Fact-checking the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump

Posted at 5:14 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 18:43:42-04

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump clashed Monday in their first head-to-head debate of the general election season, with Trump in particular straying from the truth, CNN's Reality Check Team found.

The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the debate and selected key statements from both candidates, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it's complicated.

Climate change

By Laura Koran, CNN

Clinton claimed Trump "thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese," a charge Trump immediately denied. Who's telling the truth?

On November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Over a year later, Trump tweeted in response to weather reports, "Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!"

And Trump's doubts have continued into the campaign season.

Last September, when he was seeking the Republican nomination, Trump told CNN that while he supports clean air and water, "I am not a believer in climate change."

Trump went on to refute the connection between climate change and a rise in extreme weather phenomenon.

"Weather changes," Trump said. "And you have storms, and you have rain, and you have beautiful days, but I do not believe that we should imperil the companies within our country. And by the way, China is doing nothing."

In March, Trump took a more nuanced approach, telling a Washington Post editorial board that he doesn't believe climate change is the result of man-made causes.

"I think there's a change in weather," he said. "I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I'm not a great believer."

And while Trump has repeated the hoax line on multiple occasions, he's walked back the assertion that it was created by the Chinese, saying he meant that as a joke ... sort of.

"I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China," Trump said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends." "Obviously, I joke, but this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change."

While Trump doubts the validity of climate change, his company has prepared for it. According to a Politico report, Trump International Golf Links applied for a permit to build a sea wall at his golf course in Ireland to protect it from "global warming and its effects."

Our verdict: True. While Trump has wavered on the cause of climate change, he has repeatedly denied its existence and called it a hoax.


Clinton on job creation

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Clinton claimed that her economic plan would create 10 million jobs, while Trump's plan would cost the nation 3.5 million jobs.

"People have looked at both of our plans, have concluded that mine would create 10 million jobs and yours would lose us 3.5 million jobs," Clinton said.

Clinton is quoting a report from Moody's Analytics' Mark Zandi that came out over the summer. Zandi's report said the nation's economy would grow by 10 million jobs under Clinton's plan, but lose 3.4 million under Trump.

Those statistics, however, are misleading. Zandi found the economy would add 7.2 million jobs even if Clinton didn't do anything. So her plan would boost job growth by about 3 million jobs.

Meanwhile, it's also not fair to compare the assertions that 10 million jobs would be gained under Clinton vs. 3.4 million jobs lost under Trump because the time frames are different. Contacted by CNNMoney, Zandi said a more accurate comparison to the 10 million jobs created under Clinton would be 400,000 jobs lost under Trump, not 3.4 million.

Another analysis by Oxford Economics found that under Clinton, the nation would create an additional 200,000 jobs by the start of 2021 if she implements all her policies. Under Trump, however, the US would lose 4 million jobs, according to the report, released earlier this month.

Therefore, we rate Clinton's claim as true, but misleading.

Trump on jobs leaving Michigan & Ohio

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Trump hammered home that America has lost a multitude of jobs to what he said were bad trade deals. He cited two manufacturing-heavy states, Ohio and Michigan, which he said saw thousands of jobs pack up and leave.

"Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They're all leaving. And we can't allow it to happen anymore," Trump said.

Problem is that those two states have actually gained jobs in recent years.

There were 5.5 million non-farm workers in Ohio in August, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That's the most the Buckeye State has had since mid-2001. Ohio hit a low point of 5 million jobs in late 2009, just after the Great Recession ended. Employment has climbed steadily since then.

Michigan, meanwhile, had 4.3 million jobs in August, about the same as in mid-2006. Employment had fallen to 3.8 million in mid-2009, but has since climbed back.

So we rate Trump's assertion as false.

US jobs going to Mexico

By Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney

"Our jobs are fleeing the country. They're going to Mexico," Trump said while criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump is right. American manufacturing jobs have gone to Mexico. One of the most recent examples is Carrier, which announced earlier year that it would send 1,400 jobs from a plant in Indianapolis to Mexico.

But Trump was wrong about Ford, which he criticized for moving production of its small cars to Mexico. Trump alleged that Ford is moving jobs to Mexico, but Ford emphasized that no jobs were lost at its Michigan plant in Mexico.

How many jobs lost to Mexico is highly debatable. Robert Scott, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, estimates that America lost roughly 800,000 jobs to Mexico between 1997 and 2013. Scott cites NAFTA as the key driver of job losses.

