The Specter of Authoritarianism

In this essay, I provide an analysis of the much-discussed authoritarian aspects of Donald Trump’s campaign and early administration. Drawing from both philosophical analyses of authoritarianism and recent work in social science, I focus on three elements of authoritarianism in particular: the authoritarian predispositions of Trump supporters, the scapegoating of racial minorities as a means of redirecting economic anxiety, and the administration’s strategic use of misinformation. While I offer no ultimate prediction as to whether a Trump administration will collapse into authoritarianism, I do identify key developments that would represent moves in that direction.

.. The unorthodox campaign and unexpected election of Donald Trump has ignited intense speculation about the possibility of an authoritarian turn in American politics. In some ways, this is not surprising. The divisive political climate in the United States is fertile soil for the demonization of political opponents. George W. Bush was regularly characterized as an authoritarian by his left opposition, as was Barack Obama by his own detractors. Yet in Trump’s case, echoes of earlier forms of authoritarianism, from his xenophobic brand of nationalism and reliance on a near mythological revisionist history, to his vilification of the press and seemingly strategic use of falsehoods, appear too numerous to ignore. In this essay, I attempt to provide a sober evaluation of the authoritarian prospects of a Trump administration.

.. I focus on three elements of authoritarianism in particular:

  1. the authoritarian predispositions of Trump supporters,
  2. the scapegoating of racial minorities as a means of redirecting economic anxiety, and
  3. the administration’s strategic use of misinformation.

.. the strategic use of misinformation plays a role in “activating” authoritarian predispositions.

.. my view is that identifying the most statistically significant predictor of supporting authoritarian regimes, or their single most salient causal factor, is less important than attaining a wide-ranging view of their central attributes, thus developing the outlines of a standard by which to judge the Trump and other administrations. Accordingly, while I offer no ultimate prediction as to whether a Trump administration will collapse into authoritarianism, I do identify key developments that would represent moves in that direction.

.. AUTHORITARIANISM AMONG TRUMP SUPPORTERS

If Trump is an authoritarian, then his is a populist authoritarianism, a form of rule in which “a strong, charismatic, manipulative leader rules through a coalition involving key lower-class groups” (Gasiorowski 2006, 111). Thus any study of Trump’s alleged authoritarianism cannot neglect the nature of his appeal to his core supporters, nor the fact that he was propelled to power by a groundswell of support that was largely unanticipated by the Republican establishment that ultimately – though with great initial reservation – nominated him as their party’s presidential candidate.

.. Fortunately, scholarship on authoritarianism has historically emphasized the importance of understanding its psychological appeal, and thereby focused on not just authoritarian rulers and governments themselves, but on their core supporters.

.. Adorno et al.’s study on The Authoritarian Personality (1950) provided the model for this sort of approach, and offers a more general definition of authoritarianism. Adorno et al. identified a number of personality traits that were correlated to

  • ethnocentrism,
  • anti-Semitism, and
  • “anti-democratic” attitudes.

.. Grounded in Freudian psychology, these researchers ultimately located support for authoritarian regimes and policies in childhood pathologies that resulted in rigid adherence to simplified worldviews, strict obedience to authority figures, and fear and distrust of those who do not share this same orientation to the world.

.. while this particular study has been criticized both for its reliance on empirically questionable Freudian presuppositions and for methodological errors (Stenner 2005; Hetherington and Weiler 2009; Christie and Jahoda 1954), the core idea of an authoritarian personality type remains influential, and continues to be developed and refined by social scientists.[2]

.. Matthew MacWilliams has recently utilized such a revised authoritarian personality measure to study Trump supporters, and claims as a result of his study that a predisposition to authoritarianism is the single most statistically significant predictor of support for Trump, more significant than

  • race,
  • income,
  • level of education, or
  • other commonly cited correlates (2016).

.. MacWillams used a serious of questions about childrearing that have been shown to capture not only active authoritarian views, but the predisposition to having such views “activated” by threat

.. MacWilliams’ results have been challenged by Wendy Rahn and Eric Oliver (2016), whose own research showed greater predispositions to authoritarianism among supporters of Ted Cruz than among Trump supporters.

..  claim that anti-elitist populism, manifested in distrust of experts and political elites is the more significant factor that distinguished Trump supporters from supporters of other Republican contenders. But even if Cruz was the preferred candidate of those predisposed to authoritarianism, their study still revealed high levels of authoritarianism in Trump supporters as well.

.. One might expect authoritarians to submit to the authority of political and other elites, but this misses the fact that authoritarians do not view all forms of authority equally. As MacWilliams puts it:

authoritarians’ sense of order is not necessarily or sole­ly defined by worldly powers. To authoritarians, there are higher powers that delineate right from wrong and good from evil. There are transcendent ways of behaving and being that are enduring, everlasting, and the root of balance and order. These authorities are “morally and ontologically superior” to state or institutional authority and must be obeyed. (2016, 14)

.. If the actions of social and political elites are viewed as being inconsistent with these higher sources of authority, if they are viewed as unconventional outsiders aiming to upend traditional values, and so on, there is no inconsistency in authoritarians resisting them or their claims to authority. This is precisely the reason that “populist authoritarianism” is not a contradiction in terms

.. the study of authoritarianism has historically been plagued by difficulties in disentangling it from conservative political ideologies.

.. one of the advantages of approaches that focus on child-rearing is that they are supposed to get behind ideological commitments and political beliefs.

.. “authoritarianism is a predisposition that arises causally prior to the political attitudes and behavior that it affects”

..  in order to understand the distinctiveness of a Trump presidency, we must look at the actions and ideologies of Trump himself, and of his campaign and administration, in addition to the psychological predispositions of his supporters.

.. With this in mind, I now turn to one such tendency of Trump’s governing strategy: the tendency toward racial scapegoating.

