
  1. No* **Stimulus Check. Date 2 March 2017.
" Is it true that Trump is giving every man, woman and child that is working $612.00?
The White House Communication and Propaganda Office does not exist. And it did not announce a program called “Tax Relief for Deserving Americans” that will give “$612 each for every legal American from a working family” and “give nothing to those who choose not to work, people in prison or illegal aliens.”
That tall tale, which appeared online in mid-February (http://web.archive.org/web/20170215072737/http://thelastlineofdefense.org/breaking-trump-just-gave-every-working-legal-man-woman-and-child-in-the-usa-612-each/) , was concocted by the Resistance, a self-described satirical website that has been talked about before. The story was flagged as potentially bogus by several Facebook users who discovered it on other online sites.
As the satirical story goes, President Donald Trump was inspired by President George W. Bush to authorize the $612 “stimulus bonus” for every American in a working family “while deciding how to distract the American people from the nonsense being ‘reported’ by the fake news media about world events and interior politics.” “People on welfare in good standing with work programs or job training will receive an extra $25 in bonus food stamps instead,” the fake story said.
But neither bonus is real, and there are no checks in the mail.
A disclaimer on the Resistance’s “about us” page says that its “articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.” That means that Trump didn’t say, as the Resistance article claimed, that he’d pay for the stimulus program by taxing Mexico or adding tariffs on Canadian Whiskey or asking China for help.
Investigators are certain that Trump would’ve had plenty to say had he approved stimulus checks for working families. In that case, the Resistance wouldn’t have had to make up anything. " - D'Angelo Gore
  1. Examining Trump’s Wiretap Claim. Date March 6 2017
" With no evidence, President Donald Trump called it a “fact” that “President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” He compared the alleged surveillance to the criminal acts of “Nixon/Watergate.”
It was a startling and serious allegation about a former president, made in a series of four tweets on March 4. Yet, Trump provided no support for it, and the White House remained silent for a day. When the White House press office finally got around to explaining the president’s tweets, it undercut Trump’s baseless claim:
It began with a tweet at 6:35 a.m. from Mar-a-Lago, the so-called winter White House that Trump owns in Florida:
" Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! "
Trump continued in this fashion for three more tweets for about a half hour:
" Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! "
" I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! "
" How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! "
What is Trump talking about? The White House didn’t respond for more than 24 hours. When it did, the press secretary issued a brief statement, which we run here in its entirety:
Spicer, March 5: Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.
President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.
Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.
The “Russian activity” is a reference to the U.S. intelligence community’s finding in January that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” The FBI and several congressional committees are continuing to investigate Russia’s role and possible connections between Russia and Trump associates.
http://www.voanews.com/a/several-investigations-under-way-trump-russia-connections/3747336.html
Spicer didn’t say much in his brief statement, but we learned the president’s claim of Watergate-style criminal abuse of power was not based on U.S. intelligence briefings, but on “reports.”
Later that day, Sanders went on ABC’s “This Week,” where she reiterated the White House’s call for an investigation and cited news organizations that “reported on the potential of this having had happened.”
In essence, Spicer and Huckabee aren’t saying the president’s statement is accurate; they are saying it may be accurate — without providing any evidence to support even that possibility.
Sanders went even further by claiming that Trump was only citing what “multiple news outlets” have already reported.
Sanders, March 5: 'Everybody acts like President Trump is the one that came up with this idea and just threw it out there. There are multiple news outlets that have reported this.'
That is false, as is explained next as a look at the news stories cited by the White House as evidence is taken.
When we asked for the news articles referenced by Sanders, the White House provided us with a timeline of events from five news stories written by four news organizations. Only two of the stories were relevant to Trump’s accusations, and none of them claimed that Obama ordered illegal wiretaps.
Trump’s claim rests primarily on the reporting of Heat Street, a conservative website owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and started by Louise Mensch, a former Conservative Party member of the British Parliament.
In a Nov. 7, 2016, article, Heat Street wrote (https://heatst.com/world/exclusive-fbi-granted-fisa-warrant-covering-trump-camps-ties-to-russia/) that the FBI on two occasions sought a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court, as part of its investigation of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, and Trump associates who were suspected of contacts with Russian officials.
Heat Street reported that the FBI failed in June to obtain a warrant, but it was successful in October after the request was narrowed to focus on possible “financial and banking offenses” involving two Russian banks:
Heat Street, Nov. 7, 2016: The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
The administration also referred us to a Jan. 12, 2017, (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427) report on the BBC website, which also cited anonymous sources who said that the FBI received a FISA court warrant in October.
The BBC report said the warrant targeted two Russian banks suspected of sending “money to Mr Trump’s organisation or his election campaign.” However, the BBC report said that “neither Mr. Trump nor his associates are named in the FISA order”:
BBC, Jan. 12, 2017: On 15 October, the US secret intelligence court issued a warrant to investigate two Russian banks. This news was given to me by several sources and corroborated by someone I will identify only as a senior member of the US intelligence community. He would never volunteer anything – giving up classified information would be illegal – but he would confirm or deny what I had heard from other sources.…Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities – in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offence.