However, some economists have criticized Scott's calculation because it's based on the size of the US trade deficit in Mexico -- it's not a head count of jobs. And some American manufacturers that export their products to Mexico depend on NAFTA to keep their business alive. The trade deal has hurt some Americans while benefiting others.

Still, the US economy has shifted away from the manufacturing sector and the Mexican manufacturing sector has increased markedly. But it is hard to connect Mexico's gain to the US loss.

Since 2000, America has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs for a variety of reasons, particularly cheaper labor overseas and technology.

Verdict: Mostly True.

Clinton on income and manufacturing jobs under Bill Clinton

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Clinton pointed out that America did pretty well during her husband Bill Clinton's tenure in the White House.

"I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s," Clinton said. "Incomes went up for everybody. Manufacturing jobs went up also in the 1990s."

It's true that manufacturing employment expanded under Bill Clinton, rising to 17.1 million jobs in January 2001. That's up 313,000 positions from January 1993.

Incomes also rose during Bill Clinton's two terms. Median household income was $50,478 when Clinton took office in 1993. It rose to $56,531 when he left in 2001.

We rate Hillary Clinton's claims as true.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Kevin Liptak, White House Producer

Trump and Clinton scuffled over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Trump asserting Clinton would ratify the massive trade pact should be elected president.

"You want to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership," Trump claimed. "You were totally in favor of it. When you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, I can't win that debate."

"You called it the gold standard of trade deals," Trump continued. Clinton responded by claiming she said she "hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated, which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn't."

Clinton is on the record calling TPP a "gold standard" deal in 2012 when she was serving as secretary of state, and her phrasing back then did not match her claim now of "hoping" the deal would be worthy of support.

"This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field," Clinton said at an event in Australia in 2012. "And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40% of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment."

However, Trump's claim that Clinton would approve the trade deal if elected president does not match her current campaign statements. Clinton announced in October 2015 she was against TPP, saying the deal didn't match what she'd hoped for as secretary of state. She has vowed to reject it if she wins.

"I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as president," Clinton said in August.

Trump's claim that Clinton called TPP the "gold standard" is true. But Trump's claim Clinton would approve TPP as president is false.

How Trump got his start

By Kate Grise, CNN

Clinton hit Trump for his claims that he is a self-made man.

"You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life and that's all to his benefit," Clinton said. "He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father."

Trump has repeatedly said that he built his companies and wealth from a $1 million loan he received from his father. While that loan may have gotten Trump's business up and rolling, it leaves out many of the other loans and perks he got from being the son of a wealthy real estate developer in New York City.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a 1985 casino license disclosure proves that at the time of its filing, Trump had taken out $14 million in loans from his father, Fred Trump, in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Fred's backing further helped Donald as he reassured city officials that he would "watch the construction and provide the financial credibility" of his son's first big hotel deal, according to Wayne Barrett's 1992 book, "Trump: The Deals and the Downfall."

The elder Trump also set up trust funds to support his children, acted as a guarantor on loans that Donald applied for, and helped open doors for his son throughout the city.

While it is true that Trump began to build his business with a $1 million loan from his father, Clinton's claim that Trump borrowed $14 million is also true and paints a more complete picture of the support Donald received from his father.

National debt

By Nicole Gaouette, CNN

When Clinton said Trump had said he would negotiate down the national debt if elected, Trump denied it was true.

But in a May debate, Trump said he would try reducing the national debt by trying to get creditors to accept lower amounts than the US owed.

In an exchange at Monday's debate, Clinton said, "You've said you'd negotiate down the national debt." Trump interrupted her to say, "Wrong."

In May, he also told CNBC that he would borrow, and if the economy crashed, he would "make a deal."

A few weeks later, Trump walked away from his comments about debt, telling CNN's Chris Cuomo he was misquoted.

"First of all, you never have to default because you print the money," he said on CNN's "New Day."

Verdict: True -- Trump claimed he would negotiate down the debt.

Clinton on Trump 'rooting' for the housing crisis

By Ali Foreman, CNN

Discussing financial progress since the Great Recession, Clinton accused Trump of rooting for the housing crisis.

"He said, back in 2006, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money," she claimed.

The Democratic nominee based her claim on an audiobook released by now legally troubled Trump University in 2006. The audiobook, titled, "How to Build a Fortune," includes an interview between Trump and marketing consultant Jon Ward.