.. While MacWilliams presents authoritarianism as an alternative to explanations that focus specifically on race and the alleged racial resentment of many Trump supporters, it is clear that the two factors are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one of the key features of authoritarianism is its fear and suspicion of those who are different

.. helps especially to clarify how exactly populist authoritarian leaders manipulate “key lower class groups.” Trump’s campaign certainly employed this strategy, effectively playing upon the anxieties of the white working class regarding their perceived cultural marginalization in the face of the increasing racial diversity of the United States.

.. Yet analyses of Trump’s rise that focus specifically on racial resentment often neglect the economic dimension of Trump’s support among the white working classes.

..  geographical locations where Trump found the most support are areas where traditional sources of employment have been rendered obsolete or moved overseas, where free trade agreements like NAFTA are viewed with suspicion, and where the social effects of economic marginalization manifested in things like drug addiction have wreaked havoc

.. The economic marginalization of a subset of the white working class provides fertile ground for racial scapegoating

.. In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno aimed to show that German anti-Semitism was intentionally cultivated as a means of redirecting discontent arising from economic exploitation. In their words, German anti-Semitism served a specific purpose: “to conceal domination in production”

.. While European Jews had historically been excluded from ownership of major industries, they had, according to Horkheimer, Adorno, and other social theorists of the time including Hannah Arendt (1976), achieved some success integrating the “circulation sphere,” including what we would now call the financial sector, as well as small business ownership. This social position made the Jew an easy scapegoat for the most basic injustice of capitalism, the extraction of surplus value, i.e. profit, from the wage-laborer.

.. The exploitation that they attribute to the Jew is really a projection of their own exploitative nature, and in unleashing violence against these substitute exploiters, the masses feel a false sense of emancipation, while remaining within the established “reality principle” of capitalist exploitation.

.. Horkheimer and Adorno’s theory also describes the way that this form of scapegoating relied on what contemporary race theorists call “racialization” – the transformation of a social group into a racial group

.. Prior to the early twentieth century, and even in the earlier writings of critical theorists (Horkheimer 1989), the “Jewish question” was primarily considered to be a matter of cultural and religious difference.

.. German fascism understood Jewishness first and foremost in racial terms, thus distancing itself from the “liberal thesis” which held that “the Jews, free of national or racial features, form a group through religious belief and tradition and nothing else”

.. The Nuremburg Laws, for example, like the so-called “one drop rule” in the United States, included precise specifications of who was to count as a Jew, in order to eliminate any element of voluntary self-identification (or, perhaps more to the point, dis-identification). In this way, the group targeted for scapegoating is identified and fixed in a more or less stable form.

.. The key idea is simply that scapegoating occurs as a response to a real economic crisis, which results in political dissent of a sort that threatens the vested interests of those who hold economic power, which is then redirected toward vulnerable minority groups.

.. Scapegoating of this sort has certainly played some role in Trump’s rise to power. White working class communities that have experienced

  • the loss of low-skill manufacturing jobs,
  • decreasing tax revenue,
  • crumbling infrastructure, and
  • general social anomie have proven incredibly

responsive to explanations that link these phenomena to the (perceived) influx of immigrants from the south. 

.. Growing white anxiety about misleading reports that whites will soon become a minority in the United States due to increased immigration from non-European nations compounds these economic fears

.. This shows that it is not immigration per se that worries Trump supporters, but a racialized immigration that challenges white control over power and resources.

.. Authoritarian predispositions are “activated” by threat, and scapegoating represents targeted groups as both economic and existential threats. Mexicans not only threaten “our” jobs, but are also represented as murderers, rapists and all around “bad hombres,” responsible for (fictional) increases in crime and disorder.

.. Their perceived threat to law and order is surpassed only by those from the Arab world, who are equated with terrorism and “radical Islam.” Such threats must be rooted out by any means necessary, and so racial profiling and increasingly invasive police practices are tolerated within our borders, and broadly restrictive immigration measures, physical barriers, and other imprecise responses are promoted as a means of fortifying them.

.. While it is true that these forms of scapegoating target minority identities that are not technically racial (at least not by the United States’ own official system of racial classification[5]), there is a gap between “official” and popular understandings of race when it comes to Arabic Muslims and “Hispanic” groups. For example, the myriad reports of impending white minority almost always focus on non-Hispanic whites as the relevant demographic for measuring

.. And even if Trump supporters’ aversions to Arabs or Muslims appear to be primarily cultural or religious aversions, the rarity of distinguishing between culture, region, and religion in the discourses surrounding immigration from the Middle East demonstrate the increasing racialization of this group

.. that Hispanics and Arabs are commonly thought of as being racially distinct from non-Hispanic, non-Arab whites.

.. As tools like the Census are integral to defining and categorizing populations as “racial,” it will be interesting to see how a Trump administration approaches the 2020 Census, and in particular whether some effort is made to distinguish Arabs and Middle-Eastern populations from “whites.”

.. Finally, new research suggests that it is not just economic marginalization, but economic inequality in general that contributes to authoritarian attitudes, which in turn make their possessors amenable to racial scapegoating. The “relative power” theory of Frederick Solt holds that economic inequality leads to inequality in power and thereby produces hierarchy. This hierarchy in turn “mak[es] experiences that reinforce vertical notions of authority more common and so authoritarianism more widespread”

..  if the economic structure of a society requires or rewards submission to the authority of employers, benefactors, and those with more economic power, this sort of subservience is likely to be seen as normal, and thereby transferred to the sphere of political (or familial) authority, where it can be exploited to support xenophobic policies that purport to address complex social and economic issues.

.. societies with a high degree of economic inequality will produce heightened levels of authoritarian predispositions, and that these heightened authoritarian predispositions are more easily activated in times of economic or political crisis

.. Given that capitalism is prone to both extreme inequality and frequent crisis, it is fair to say that it will reliably produce such authoritarian attitudes, especially in those that become economically marginalized. Scapegoating will thus appear as an easy solution to any legitimation crisis that might arise. 

.. A final, much discussed feature of Trump’s alleged authoritarianism is his seeming indifference to truth.

