Fact check: Trump, Clinton and their de­bate claims

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Calvin Woodward and Stephen Braun

WASH­ING­TON >> Don­ald Trump mis­char­ac­ter­ized the record on Hil­lary Clinton’s de­fense of her hus­band and her own treat­ment of women when he brought up Bill Clinton’s sex­ual his­tory and other episodes of the past. Clinton didn’t give a square ac­count of the fall­out from her email prac­tices.

A look at some of the claims in the se­cond pres­i­den­tial de­bate:

TRUMP, asked whether the preda­tory be­hav­ior with women that he de­scribed in a 2005 video amounted to sex­ual as­sault: “No, I didn’t say that at all.”

THE FACTS: He cer­tainly didn’t own up to sex­ual as­sault in his boast­ful re­marks in 2005. But he clearly de­scribed grop­ing and kiss­ing women with­out their per­mis­sion, us­ing his celebrity to im­pose him­self on them.

“I don’t even wait,” he bragged in the video. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do any­thing.” He went on: “Grab them by the p----. You can do any­thing.”

He de­scribed a spe­cific sex­ual ad­vance to­ward a mar­ried woman. “I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there.”

TRUMP on Hil­lary Clinton’s be­hav­ior when, as a young pub­lic de­fender, she was as­signed to rep­re­sent an ac­cused child rapist: “She’s seen on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions, laugh­ing at the girl who was raped. Kathy Shel­ton, that young woman, is here with us tonight.”

THE FACTS: At no point was Clinton seen laugh­ing at the vic­tim.

In 1975, at the age of 12, Shel­ton was sex­u­ally as­saulted in North­west Arkansas. Clinton was asked by a judge over­see­ing the case to rep­re­sent her al­leged at­tacker. Af­ter the pros­e­cu­tion lost key ev­i­dence, Clinton’s client en­tered a plea to a lesser charge.

In an in­ter­view a decade later, Clinton ex­pressed hor­ror at the crime, but was recorded on tape laugh­ing about pro­ce­dural de­tails of the case. The au­dio has been seized on by con­ser­va­tive groups look­ing to at­tack Clinton’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­dacy but does not con­vey mirth at the girl’s fate.

TRUMP on women linked to Bill Clinton sex­u­ally: “Hil­lary Clinton at­tacked those same women and at­tacked them vi­ciously.”

THE FACTS: There is no clear, in­de­pen­dent ev­i­dence that Hil­lary Clinton “vi­ciously” at­tacked women who al­leged or con­firmed sex­ual con­tact with her hus­band.

To be sure, in the 1992 Demo­cratic pri­maries, she was deeply in­volved in the Clinton cam­paign’s ef­fort to dis­credit one ac­cuser, ac­tress Gen­nifer Flow­ers, who al­leged she had a long-run­ning af­fair with Bill Clinton. Both Clin­tons ac­knowl­edged past trou­bles in their mar­riage but sought to un­der­mine Flow­ers’ claims. Bill Clinton later ac­knowl­edged in a 1998 court de­po­si­tion that he had a sex­ual en­counter with Flow­ers.

Hil­lary Clinton was also quoted over the years mak­ing dis­parag­ing com­ments about other women linked with her hus­band.

What is lack­ing is proof that she en­gi­neered ef­forts to smear their rep­u­ta­tion. Diane Blair, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor and long­time Hil­lary Clinton friend who died in 2000, left be­hind an ac­count of pri­vate in­ter­views with Hil­lary Clinton in which she told her dur­ing the Mon­ica Lewin­sky af­fair that she con­sid­ered the for­mer White House in­tern a “nar­cis­sis­tic loony toon.”

CLINTON: “Af­ter a year­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, there is no ev­i­dence that any­one hacked the server I was us­ing, and there is no ev­i­dence that any­one can point to, at all ... that any clas­si­fied ma­te­rial ended up in the wrong hands.”