Ward asked Trump about "gloomy predictions that the real estate market (was) heading for a spectacular crash." Trump responded, "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy. If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money ... If you're in a good cash position, which I'm in a good cash position today, then people like me would go in and buy like crazy."

Clinton ended her comments on Trump's past remarks by noting the accuracy of his 2006 prediction saying, "Well, it did collapse." Trump responded, "That's called business, by the way."

As CNN predicted in May, Trump's comments from before his run for office did come back to haunt him.

And that's called politics, by the way.

Verdict: True.


Trump on stop-and-frisk

By Theodore Schleifer, CNN

Trump claimed that New York City's stop-and-frisk policy was not ruled unconstitutional -- but it was.

"It went before a judge who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her and our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case," Trump said. "They would have won an appeal."

A federal judge deemed the policy carried out under Michael Bloomberg's mayoralty to violate the law of the land in August 2013, and Bloomberg vowed to appeal. But a few months later, Bloomberg was out of office, and his liberal successor, Bill de Blasio, dropped the appeal as part of a settlement with New York police in January 2014.

So while Trump is correct that it is unknown how an appeal might have turned out had it not been dropped, that is not what unfolded. The lower court's ruling was the final one, and so we rate Trump's claim false.

Trump on crime in New York

By Lisa Rose, CNN

Trump gave a hat tip to his hometown during the debate -- by claiming that the crime rate in New York is going up.

He interjected while Clinton was arguing against stop-and-frisk policing. She declared that the Big Apple is safer under Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders," Clinton said.

"You're wrong," Trump retorted.

According to the New York City Police Department's weekly CompStat report, murders are down for the year to date in 2016 compared with 2015, falling 4.3% from 257 to 246. An NYPD spokesman tweeted as the candidates clashed, "NYC is on pace to have one of the safest years on record for crime."

Over the past quarter century, the general trend for New York has been a decline in violent crime, according to the NYPD. The murder rate in 2016 is down more than 80% compared with 1990.

Of course, New York crime stats can be as complex as the city itself. Murder rates fell to a record low during de Blasio's first year in office, so compared to 2014, murders are up in 2016.

The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, published hours before the debate, also showed a nationwide increase in murders for 2015. Perhaps Trump pored over the FBI report during debate prep or maybe he really does feel unsafe in the caverns of the Upper East Side. At the very least, as a salesman whose businesses rely on revenue from tourists, Trump should be a bit more measured discussing crime in New York, portray the nuance in the numbers and show some pride in his birthplace.

We rate this claim to be true, but misleading, because Trump seemingly only cited one data set and failed to acknowledge the NYPD's statistics, which indicate a downward trend.

'Birther' movement

By Kevin Liptak, White House Producer

Trump claimed that a false conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama's birthplace began with Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

"If you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened, (Sidney) Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it, they were pressing very hard," Trump said. "She failed to get the birth certificate. When I got involved I didn't fail, I got him to give the birth certificate. So, I'm satisfied with it."

Facts do not support Trump's claims. Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton friend, denied to CNN last week that he peddled theories about Obama's birthplace to reporters.

"This is false. Period," he said. "Donald Trump cannot distract from the fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the birther lie and bears the responsibility for it."

Trump's characterization of Doyle's comments last week on CNN is similarly misleading. She told Wolf Blitzer that "The campaign, nor Hillary, did not start the birther movement. Period. End of the story." She recalled there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded an email propegating the conspiracy, but that Clinton herself decided "immediately" to fire that person.

As for Blumenthal's role in the campaign, some 2008 staffers have told CNN that he was not officially part of the Clinton campaign, and a CNN check of Federal Election Commission records shows no payment to Blumenthal from the campaign.

Verdict: Trump's claim that Clinton's campaign began the birther conspiracy is false.

DNC hack

By Laura Koran, CNN

In a discussion about cyberthreats, Clinton said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "One of the things he's done is let loose cyberattackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee."

Trump, for his part, wasn't convinced.

"I don't know if anyone knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC," he said "I don't know if it was."

"It could have been Russia," he added. "It could be China. It could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

The DNC believes two separate groups were behind recent incursions on their system. Both were linked to the Russian military-intelligence world by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which investigated the hack.

The cybersecurity firms Fidelis, Mandiant and ThreatConnect arrived at similar findings.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, recently released a statement saying that "based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the US election."