.. Trump is by no means the first politician to employ a strategy of deceit and falsehood. But generally, politicians lie through omission, or in ways that can be easily retracted or reinterpreted.

.. Trump’s cavalier and easily repudiated use of falsehoods regarding matters large and small has struck many observers as unique.

.. Arendt claims that authoritarian regimes are marked by their “extreme contempt for facts

.. “the chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error”

.. Yet the authoritarian orientation to the truth is misunderstood, she claims, if it is viewed as an attempt at factual accuracy. Rather, the “propaganda effect” of such pronunciations consists in their “habit of announcing their political intentions in the form of prophesy

.. Once authoritarian rulers attain power, “all debate about the truth or falsity of a … prediction is as weird as arguing with a potential murderer about whether his future victim is dead or alive”

.. The baseless claim that three-to-five million undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the general election, for example, was taken by some as “telegraphing his administration’s intent to provide cover for longstanding efforts by Republicans to suppress minority voters by purging voting rolls, imposing onerous identification requirements and curtailing early voting”

.. Trump also claimed that the U.S. murder rate was at a 47 year high when it was actually at a 45 year low, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeated similarly false claims about increasing crime rates

.. these claims serve both to shore up obedience in general and to signal an intent to “get tough” on crime, continuing the legacy of criminalization that undergirds the repression of minority groups

.. But perhaps most troubling, and less discussed, are the claims that look more like “prophesy” than assertion. For example, when a federal judge issued a stay on his Executive Order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Trump tweeted “just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” (Trump 2017). While the claim that people were “pouring in” could be disputed on factual grounds, the more important aspect of this message is found in its prophetic character, and the precedent it sets for blaming the judiciary for any future attack that might occur. Given the high likelihood of some act of terrorism occurring at some point in Trump’s presidency, this message sets the groundwork for consolidating power in a truly authoritarian fashion.

.. public approval ratings of Congress remain at historic lows. This demonstrates a lack of faith in the effectiveness of the legislative branch of government. If faith in the judiciary were similarly undermined, the stage would be set for reigning in its powers, and undermining the system of checks and balances designed to prevent autocracy.

.. One might identify as key features of authoritarianism (as a political system, as opposed to a psychological predisposition)

  1. the consolidation of executive power,
  2. the elimination of effective checks on that power from legislatures,
  3. judiciaries, and
  4. the press,
  5. repression of opposition parties, and
  6. repression of political opposition more broadly.

.. Trump’s early administration does not seem to have consolidated power or repressed dissent in this way. To the contrary, his actions appear to have produced levels of dissent, protest, and pushback, from citizens, from the media, from opposing political parties, and in some cases even from the Republican Party itself, not seen in the United States in some time. Perhaps this indicates that worries about Trump ushering in an era of authoritarian repression and control are exaggerated.

.. It does seem unlikely that a Trump administration will succeed in outlawing the Democratic Party, disbanding Congress, or replacing independent journalism with state-sponsored channels of propaganda. For this reason, it seems premature to declare the Trump administration definitively authoritarian. However, it is equally unwise to ignore Trump’s clear pretensions to authoritarianism: his disdain for judges and legislators alike, his attempts to delegitimize protest and resistance with conspiratorial fantasies of shadowy puppet masters, paid operatives, and terrorist infiltrators, and his attempts to exclude certain news media from White House press briefings, to bypass journalistic channels entirely, communicating with the public through Twitter, and to create his own news organization. If some of Trump’s intentions and preferred methods of rule are indeed authoritarian, this is reason enough to pay close attention to changes in the political environment that might create possibilities to introduce such methods.

.. For example, Trump has already flirted with the dangerous possibility of simply disregarding judicial review of his policies. When the first federal judges issued a temporary stay on Trump’s January 27th travel ban, the Department of Homeland Security originally announced its intention to continue to enforce the provisions of the order in spite of the early rulings. Thankfully, the administration changed course as public outrage grew and additional decisions reinforced and expanded the initial rulings.

.. But it is easy to imagine that if public opinion turned against the judiciary (perhaps as a result of acts of terrorism as prophesied by Trump’s tweet), such a strategy of disregard might appear more feasible to Trump’s administration.

.. A major terrorist attack on the United States would also provide a convenient premise for expanding executive power and restricting the constitutional rights of citizens, following precedents set in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

.. Authoritarian regimes appeal to the authoritarian inclinations of their supporters, and such inclinations do appear to be present at significant levels among Trump’s supporters. These inclinations make Trump supporters amenable to policies and explanations that scapegoat vulnerable racial minorities (as well as contribute to the “racialization” of groups that were previously not thought to be racially distinct), and that redirect attention away from the structural economic causes of their increasing marginalization.

.. And finally, Trump’s strategic use of falsehoods points to their “prophetic” character as predictions rather than truth claims, intended to construct ideological grounds for rationalizing future actions, as Arendt describes. Citizens and political analysts alike should continue to monitor these elements of the Trump administration, and to guard against their expanded use and exploitation.

Why Trump Supporters Don’t Mind His Lies

In his first 400 days in office, President Trump made more than 2,400 false or misleading claims, according to The Washington Post. Yet a recent Gallup poll shows his approval ratings among Republicans at 82 percent. How do we square these two facts?

  1. Some supporters no doubt believe many of the falsehoods.
  2. Others may recognize the claims as falsehoods but tolerate them as a side effect of an off-the-cuff rhetorical style they admire.
  3. Or perhaps they have become desensitized to the dishonesty by the sheer volume of it.

I suspect that there is an additional, underappreciated explanation for why Mr. Trump’s falsehoods have not generated more outrage among his supporters. Wittingly or not, Mr. Trump’s representatives have used a subtle psychological strategy to defend his falsehoods: They encourage people to reflect on how the falsehoods could have been true.

New research of mine suggests that this strategy can convince supporters that it’s not all that unethical for a political leader to tell a falsehood — even though the supporters are fully aware the claim is false.

