Some Debate Fact-Checking
The final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Las Vegas started out as a policy discussion, but quickly erupted into a boxing match between the two candidates over issues from Clinton’s emails to tax returns. The showdown came as Trump’s campaign has been consumed by allegations of sexual misconduct -- allegations he vehemently denied -- and Clinton is grappling with the fallout from the publication of her campaign chairman’s email archives by WikiLeaks. Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News attempted to focus on six topics: debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots and fitness to be president.
Fact-check No. 1: Clinton said 17 intelligence agencies “confirmed” Russia is trying to influence our election.
Clinton: Russians “have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to Wikileaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election. So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is finally will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this?”
Our grade: True
Explanation: The head of the US intelligence community, overseeing 17 intelligence-related organizations, has said publicly that the community is “confident that the Russian Government directed” the recent hacks in an attempt “to interfere with the US election process.”
Fact-check No. 2: Mr Trump said thousands of Syrians are coming in to the United States and there is no way to determine where they came from.
Trump: “...he has thousands and thousands of people. They have no idea where they come from and you see, we are going to stop radical Islamic terrorism in this country.”
Our grade: False
Explanation: This claim that the US is unable to accurately identify Syrian refugees is categorically denied by the State Department and the multiple US government agencies tasked with vetting refugees. The State Department has said “applicants to the US Refugee Admissions Program are currently subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”
Fact-check No. 3: Clinton claims Trump is willing to break up NATO.
Clinton: “That the Russians have engaged in cyber-attacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race. So I think that this is such an unprecedented situation, we’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election.”
Our grade: True
Explanation: This claim is true because Donald Trump drew international headlines when he said he would be willing to have the U.S. leave NATO. For example, on April 27, Trump said this in a speech: “In NATO, for instance, only 4 of 28 other member countries besides America, are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense.
We have spent trillions of dollars over time on planes, missiles, ships, equipment, building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the US must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.”