Moreover, a US official told CNN in July there was "little doubt" Russia was behind the hack of DNC emails. Publicly, the Obama administration has not tied the hack to Russia or any other actor.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Putin denied Russian state involvement, saying, "I don't know anything about it, and on a state level, Russia has never done this."

WikiLeaks, the website responsible for publishing the leaked emails, has refused to say who provided them.

Verdict: Absent Russian admission, it's hard to say with 100% certainty the Russian government ordered the DNC hack, but there's strong and compelling evidence they were linked to the hack. We therefore rate Clinton's claim as mostly true.


Clinton's tax increase

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Trump looked to contrast his tax plans with Clinton, saying that she would raise taxes on Americans.

"You are going to approve one of the biggest tax increases in history," Trump said, claiming he would slash taxes.

As she said during the debate, Clinton wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for a variety of programs, such as instituting paid family leave, making college debt-free and investing in infrastructure. To raise the funds, she would require millionaires to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes and impose an additional 4% surcharge on those with adjusted gross incomes greater than $5 million. She would limit the value of certain deductions and exclusions to 28%, as well as raise capital gains taxes on high-income investors.

All told, the top 1% of households -- defined as bringing in more than $730,000 a year -- would see their tax burden go up by more than $78,000 on average, according to an analysis of Clinton's original tax plan from the Tax Policy Center.

But this would not be not the largest tax increase. In fact, previous presidents have pushed through much bigger hikes. The tax changes instituted during World War II and the Korean War were much larger, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. The 1968 tax act was also larger.

Williams pointed to a US Treasury Department report that examined previous tax bills in terms of revenue raised and percentage of the gross domestic product.

Therefore, we rate Trump's claim as false.

'My tax cut is the biggest since Ronald Reagan,' Trump says

By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney

Trump's proposed tax cuts are the largest since Ronald Reagan's signature tax cut in 1981 when measured as a share of the economy, tax and budget experts say.

Trump's plan would reduce revenue by nearly $6 trillion, according to analyses by the Tax Foundation and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. That's about 2.5% of GDP over a decade.

That's the biggest since Reagan's 1981 tax cuts, which reduced revenue by 2.9% of GDP over an even shorter period, according to US Treasury numbers.

Interesting to note, however, that Reagan in 1982, 1983 and 1984 signed into law bills that raised revenue to address the burgeoning deficits that arose during his first term.

"Donald Trump is correct that his tax proposals would be the largest tax cut since Reagan, and they would be even larger than Reagan's when taking into account tax increases subsequently enacted during the 1980s," CRFB noted in its blog.

While it is difficult to make exact comparisons, the CRFB estimates that it is likely that Trump's proposed tax cut is like the largest since Reagan.

Our verdict: True.

Trump on tax returns and paying no taxes

By Tom LoBianco, CNN

Pressed on why he was not releasing his tax returns, Trump said again that he was holding back because he is under federal audit.

"I don't mind releasing. I'm under a routine audit, and it will be released. As soon as the audit's finished, it will be released," Trump said.

Trump has offered multiples arguments throughout the campaign -- and even shifted once Monday night to say he was waiting on Clinton to release emails she deleted -- but he has routinely argued that a federal audit bars him from releasing his returns.

But the IRS does not bar the subject of an audit from releasing their returns -- it is up to the individual to decide whether they will release the returns.

Trump could release his tax returns tonight -- whether he's under audit or not. Our verdict on that: false.

Soon after, Clinton lit into Trump on his tax returns and quickly landed on an argument that he has not paid federal taxes.

"All of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody's ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax," Clinton said.

Trump jumped in and said, "That mean's I'm smart."

But Clinton continued, saying it means that Trump paid "zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health."

CNN's Phil Mattingly obtained the available tax returns, available from the New Jersey state gaming commission, and they showed that Trump paid no federal taxes for the five years that were available: 1978, 1979, 1984, 1991 and 1993.

But it's impossible to say whether he hasn't paid any federal income taxes since then without seeing more of his tax returns.

Based on the available evidence, Clinton is correct about how little he has paid in taxes.

Verdict: True.

Reality Check: Clinton on her tax plan

By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney

Clinton told Trump that her tax plan "would not add a penny to the debt, and your plans would add $5 trillion to the debt."

Clinton was referring to a recent report from the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which assessed the overall cost of each candidate's tax and spending proposals combined.

CRFB estimated that Trump's fiscal proposals as they are today would add $5.3 trillion to the nation's debt in the first decade. That would push debt held by the public to 105% of gross domestic product by 2026, up from 86% projected under current policies.