  1. When President Trump retweeted a video falsely purporting to show a Muslim migrant committing assault, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, defended him by saying, “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real.”
  2. On another occasion, Ms. Sanders admitted that Mr. Trump had made up a story about how Japan drops bowling balls on American cars to test their safety, but she argued that the story still “illustrates the creative ways some countries are able to keep American goods out of their markets.”
  3. When asked about the false claim that Mr. Trump’s inauguration had drawn the biggest inaugural crowd in history, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested that inclement weather had kept people away.

In each instance, rather than insisting the falsehood was true, Ms. Sanders and Ms. Conway implied it could have been true. Logically speaking, the claim that more people could have attended the president’s inauguration in nicer weather does not make the crowd any bigger. But psychologically, it may make the falsehood seem closer to the truth and thus less unethical to tell.

.. Some claims, like the falsehood about the inauguration crowd, appealed to Mr. Trump’s supporters, and some appealed to his opponents: for instance, a false report (which circulated widely on the internet) that Mr. Trump had removed a bust of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office.

.. All the participants were asked to rate how unethical it was to tell the falsehoods. But half the participants were first invited to imagine how the falsehood could have been true if circumstances had been different. For example, they were asked to consider whether the inauguration would have been bigger if the weather had been nicer, or whether Mr. Trump would have removed the bust if he could have gotten away with it.

.. reflecting on how a falsehood could have been true did cause people to rate it as less unethical to tell — but only when the falsehoods seemed to confirm their political views. Trump supporters and opponents both showed this effect.

.. Again, the problem wasn’t that people confused fact and fiction; virtually everyone recognized the claims as false. But when a falsehood resonated with people’s politics, asking them to imagine counterfactual situations in which it could have been true softened their moral judgments. A little imagination can apparently make a lie feel “truthy” enough to give the liar a bit of a pass.

These results reveal a subtle hypocrisy in how we maintain our political views. We use different standards of honesty to judge falsehoods we find politically appealing versus unappealing. When judging a falsehood that maligns a favored politician, we ask, “Was it true?” and then condemn it if the answer is no.

.. In contrast, when judging a falsehood that makes a favored politician look good, we are willing to ask, “Could it have been true?” and then weaken our condemnation if we can imagine the answer is yes.

.. In this time of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” commentators worry that people with different political orientations base their judgments of right and wrong on entirely different perceptions of reality. My research suggests an additional concern: Even when partisans agree on the facts, they can come to different moral conclusions about the dishonesty of deviating from those facts. The result is more disagreement in an already politically polarized world.

The president’s misleading statements on Trump Tower Moscow: A timeline

“Well I told you, General Flynn obviously was dealing [with Russia]. So that’s one person. But he was dealing, as he should have been. . . . Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

— President Trump, in a news conference, on Feb. 16, 2017

 

Trump announced he was running for president in June 2015. He spent the next several months on the campaign trail in advance of the Iowa caucuses in February 2016.

At the same time, Cohen was working toward a deal that would license Trump’s name to a skyscraper in Moscow. According to court documents, Cohen updated Trump and Trump’s family on the project more than three times between September 2015 and June 2016, but it is not clear exactly when these briefings took place. The timeline below outlines how the campaign and the Moscow project intersected.

.. According to The Washington Post, “an unidentified investor planned to build the project and, under a licensing agreement, put Trump’s name on it.” Sater believed that, with Trump’s publicity from the campaign, it would be perfect timing. He began to contact former contacts in Russia and put together a licensing deal for the Moscow project fairly quickly.

Oct. 28: Trump personally signed the letter of intent for the Moscow project. This was the same day as the third Republican debate.

.. Jan. 14-16, 2016: Cohen emailed Dmitry Peskov, a top aide and spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, to enlist his help “to secure land and permits,” according to documents submitted to Congress.

.. Jan. 20: Cohen heard back from Peskov’s office and spoke with his assistant for 20 minutes. During that call, according to court documents, Cohen outlined the Moscow project and asked for assistance to move it forward. Cohen initially told Congress that he had never heard back from Peskov. Peskov corroborated this false claim in August 2017when he said he had received an email but “left it unanswered.” (After Cohen’s new admission, Peskov displayed the emails to reporters and confirmed that Russian officials contacted Cohen by phone.)

.. “Michael had a lengthy substantive conversation with the personal assistant to a Kremlin official following his outreach in January 2016, engaged in additional communications concerning the project as late as June 2016, and kept [Trump] apprised of these communications,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed by Cohen’s team.

On Feb. 1, Trump finishes second in the Iowa caucuses.

.. Spring 2016: “[Cohen] and [Trump] also discussed possible travel to Russia in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel,” according to the memorandum filed by Cohen’s team. Cohen also discussed this “potential business travel to Russia” with a senior campaign officialaccording to court documents.

.. On May 3, Trump becomes the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party after Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Trump’s remaining challengers, withdraw from the contest.

.. May 4-6: Cohen and Sater discuss the possibility of a trip to Russia that would include Trump. They debate whether it would be better for him to visit before or after the Republican National Convention in July. On May 5, Sater relays a message that a Russian official would like to invite Cohen to the “Davos of Russia” in June where he would be introduced to Putin and/or Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Cohen agrees to the trip. According to the sentencing memorandum filed by Cohen’s team, he continued to update Trump through June.

.. May 21: Then-advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos suggest to the campaign that Trump travel to Russia. Papadopoulos forwards a May 4 email exchange to newly minted campaign chairman Paul Manafort, saying, “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite some time and have been reaching out to me to discuss.” Manafort then forwards this email to his deputy, Rick Gates, writing, “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.” Gates agreed and passed the exchange along to “the person responding to all mail of non-importance,” aiming to avoid a response from a senior official.