These stories, which were based on anonymous sources and have not been confirmed, do not support Trump’s claims that “President Obama was tapping my phones in October,” or that the alleged wiretapping was illegal.
First, the president has no role in the FBI’s decision to seek a warrant or the FISA court’s approval for one, as explained in a 2006 story by the New York Times on how the FISA application process works. The warrant application would be initiated by the FBI and presented to the FISA court by Justice Department attorneys.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9504EFD8173EF934A35751C0A9609C8B63
Second, the FBI must prove to the court that there is “probable cause” that the target of the warrant is “an agent of a foreign power” and engaged in criminal activity, as explained in a joint statement last year to Congress by the intelligence community officials.
https://web.archive.org/web/20160907202002/https://judiciary.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/joint-sfr-for-doj-fbi-odni-and-nsa-updated.pdf
Neither Heat Street nor the BBC alleged any wrongdoing by Obama or the FBI in allegedly obtaining a FISA court warrant in October.
On the same day that the White House provided us with these stories, James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence under Obama, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and denied that a FISA court warrant was issued to monitor Trump Tower.
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/former-dni-james-clapper-i-can-deny-wiretap-trump-tower-n729261
Clapper said he would have known whether the FBI had a court order for surveillance, and he was not aware of one.
Obama’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis, also denied Trump’s allegation, calling it “simply false” in a statement issued on Twitter.
https://twitter.com/KLewis44/status/838087878089535491/photo/1
“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” the statement said. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
The three other stories cited by the White House:
It is the responsibility of the politician making a claim to provide information to support it. But Trump has failed to do so. First, there is no evidence that the FBI wiretapped Trump’s phone or his campaign offices in Trump Tower. Indeed, the director of national intelligence flatly denied it.
Second, the claim is loosely based on two reports — a conservative blog and a BBC report — that cited anonymous sources who claimed that the FBI obtained a warrant in October to investigate two Russian banks. Neither report alleged any wrongdoing by Obama or even evidence that the warrant was obtained illegally. In fact, Heat Street and the BBC claimed that the FBI obtained a legal warrant from the FISA court.
Finally, there is no evidence Obama ordered any wiretapping, as Trump alleged. That would be handled by the FBI and Justice Department independently of the White House. " - Eugene Kiely
  1. Trump’s False Gitmo Blame**. Date 7 March 2017.
" Trump wrongly tweeted that “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield.” Actually, it’s only nine former detainees. The other 113 were released under President George W. Bush.
The president’s March 7 tweet came just a half hour after “Fox & Friends” tweeted a Fox News story about a prisoner released by President Obama from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility who was killed recently by a U.S. airstrike. The tweet noted that “122 former Gitmo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism,” a point also made in the news story.
https://twitter.com/foxandfriends/status/839076420018065408
The Fox News segment reported that U.S, airstrikes in Yemen killed Yasir al Silmi, who the New York Times noted went by the name Mohammed Tahar while at Guantanamo, according to military records. According to The Long War Journal, al Silmi was detained at Gitmo because he was suspected of being part of a group that was “planning to use explosives against Americans in Afghanistan.”
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/03/former-guantanamo-detainee-killed-in-us-air-campaign-in-yemen.php
Although he was recommended for “transfer out of [Department of Defense] control” in 2007, that assessment was reversed in 2008, according to a leaked intelligence document that stated it had been that determined al Silmi was a “high risk” as he is “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.”
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/guantanamo/detainees/679-muhammaed-yasir-ahmed-taher
“It is assessed detainee [al Silmi] will engage in extremist activities upon release,” the 2008 report states. “He has threatened GTMO personnel and continues to support jihad.”
The Fox News segment posted on the “Fox & Friends” Twitter page on March 7 concluded with the announcer stating, “122 prisoners released from Gitmo have returned to the battlefield.” A graphic highlighted the same statistic.
That’s true. But Trump took the extra step of assigning all of those releases to Obama. And that’s simply false.
According to the government’s latest “Summary of Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” the vast majority of the released Gitmo detainees who were “confirmed of reengaging” — 113 of the 122 — were released or transferred out of Gitmo by President Bush.
Obama had transferred 161 Gitmo detainees as of July 15, 2016. Of those, nine were “confirmed of reengaging” in terrorist activities and another 11 were “suspected of reengaging.”
This is not the first time the Trump administration has wrongly assigned Obama blame for detainees released by Bush.
On Feb. 22, it was noted, Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, wrongly suggested that a released Guantanamo Bay detainee responsible for a recent suicide bombing in Iraq was released by Obama.
He was transferred from Gitmo in 2004 under President Bush. Gorka also wrongly claimed that among detainees released by Obama, “almost half the time, they returned to the battlefield.” According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about 12.4 percent of those transferred from Gitmo under Obama are either confirmed or suspected of reengaging.
As was noted then, most of the former Gitmo detainees who are now suspected or confirmed to have reengaged were transferred or released under President Bush. Bush transferred a higher number of detainees — 532 compared to 161 under Obama — and they have been reengaging (or are suspected of reengaging) at a higher rate — 35 percent compared to 12.4 percent under Obama. That may change over time, but those were the percentages as of last July. " - Robert Farley
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