By contrast, Clinton's fiscal package would add an estimated $200 billion to the debt. While $200 billion is very much more than a penny, in terms of the federal budget over a decade it wouldn't move the needle on current projections of debt as a percent of GDP. It would still reach 86% of GDP by 2026.

Verdict: Mostly true.

Trump on his Border Patrol endorsements

By Kate Grise, CNN

Trump touted his endorsements, saying, "I was just endorsed by ICE. They never endorsed anybody before on immigration. I was just endorsed by ICE. I was just recently endorsed, (by) 16,500 Border Patrol agents."

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is, of course, an official government agency so it is not in the business of officially endorsing any candidate.

The union that represents ICE employees, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers Council has, however, given Trump their first endorsement ever for a candidate for elected office.

"We can fix our broken immigration system, and we can do it in a way that honors America's legacy as a land of immigrants, but Donald Trump is the only candidate who is willing to put politics aside so that we can achieve that goal," Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, said in a statement.

The union represents 7,600 federal immigration officers and law enforcement support staff. ICE has more than 20,000 employees worldwide.

We're going to cut Trump some slack since the name of the union is similar to the agency. While Trump's claim of an ICE endorsement is misleading, it is true that the ICE union endorsed him.

The union representing US Border Patrol agents also endorsed Trump in March. The national Border Patrol Council represents 16,500 Border Patrol agents, according to their press release announcing the endorsement.

We rate Trump's claim that he has been endorsed by 16,500 Border Patrol agents as true.

Federal Reserve

By Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney

"We have a Fed that's doing political things ... the Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton," Trump said.

Trump's central argument is that the Federal Reserve, America's central bank, is keeping interest rates low to help the economy look good under Obama.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphatically denied any political influence at the Fed last Wednesday during a press conference after the Fed's decision-making committee ended its two-day meeting.

"We do not discuss politics at our meetings," Yellen said. "Partisan politics plays no role in our decisions."

There is no evidence that the Fed has kept rates low in order to help Obama.

The Federal Reserve was created by Congress to be independent of political influence. Neither Congress nor the President can tell the Fed to raise, lower or hold interest rates. Only the 12 people on the Fed's committee make that decision.

Our verdict: False.

Trump's bankruptcies

By Sonam Vashi, CNN

"You've taken business bankruptcy six times," Clinton said of her opponent. "There are a lot of great businesspeople that have never taken bankruptcy once."

We've looked at this claim several times.

Trump filed for business bankruptcy four times in the 1990s, mostly for casinos that were part of a sluggish gambling industry. Those bankruptcies included one for the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, and again in 1992 for three entities: the New York Plaza Hotel, the Atlantic City Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Trump Castle resort. Trump also had two other bankruptcies for Atlantic City casinos in 2004 and 2009. While bankruptcy is not a complete indicator of business success, Clinton's statements are true.

Trump's support for Iraq, Libyan interventions

By Ryan Browne, CNN

Clinton said Trump supported the US military interventions in Iraq and Libya against Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi.

"Donald supported the invasion of Iraq. That is proved over and over again. He actually advocated for the actions we took in Libya and urged that Gadhafi be taken out," Clinton said.

Trump immediately denied it.

Later, moderator Lester Holt said Trump did support the intervention in Iraq, and Trump claimed that the idea he backed the US-led invasion was something made up by the mainstream media.

Trump did acknowledge that the idea he supported the war stemmed from an interview with Howard Stern.

He said he told Stern, "Maybe, who knows."

But Trump actually said, "Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly," when asked in 2002 if he backed the invasion.

He also said during the debate that he told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that he opposed the Iraq war.

But Trump -- on March 21, 2003, after the invasion began -- told Cavuto that "it looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint."

Trump said he also told Fox News' Sean Hannity that he opposed the war but this conversation was never on the record.

Trump did tell Stern he backed the war and he told Cavuto after it began that it looked like a "tremendous success."

Verdict: True.

Clinton also said Trump backed the 2011 intervention in Libya.

In a 2011 video posted on his own blog before the intervention in Libya, Trump said, "Gadhafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we're sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East, and we're not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage and that's what it is: It's a carnage."

He added, "On a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives."

In March 2011, after the NATO-led intervention began, Trump expressed concern about the allegiance of the anti-Gadhafi rebels, telling CNN, "I hear they are aligned with Iran. I hear they may be aligned with al Qaeda."