.. June 3: Rob Goldstone, a music publicist, emails Donald Trump Jr., offering “very high level and sensitive information” that could “incriminate Hillary” and is part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Goldstone represents Emin Agalarov, whose father is a major real estate developer close to Putin. Agalarov asks Goldstone to pass this along for his father, who was offered the information by the “Crown prosecutor of Russia.” Trump Jr. promptly responds: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

June 7: Trump promises a “major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”

June 9: Trump Jr., Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others at Trump Tower. At least eight people attend this meeting, including two other Russian associates. Since the meeting was first reported, reports have surfaced that Veselnitskaya may have been working on behalf of the Kremlin at that time.

June 7: Trump promises a “major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”

June 9-14: Sater tried to contact Cohen to confirm his upcoming trip to Russia. Court documents say Sater sent “multiple messages” to Cohen and “included forms” for him to complete.

On June 14, The Washington Post reveals the Democratic National Committee had been hacked. The following day, the DNC and CrowdStrike, the firm hired by the DNC to investigate the hack, said, “Two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016.”

June 14: Cohen met Sater in the lobby of Trump Tower to inform him that he would not “be traveling at [that] time.” Cohen had initially agreed to a trip to St. Petersburg in June.

June 15: Trump releases a statement: “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader. Too bad the DNC doesn’t hack Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails.”

On July 21, Trump officially becomes the Republican nominee for president. The next day, WikiLeaks releases nearly 20,000 DNC emails obtained through Russian hacking operations. U.S. officials have said Russian intelligence used intermediaries to give the email cache to WikiLeaks.

.. July 21-27: In several television appearances, tweets and a news conference, Trump and his campaign officials deny any connections to Russia, despite previous and ongoing meetings and communications.

  • July 24: “Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?” George Stephanopoulos asked Manafort on ABC News’s “This Week.”“No, there are not,” Manafort says. “It’s absurd, and there’s no basis to it.”
  • July 24: In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jake Tapper asked Trump Jr. about the suggestion that Russians had hacked the DNC network to help Trump and hurt Clinton. Trump Jr. calls the claims “lies.”
  • July 25: Trump responds: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”
  • July 26: Trump tweeted For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.
  • July 27: Trump said, “What do I have to do with Russia? You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach.”

.. Sater told BuzzFeed that after Trump’s July 26 tweet, he knew the deal was off.

Oct. 9: During the second debate with Clinton, Trump says: “I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.”

Oct. 26: During a campaign rally in Kinston, N.C., Trump declares: “First of all, I don’t know Putin, have no business whatsoever with Russia, have nothing to do with Russia.”

.. Jan. 11, 2017: Trump tweets: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” In a news conference that day, Trump says: “I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia.”

May 11: In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, Trump says: “I am not involved in Russia. No loans. No nothing.

Aug. 27: The Washington Post reports for the first time that when Trump was running for president, his company pursued a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow.

.. Nov. 29, 2018: After the announcement of Cohen’s guilty plea, Trump tells reporters: “He’s lying about a project that everybody knew about. I mean, we were very open with it. … This deal was a very public deal. Everybody knows about this deal. I wasn’t trying to hide anything.”

That’s false because it was not disclosed until The Washington Post report in August 2017, almost one year after the election.

.. Dec. 2: Reporters from the Associated Press asked Trump about his relationship with Sater. Trump said, “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not familiar with him.”

Comments:

M Bovary

Of all the lies this man tells, this is a whopper and so easily disproved. Sater had an office in Trump tower and traveled with Trump on his private jet to various meetings.

Trump thinks the rest of the world is stupid.

.. 8767dghy

Trump was born with every economic advantage in the world and could have chosen to have a multitude of honest careers. He, however, made the deliberate choice to earn his living by conning and frauding *marks*.  This fact speaks volumes about type of person he is.
..  So Tired of Winning

Trump may have not been aware that, after being convicted of money laundering, Sater became an FBI informant. I doubt Sater stopped being FBI informant as soon as he got involved with Trump tower in Moscow. Sater could have been the primary source of the scoop on Trump and Cohen that led to the raid on Cohen’s office last spring.
.. msmcdougal

From the date he announced thru 6/14/16, he was actively pursuing his Russian project behind the scenes, and at the same time he was going unusually easy on Putin.  As a result of the 6/15/16 WP article, he decided he had to stop actively pursuing the project while he
1. made sure he won the nomination; and
2. saw if he was going to win the election.
He never told Russia he was no longer interested; in essence, he put it on pause.  In the meantime, he had the platform softened and continued to talk nicey nice about Putin, no doubt because he felt if he lost the election he would get back to this project.  At the same time, he minimized his connection with Russia, using terms like, “I have no deals with Russia,” technically true but in reality totally misleading.  He also, through his underlings like Flynn, made sure Putin knew that he was a friend if he got elected and he accepted Russia’s help in getting him elected. He was compromised, not necessarily by what Putin had on him, but what he wanted to try to do in Washington or Moscow.  He owed this disclosure to the American voters both during the primaries and in the general.  He is a traitor.
.. exlrrp
He is indeed a traitor and proved it when he begged Russia to hack Hillary’s emails. The most treasonous quote in American history:
“Russia…..if your listening……I hope you can find Hillary’s emails….that will be next….”
And guess what? The hacking of her emails started THAT day!!. Now how did traitor trump know it was coming if the Russians  didnt tell him, directly or indirectly?
.. msmcdougal
My take is that at the June 6, 2016 trump Tower meeting, the framework of
  • how Russia could help,
  • how that help would come and
  • how the communication of asking for and getting that help would work was laid out. 

The actual info trump had hoped for and had hinted at did not come then, but it was not the nothingburger that liars trump, Junior, Manafort, and Jared said it was.  And before we forget, Cohen has already said trump was told in advance about that meeting.

.. KTA-France
His whole presidency is about trying to build his “brand” and leverage the position of president, with future real estate deals. Who knows what his sons are doing, what they are promising now as we speak. The Russia deal is just the most obvious of projects/deals he tried to push forward while using his leverage in the WH. Who really knows what else is out there? This has been his whole life… the way he did business. Why would he change now?
.. Graybeardscientist
As Obama said of Trump to them (as per my imperfect memory, referring to flyover state citizens):

“For years he’s been ignoring you as he flies over your heads in his gold plated jet.  What makes you think he’s going to start caring about you now?”

