AP FACT CHECK: Multiple missteps mark Trump, Clinton forum


WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump repeated a bevy of previous misstatements in a forum on national security issues, while his Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton continued to gloss over her lax treatment of classified information when she used a private email system as secretary of state. A look at some missteps in the candidates’ back-to-back appearances Wednesday night:

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TRUMP: “I happen to hear Hillary Clinton say that I was not against the war in Iraq. I was totally against the war in Iraq.”

THE FACTS: That statement is contradicted by an interview Trump did with Howard Stern in September 2002. He said then that he supported the invasion: “Yeah, I guess so.”

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TRUMP: Asked about the problem of sexual assault within the military, said, “We have to come down very, very hard on that. … And the best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military. Right now, the court system practically doesn’t exist.”

THE FACTS: The U.S. military already has an extensive justice system, one with roots in the U.S. Constitution. The individual branches of the military have their own police and investigative and prosecution services, and they enforce a set of laws known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Critics argue the military’s justice system has poorly served victims of sexual assault, but it’s not correct to say, as Trump did, that “nobody gets prosecuted.”

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CLINTON: “Classified material has a header which says, ‘Top Secret,’ ‘Secret,’ ‘Confidential.’ Nothing, and I will, I will repeat this, and this is verified in the reports by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header.”

THE FACTS: While Clinton is correct that none of the emails she sent or received contained headers indicating that information in them had been properly classified, that doesn’t absolve government employees under U.S. law from protecting information they know or should know was classified.

“Even if information is not marked classified in an email, participants who know, or should know, that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it,” FBI Director James Comey said on July 5, when he announced that the FBI was recommending against filing criminal charges after its investigation.

Comey said at least three emails included “(C)” markings showing that information within them was considered confidential classified information. Clinton told FBI agents that she did not know what those markings meant, according to notes the FBI released Sept. 2.

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TRUMP: “I mean, we’ve been badly hurt by Mexico, both on the border and with taking all of our jobs or a big percent of, of our jobs.”

THE FACTS: Trump exaggerates. The Congressional Research Service, echoing the views of many economists, concluded in a report last year that the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which opened trade with Mexico and Canada, had a “relatively small” impact on the U.S. economy.

It’s true that the U.S. has lost nearly 7 million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979. But economists widely believe that technology likely played a bigger role in job destruction. Machines allow companies to produce more with fewer workers. General Motors, for instance, employed 600,000 people in the 1960s. It has 215,000 employees now, yet makes more cars than ever.

To the extent that trade is to blame for job losses, the more likely culprit is China. American factories recorded rising job losses after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and got easier to access to foreign markets.

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TRUMP: Portraying President Barack Obama as on poor terms with foreign leaders and arguing that he’d do much better, said, “I think it’s very sad when he lands in Saudi Arabia and he – he lands in Cuba and there aren’t high officials to even greet him. This is the first time in the history – the storied history of Air Force One.”

THE FACTS: Far from “the first time in history,” it is routine for presidents to be greeted by a protocol chief or other low-level government official when arriving for foreign visits. Airport arrivals aren’t seen as a big deal, and it’s not expected that top leaders of the arrival country will be there.

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Associated Press writers Paul Wiseman, Terence Hunt and Ted Bridis contributed to this story.

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