Fact check: Trump makes four false claims in one sentence
Updated 4:00 PM ET, Mon September 14, 2020
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Washington (CNN)In what may be a new record for President Donald Trump, he made four false claims in one sentence of a tweet on Saturday.
The sentence was about Hillary Clinton, Trump's 2016 election opponent, and Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director and acting director of the FBI.
McCabe, who is now a CNN contributor, was fired
by the Trump administration in 2018, less than two days before his planned retirement, after an investigation found he had lacked "candor" in describing his role in disclosing information to a newspaper.
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Trump has regularly blasted McCabe in tweets and public remarks. His Saturday sentence on Twitter: "Was Andy McCabe ever forced to pay back the $700,000 illegally given to him and his wife, for his wife's political campaign, by Crooked Hillary Clinton while Hillary was under FBI investigation, and McCabe was the head of the FBI???"
Almost everything he said was inaccurate. Let's break down the sentence point by point.
"...the $700,000 illegally given to him and his wife, for his wife's political campaign..."
Facts First: There are two false claims in these 14 words alone. McCabe himself did not receive any donations, and the donations were not illegal.
There is simply no evidence that any of the donations, which were publicly reported in Jill McCabe's financial filings, broke the law. Trump has a long history
of wrongly accusing his opponents of illegal behavior.
"...by Crooked Hillary Clinton..."
Facts First: Clinton did not make any of the donations.
McAuliffe is a longtime friend
and political associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton, but there is just no indication
the Clintons were responsible in any way for his PAC's giving.
"There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton provided political or financial support to Dr. McCabe's 2015 senate campaign," the Justice Department's inspector general wrote
in a 2018 report.
The donation from McAuliffe's PAC was not at all exceptional. Common Good VA gave larger donations
to two other Democratic candidates as the party tried to win control of the state Senate in 2015: $803,500 to Jeremy McPike and $781,500 to Daniel Gecker.
Jill McCabe was in a competitive race. She lost by 4.8 percentage points to the Republican incumbent.
She noted in a 2018 op-ed article
in the Washington Post that the donations from the state party and the governor's PAC were "on par with what other candidates in competitive races on both sides of the aisle received" and that "all those contributions were publicly reported."
"...and McCabe was the head of the FBI???"
: Andrew McCabe was not "head of the FBI" in 2015. Rather, he ran the bureau as acting director for nearly three months in 2017 -- long after the donations and his wife's defeat -- after Trump fired director James Comey.
McCabe spent most of 2015 as FBI assistant director in charge of the Washington field office. He became associate deputy director in September 2015
McCabe was promoted to deputy director in February 2016
. It was only then, after the donations and his wife's defeat, that he assumed a supervisory role on Clinton investigations.
"By the time McCabe became Deputy Director and assumed supervisory responsibilities for any Clinton-related matters, Dr. McCabe had already lost her election, and no developments in the Clinton-related matters could have any plausible impact on Dr. McCabe's financial interests," the inspector general wrote in 2018.
McCabe voluntarily recused himself from the FBI investigations into Clinton's email practices and the Clinton Foundation in November 2016, after an October 2016 Wall Street Journal article
about the donations. (The inspector general reported in 2018 that there were "a few instances" where he did not fully comply with this recusal.)
In a separate 2018 report
, the inspector general found
McCabe "lacked candor" in four instances when discussing, with Comey and with investigators, his role in providing information to the Wall Street Journal for a separate article
that discussed the Clinton Foundation investigation.
McCabe has disputed this conclusion, saying he never intentionally misled investigators or any FBI director. He declined to comment for this fact check.
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