.. LifeInBananaRepublic
You missed Kushner’s proposal to Sergey Kislyak to set up a secret and secure back channel to Russia in the Russian embassy.

Trump’s Lies: A Collection by David Leonhardt

Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office. Updated: The president is still lying, so we’ve added to this list, taking it through Nov. 11, and provided links to the facts in each case.

JAN. 21 “I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)  JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)  JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There’s no evidence of illegal voting.)  JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama’s 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)  JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)  JAN. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)  JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)  JAN. 26 “We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can’t.”(Vetting lasts up to two years.)  JAN. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn’t like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane’s going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.)  JAN. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the Times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.)  JAN. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.)  JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)  FEB. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)  FEB. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.)  FEB. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.)  FEB. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.)  FEB. 6 “It’s gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)  FEB. 6 “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!” (It didn’t apologize.)  FEB. 6 “And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but we shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (The group’s origins date to 2004.)  FEB. 7 “And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.” (It was higher in the 1980s and ’90s.)  FEB. 7 “I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35.” (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.)  FEB. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo’s first question.)  FEB. 9 “Sen. Richard Blumenthal now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)  FEB. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn’s actions for weeks.)  FEB. 12 “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.)  FEB. 16 “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.)  FEB. 16 “That’s the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports.” (Delta’s problems happened two days later.)  FEB. 16 “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.”(The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in Oct. 2016.)  FEB. 16 “When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.” (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.)  FEB. 16 “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.)  FEB. 16 “They’re giving stuff — what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.” (It was widely covered.)  FEB. 18 “And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.)  FEB. 18 “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.)  FEB. 24 “By the way, you folks are in here — this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no evidence of long lines.)  FEB. 24 “ICE came and endorsed me.” (Only its union did.)  FEB. 24 “Obamacare covers very few people — and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them — it was taken away from them.” (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.)  FEB. 27 “Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.)  FEB. 27 “On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use.” (Much of the price cut was already projected.)  FEB. 28 “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.)  FEB. 28 “The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (There’s no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.)  FEB. 28 “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials.” (They can’t lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.)  MARCH 3 “It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.” (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not submitted to the Senate.)  MARCH 4 “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (There’s no evidence of a wiretap.)  MARCH 4 “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” (There’s no evidence of a wiretap.)  MARCH 7 “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” (113 of them were released by President George W. Bush.)  MARCH 13 “I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn’t I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)  MARCH 13 “First of all, it covers very few people.” (About 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare.)  MARCH 15 “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)  MARCH 17 “I was in Tennessee — I was just telling the folks — and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company.” (There’s at least one insurer in every Tennessee county.)  MARCH 20 “With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)  MARCH 21 “To save taxpayer dollars, I’ve already begun negotiating better contracts for the federal government — saving over $700 million on just one set of airplanes of which there are many sets.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)  MARCH 22 “I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.” (Riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.)  MARCH 22 “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that.” (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.)  MARCH 22 “Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong — in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.” (There’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.)  MARCH 29 “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” (It didn’t apologize.)  MARCH 31 “We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that were never going to be there if I — if I didn’t win this election, those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone.” (These investments were already planned.)  APRIL 2 “And I was totally opposed to the war in the Middle East which I think finally has been proven, people tried very hard to say I wasn’t but you’ve seen that it is now improving.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)  APRIL 2 “Now, my last tweet — you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps — was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.” (There is still no evidence.)  APRIL 5 “You have many states coming up where they’re going to have no insurance company. O.K.? It’s already happened in Tennessee. It’s happening in Kentucky. Tennessee only has half coverage. Half the state is gone. They left.” (Every marketplace region in Tennessee had at least one insurer.)  APRIL 6 “If you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment — saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars — I think we’ve had a tremendous success.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)  APRIL 11 “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.” (He knew Steve Bannon since 2011.)  APRIL 12 “You can’t do it faster, because they’re obstructing. They’re obstructionists. So I have people — hundreds of people that we’re trying to get through. I mean you have — you see the backlog. We can’t get them through.” (At this point, he had not nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.)  APRIL 12 “The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.” (There were separate headlines for print and web, but neither were altered.)  APRIL 12 “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism.” (NATO has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts since the 1980s.)  APRIL 12 “Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.” (The campaign was expected to take months.)  APRIL 16 “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” (There’s no evidence of paid protesters.)  APRIL 18 “The fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump changed his stance on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance.” (He did.)  APRIL 21 “On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It’s actually a little bit more than that, but it’s $725 million.