Fact-Checking President Dumbass
AP FACT CHECK: Trump and the people he forgets he knew
By CALVIN WOODWARD and HOPE YEN | Sat, December 7, 2019 11:24 EST
WASHINGTON (AP) — When certain associates and acquaintances of President Donald Trump get into hot water, he forgets he ever knew them. Various figures from the Russia investigation and the Ukraine matter as well as a British prince have fallen out of familiarity with the president in this way.
For a few days, the stock market suffered a similar fate when it dipped too low for Trump to boast about it. But he rediscovered the market by the end of the week when it rose back up.
A look at some remarks by Trump from the NATO summit in London and from back home as the Democratic effort to impeach him moves ahead:
TRUMP: “The word ‘impeachment’ is a dirty word, and it's a word that was only supposed to be used in special occasions: high crimes and misdemeanors. In this case, there was no crime whatsoever. Not even a little tiny crime. There was no crime whatsoever, and they know it. ” — remarks Wednesday with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
THE FACTS: That's a misrepresentation of the conditions for impeaching a president. The constitutional grounds for impeachment do not require any crime to have been committed. In setting the conditions, treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors, the Founding Fathers said that a consequential abuse of office — crime or not — was subject to the impeachment process they laid out.
Months after the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Alexander Hamilton explained in the Federalist Papers that a commonly understood crime need not be the basis of impeachment. Offenses qualifying for that step “are of a nature ... POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself," he wrote.
As they move toward drafting articles of impeachment, though, Democrats are alleging crimes involving obstruction of justice as part of their case that Trump abused his office.
TRUMP: “For the hearings, we don’t get a lawyer.” — remarks Tuesday with Trudeau.
THE FACTS: Trump is wrong about being deprived of an attorney in the House Judiciary Committee hearings. The committee invited Trump and his lawyers to appear if he wishes, but the White House refused.
In a letter early in the week to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., White House counsel Pat Cipollone declined the invitation for the president’s counsel to appear at Wednesday's hearing while Trump was at the NATO summit, insisting that the inquiry violates “basic due process rights.”
For hearings in the coming week, Trump had until Friday to decide whether he would take advantage of due process protections afforded to him under House rules adopted in October. He was offered an opportunity to ask for witness testimony and to cross-examine the witnesses called by the House. But he decided not to participate in that round, too.
If the House impeaches Trump, the Senate trial will look like a normal trial in some respects, with senators as the jury. Arguments would be heard from each side’s legal team for and against Trump’s removal from office.
The Intelligence Committee hearings, in contrast, were like the investigative phase of criminal cases, conducted without the participation of the person under investigation.
TRUMP: “We won, in the World Trade Organization, we won seven and a half billion dollars. We never used to win before me, because, before me, the United States was a sucker for all of these different organizations.” — remarks Tuesday with Stoltenberg.
THE FACTS: He is wildly wrong to state that the U.S. never won victories in disputes taken to the trade organization before him.
The U.S. has always had a high success rate when it pursues cases against other countries at the WTO. In 2017, trade analyst Daniel Ikenson of the libertarian Cato Institute found that the U.S. won 91% of the cases it took to the Geneva-based trade monitor.
As Ikenson noted, countries bringing complaints to the organization tend to win because they don't bother going to the WTO in the first place if they don't have a strong case.
As for Trump's claim that the U.S. “won” $7.5 billion from the WTO, that's not quite right.
Trump was referring to a WTO decision in October siding with the U.S. on imposing tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of European imports annually. The value of the tariffs on those imports is much less than $7.5 billion.
The WTO announcement culminated a 15-year fight over EU subsidies for Airbus — a fight that began long before Trump was in office.