THE FACTS: Maybe, maybe not. While there’s in­deed no di­rect, ex­plicit ev­i­dence that clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion was leaked or that her server was breached, it was nev­er­the­less con­nected to the in­ter­net in ways that made it more vul­ner­a­ble to hack­ers — and the pub­lic may never know who saw them. FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey has said: “We as­sess it is pos­si­ble that hos­tile ac­tors gained ac­cess to Sec­re­tary Clinton’s per­sonal email ac­count.”

The As­so­ci­ated Press pre­vi­ously dis­cov­ered that her pri­vate server, which has been a ma­jor cam­paign is­sue for Clinton and the fo­cus of U.S. in­ves­ti­ga­tions, ap­peared to al­low users to con­nect to it openly over the in­ter­net and con­trol it re­motely. That prac­tice, ex­perts said, wasn’t in­tended to be used with­out ad­di­tional pro­tec­tive mea­sures, and was the sub­ject of U.S. gov­ern­ment warn­ings at the time over at­tacks from even am­a­teur hack­ers.

Since the AP in early 2013 traced her server to her home in Chap­paqua, New York, Clinton hasn’t fully ex­plained who ad­min­is­tered her server, if it re­ceived soft­ware up­dates to plug se­cu­rity holes or if it was mon­i­tored for unau­tho­rized ac­cess. It’s also un­clear what, if any, en­cryp­tion soft­ware Clinton’s server may have used to com­mu­ni­cate with of­fi­cial U.S. gov­ern­ment email ac­counts.

Comey has said Clinton and her staff “were ex­tremely care­less in their han­dling of very sen­si­tive, highly clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.” But he said the FBI won’t rec­om­mend crim­i­nal charges against Clinton for use of the server while she was sec­re­tary of state and closed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

TRUMP on Bill Clinton: “He lost his li­cense. He had to pay an $850,000 fine.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s facts are, at best, jum­bled. In 1998, lawyers for Bill Clinton set­tled with for­mer Arkansas state em­ployee Paul Jones for $850,000 in her four-year law­suit al­leg­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment. It was not a fine, and there was no find­ing or ad­mis­sion of wrong­do­ing.

Trump erred in de­scrib­ing the le­gal con­se­quences of that case. In a re­lated case be­fore the Arkansas State Supreme Court, Clinton was fined $25,000 and his Arkansas law li­cense was sus­pended for five years. Clinton also faced dis­bar­ment be­fore the U.S. Supreme Court but he opted to re­sign from the court’s prac­tice in­stead of fac­ing any penal­ties.

CLINTON: “We are now, for the first time ever, en­ergy in­de­pen­dent.”

THE FACTS: Clinton in­ac­cu­rately over­states the case. For the first time in decades the United States gets more en­ergy do­mes­ti­cally than it im­ports, but it is not yet en­ergy in­de­pen­dent as the coun­try con­tin­ues to rely on oil im­ports, from the Mideast and else­where. Es­ti­mates vary as to when the U.S. might achieve en­ergy in­de­pen­dence.

Do­mes­tic oil pro­duc­tion has greatly in­creased in re­cent years. And at the same time oil im­ports as a per­cent­age of con­sump­tion have dropped, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Oil im­ports have dropped from 3.58 bil­lion bar­rels in 2008 to 2.68 bil­lion bar­rels in 2015.

TRUMP: “She (Clinton) wants to go to a sin­gle-payer plan, which would be a dis­as­ter...she wants to go to sin­gle-payer, which means the gov­ern­ment ba­si­cally rules ev­ery­thing.”

THE FACTS: It’s Vermont Sen. Bernie San­ders — not Clinton — who sup­ports a Canada-style gov­ern­men­trun health care sys­tem.

While Clinton’s health care pro­pos­als would ex­pand the gov­ern­ment’s role in the health care sys­tem, she’s not talk­ing about dis­man­tling the cur­rent sys­tem, which is a hy­brid of em­ployer-spon­sored cov­er­age, gov­ern­ment pro­grams like Medi­care and Med­i­caid, and in­di­vid­u­ally pur­chased in­sur­ance.

As pres­i­dent, Clinton would push for a gov­ern­ment-spon­sored in­sur­ance plan in the health care mar­kets cre­ated by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care law, as an al­ter­na­tive to pri­vate in­sur­ance.

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