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)  APRIL 21 “When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.)  APRIL 27 “I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare.” (The bill to extend health benefits for certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored by mostly Democrats.)  APRIL 28 “The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.” (The U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.)  APRIL 28 “She’s running against someone who’s going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he’s for open borders — lots of crime.” (Those are not Jon Ossoff’s positions.)  APRIL 28 “The F-35 fighter jet program — it was way over budget. I’ve saved $725 million plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)  APRIL 29 “As you know, I’ve been a big critic of China, and I’ve been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)  APRIL 29 “I’ve already saved more than $725 million on a simple order of F-35 planes. I got involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)  APRIL 29 “We’re also getting NATO countries to finally step up and contribute their fair share. They’ve begun to increase their contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be satisfied until everyone pays what they owe.” (The deal was struck in 2014.)  APRIL 29 “When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they — as soon as I got elected, they stopped.” (China stopped in 2014.)  APRIL 29 “I was negotiating to reduce the price of the big fighter jet contract, the F-35, which was totally out of control. I will save billions and billions and billions of dollars.” (Most of the cuts were planned before Trump.)  APRIL 29 “I think our side’s been proven very strongly. And everybody’s talking about it.” (There’s still no evidence Trump’s phones were tapped.)  MAY 1 “Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it’ll be every good — bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.” (The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.)  MAY 1 “The F-35 fighter jet — I saved — I got involved in the negotiation. It’s 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10. I got $725 million off the price.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)  MAY 1 “First of all, since I started running, they haven’t increased their — you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign.” (China stopped years ago.)  MAY 2 “I love buying those planes at a reduced price. I have been really — I have cut billions — I have to tell you this, and they can check, right, Martha? I have cut billions and billions of dollars off plane contracts sitting here.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)  MAY 4 “Number two, they’re actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)  MAY 4 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  MAY 4 “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters.” (Polls show most Americans do care.)  MAY 8 “You know we’ve gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than we’re getting. All because of me.” (The deal was struck in 2014.)  MAY 8 “But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high — highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.” (Colbert’s Late Show debut had nearly two million more viewers.)  MAY 8 “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows — there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” (Clapper only said he wasn’t aware of an investigation.)  MAY 12 “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.” (The F.B.I. was investigating before the election.)  MAY 12 “When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” (Clapper said he wouldn’t have been told of an investigation into collusion.)  MAY 13 “I’m cutting the price of airplanes with Lockheed.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)  MAY 26 “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” (He’s referencing an arms deal that’s not enacted and other apparent deals that weren’t announced on the trip.)  JUNE 1 “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.” (The agreement doesn’t allow or disallow building coal plants.)  JUNE 1 “I’ve just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.”(Trump’s figures are inflated and premature.)  JUNE 4 “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”(The mayor was specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the streets.)  JUNE 5 “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not the Justice Department.)  JUNE 20 “Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O!” (Republicans have won four special elections this year, while a Democrat won one.)  JUNE 21 “They all say it’s ‘nonbinding.’ Like hell it’s nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding — and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)  JUNE 21 “Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” (We’re not.)  JUNE 21 “You have a gang called MS-13. … We are moving them out of the country by the thousands, by the thousands.” (The real number of gang members deported is smaller.)  JUNE 21 “Your insurance companies have all fled the state of Iowa.” (They haven’t.)  JUNE 21 “If [farmers] have a puddle in the middle of their field … it’s considered a lake and you can’t touch it. … We got rid of that one, too, O.K.?” (The Obama environmental rule to limit pollution in the country’s waters explicitly excludes puddles.)  JUNE 21 “Gary Cohn just paid $200 million in tax in order to take this job, by the way.” (Cohn sold Goldman Sachs stock worth $220 million.)  JUNE 21 “We’re 5 and 0.” (Republicans have won four special elections this year, while a Democrat won one.)  JUNE 21 “Last week a brand-new coal mine just opened in the state of Pennsylvania, first time in decades, decades.” (Another coal mine opened in 2014.)  JUNE 22 “Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia.” (Johnson, who had a different title, didn’t say that.)  JUNE 23 “We are 5 and 0 … in these special elections.”(Republicans have won four special elections this year, while a Democrat won one.)  JUNE 27 “Ratings way down!” (CNN’s ratings were at a five-year high at the time.)  JUNE 28 “Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill — actually goes up.” (Senate bill would have cut the program deeply.)  JUNE 29 “General Kelly and his whole group — they’ve gotten rid of 6,000 so far.” (The real number of MS-13 gang members who have been deported is smaller.)  JULY 6 “As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.)  JULY 17 “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever.” (Clinton, Carter, Truman, and F.D.R. had signed more at the same point.)  JULY 19 “Um, the Russian investigation — it’s not an investigation, it’s not on me — you know, they’re looking at a lot of things.” (It is.)  JULY 19 “I heard that Harry Truman was first, and then we beat him. These are approved by Congress. These are not just executive orders.” (Presidents Clinton, Carter, Truman, and F.D.R. each had signed more legislation than Trump at the same point in their terms.)  JULY 19 “But the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting.” (He reports directly to the attorney general.)  JULY 19 “She did the uranium deal, which is a horrible thing, while she was secretary of state, and got a lot of money.” (There’s no evidence Hillary Clinton was actively involved or benefited from the deal.)  JULY 24 “It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today.” (Many fewer than 45,000 were there, and the attendance was not a record.)  JULY 25 “We have the highest taxes anywhere in the world, and this will really bring them down to one of the lowest.” (Tax rates in the United States are below average, overall and for an industrialized country.)  JULY 25 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world” (We’re not.)  JULY 25 “We have nearly doubled the number of veterans given approvals to see the doctor of their choice.” (The increase was 26 percent.)  JULY 25 “Since I took office we have cut illegal immigration on our southern border by record numbers. 78 percent.” (The decline began before Trump’s inauguration.)  JULY 28 “The previous administration enacted an open-door policy to illegal migrants from Central America. “Welcome in. Come in, please, please.” (Obama deported millions.)  JULY 28 “We have trade deficits with almost every country because we had a lot of really bad negotiators making deals with other countries.” (The U.S. has a trade surplus with more than 100 countries.)  JULY 31 “2.6 is a number that nobody thought they’d see for a long period of time.” (Many experts predicted economic growth at least this high.)  JULY 31 “And even the President of Mexico called me – they said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.” (Mexico’s president says he didn’t call Trump.)  AUG. 1 “And I think to me, maybe the biggest is that GDP for the quarter just released at 2.6 percent. So that’s so much higher than anticipated.” (It wasn’t.)  AUG. 3 “Economic growth has surged to 2.6% nationwide. You have to understand what that means. Nobody thought that number was going to happen.”(Many experts predicted that.)  AUG. 3 “The Russia story is a total fabrication.” (It’s not.)  AUG. 3 “Or let them look at the uranium she sold that is now in the hands of very angry Russians.” (There’s no evidence Hillary Clinton was actively involved in the sale.)  AUG. 15 “We want products made in the country. Now, I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside.” (People resigned from Trump’s business councils over his Charlottesville comments.)  AUG. 22 “Remember, everybody said you won’t bring it up to 1 percent. You won’t bring it up to 1.2 percent.” (Many experts predicted economic growth at least this high.)  AUG. 22 “I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories. They have no sources in many cases. They say ‘a source says’ – there is no such thing.” (The media does not make up sources.)  AUG. 22 “As everybody here remembers, this was the scene of my first rally speech, right?” (Trump’s first rally was in New Hampshire)  AUG. 22 “We have become an energy exporter for the first time ever just recently.” (The U.S. isn’t projected to become a net energy exporter until 2026.)  AUG. 22 “Look back there, the live red lights. They’re turning those suckers off fast out there. They’re turning those lights off fast. Like CNN.” (CNN didn’t turn off its cameras.)  SEPT. 6 “The taxes are crazy – the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  SEPT. 6 “We are the highest taxed nation in the world – that will change.” (We’re not.)  SEPT. 8 “Our incredible U.S. Coast Guard saved more than 15,000 lives last week with Harvey.” (The real number is 11,022.)  SEPT. 14 “Also with the fact that I know in the case of FEMA and the case of Coast Guard, the job you’ve done in saving people, saving lives. As an example, in Harvey in Texas, we talked – over 16,000 lives.” (The real number is smaller.)  SEPT. 14 “And in Florida you got hit with the strongest winds ever recorded.” (They weren’t the strongest ever recorded.)  SEPT. 22 “We’ve been dealing with ICE, we’ve been dealing with the Border Patrol. They both endorsed me.” (Neither agency endorsed him; only their unions did.)  SEPT. 22 “So he started off here, he was in third or fourth, he went to third, second, and now it’s like almost pretty even.” (Strange consistently polled first or second in the Alabama Republican primary.)  SEPT. 29 “With the F-35 fighter plane – me, myself – I’ve saved hundreds of millions of dollars in negotiating.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)  SEPT. 27 “I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me.” (All available evidence suggests he would benefit.)  SEPT. 27 “To protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer, we are finally ending the crushing, the horrible, the unfair estate tax.” (The real number of small businesses and farmers is vastly smaller.)  SEPT. 27 “No, I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit. In fact, very very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.” (The tax plan would personally benefit Trump and other wealthy individuals.)  SEPT. 27 “Facebook was always anti-Trump.The Networks were always anti-Trump hence,Fake News, @nytimes(apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump.” (The Times did not apologize for its Trump coverage.)  SEPT. 28 “I mean right now, we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 3 “But the Coast Guard itself saved in Texas 16,000 lives, and they went right through that hurricane.” (The real number is smaller.)  OCT. 3 “But that’s an expensive plane that you can’t see. And as you probably heard, we cut the price very substantially – something that other administrations would never have done, that I can tell you.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)  OCT. 6 “I was able to reduce the price of the Lockheed by billions of dollars.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)  OCT. 6 “We’re the highest-taxed developed nation in the world, probably the highest-taxed nation in the world.”(We’re not.)  OCT. 6 “They also just said that there has been absolutely no collusion. They just said that. Yesterday. Two days ago. Senate. There has been no collusion.” (The Senate didn’t say that.)  OCT. 6 “This tax cut and tax reform is going very well, and it’s going to be a tremendous boost for our country, including the fact that we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 7 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 7 “The Coast Guard, in Texas, and all over, but with the job they did in Texas, I saw, they saved 16,000 lives.” (The real number is smaller.)  OCT. 7 “Obama should have never gotten out the way he got out. That’s how ISIS formed.” (The group’s origins date to 2004.)  OCT. 10 “The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!” (Corker asked the Times reporter to record the call; his aides recorded it too.)  OCT. 10 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 11 “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air. Ninety seven per cent of the time. If you send two of them, it’s going to get knocked out.” (The effectiveness rate is about 60 percent.)  OCT. 16 “We’re the highest-taxed country in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 16 “I hear that Ireland is going to be reducing their corporate rates down to 8 percent from 12.” (Ireland has no plans to cut its tax rate.)  OCT. 16 “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls.” (They did call families of soldiers killed in action.)  OCT. 16 “All I can say is it’s totally fake news, just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful what happens, but that happens in the world of politics.” (Trump himself has bragged about groping women.)  OCT. 17 “We’re the highest taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 17 “Right now, we are the highest-taxed nation anywhere in the world. You can even say developed or undeveloped.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 17 “As far as I’m concerned, I think we’re really essentially the highest. But if you’d like to add the developed nation, you can say that, too.” (Taxes in the U.S. are lower than in most developed countries.)  OCT. 17 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. We are taxed beyond belief.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 17 “Well, we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)  OCT. 17 “I wish President Obama didn’t get out the way he got out. Because that left a vacuum and ISIS was formed.” (The group’s origins date to 2004.)  OCT. 18 “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof).” (The wife confirmed Representative Frederica Wilson’s account.)  OCT. 18 “The Coast Guard in Texas saved 16,000 lives.” (The real number was smaller.)  OCT. 18 “Nobody has ever heard of a five hitting land.” (Category 5 storms have hit land before.)  OCT. 24 “Under our plan, more than 30 million Americans who own small businesses will get a 40 per cent cut to their top marginal tax rate.” (The real number is estimated to be less than 1 million.)  OCT. 25 “We have trade deficits with almost everybody.” (We have trade surpluses with more than 100 countries.)  OCT. 27 “Wacky & totally unhinged Tom Steyer, who has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from beginning, never wins elections!” (Steyer has financially supported many winning candidates.)  NOV. 1 “Again, we’re the highest-taxed nation, just about, in the world.” (We’re not.)  NOV. 7 “When you look at the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation, it’s Chicago.” (Several other cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have stronger gun laws.)  NOV. 11 “I’d rather have him – you know, work with him on the Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not – because that whole thing was set up by the Democrats.” (There is no evidence that Democrats “set up” Russian interference in the election.)