But Trump still added, "At this point, if you don't get rid of Gadhafi, it's a major, major black eye for this country."

Trump did back an effort to take out Libya's leader Gadhafi on his own website.

Verdict: True.


By Eve Bower, CNN

During an exchange about policing in America, Clinton claimed that "the gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African-American men. More than the next nine causes put together."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC maintains extensive data on causes and manners of death, but does not sort its data into a single "gun epidemic" category. However, piecing together several different CDC data sets, Clinton's claim is largely true.

According to 2013 data, the category of "homicide" was the leading cause of death for black men age 15 to 34. (This data included both homicides that were committed using firearms, and those that were not.) And focusing only on black men age 15 to 24, data show that homicides constituted more deaths than the next nine leading causes combined -- causes that ranged from suicide to cancer to other illnesses.

However, using a different set of CDC data focusing on deaths caused by firearms, we can see that the vast majority of homicides were indeed firearm-related.

In 2013, there were a total of 5,214 homicides among black American men age 15 to 34. Among that same population, there were 5,278 deaths by firearm. And according to the CDC, a total of 4,701 black men in that age group were killed by firearm in incidents that were ruled homicides.

In short, homicides were the leading cause of death for black men age 15-34, and 90% of those deaths were caused with a firearm.

Trump & Miss Universe

By Theodore Schleifer, CNN

Clinton parried a claim from Trump about her "stamina" by pointing to Trump's history of uncouth remarks about women. Spointed to one woman in particular: Alicia Machado, or as Clinton said Trump called her, "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."

"Where did you find this?" Trump asked repeatedly.

"She has become a US citizen," Clinton said. "And you can bet she's going to vote this November."

Clinton found it on Inside Edition, where the Miss Universe of 1996 said Trump tried to humiliate her after she gained weight.

"He called me, like, Miss Piggy, Miss Housekeeping," said Machado, who was one of many women featured in a critical The New York Times article.

Machado has no evidence that Trump made those insults, and Trump indicated he had no familiarity with it -- though he did not outright deny it.

But all the testimony that exists indicates that Clinton's comments are true.


Trump on NATO financing

By Ryan Browne, CNN

Trump was asked about the NATO alliance. He repeated his criticism that the other members of the 28-nation defense alliance do not pay their fair share.

"We pay approximately 73% of the cost of NATO, that's a lot of money to protect other people," he said.

The US actually only pays about 22% of NATO's operational budget; member states' contributions to NATO's organizational budget is proportionate to their respective gross national income. But the NATO budget only funds the civil budget, military budget and the Security Investment Program. This is a relatively small portion of national defense spending by all the countries, with the entire budget being slightly more than $2 billion. The US contribution to NATO's direct funding is less than 1% of the US defense budget.

Trump is likely referring to the US share of defense spending among NATO countries -- that number is indeed 73%. The imbalance is due in part to the fact that only five NATO members meet the NATO recommendation that each country spend 2% of its GDP on defense, and the US GDP is significantly larger than all the other NATO members.

Though US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee told the Senate this month that "all 28 allies are moving toward spending at least 2% of GDP on defense, with 70% already on track to meet that goal by 2024."

Therefore, while Trump's 73% number is true for now, more and more NATO members meeting the 2% requirement will drive this number down.

But while analysts, including NATO ones, agree that the 73% number is indicative of the lack of appropriate defense spending among the other members of the alliance, that percentage reflects US defense spending overall and not just spending on US forces allocated to the defense of Europe and other NATO operations.

NATO's official statement on indirect funding says, "This does not mean that the United States covers 73% of the costs involved in the operational running of NATO as an organization, including its headquarters in Brussels and its subordinate military commands, but it does mean that there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refueling; ballistic missile defense; and airborne electronic warfare."

Because Trump says the phrase "73% of the cost of NATO" in his comments, and because that number does not reflect actual US direct spending on the alliance, and because the number captures US defense spending not-related to NATO, this is an inaccurate description of the cost of NATO.

Verdict: False.

Trump created NATO terror unit

By Ryan Browne, CNN

Trump claimed credit for the creation of a new position at NATO.

"About four months ago, I read on the front page of the Wall Street Journal that NATO is opening up a major terror division. I think that's great."

He later added, "I'm sure I'm not going to get credit for it, but that was largely because of what I was saying, my criticism of NATO."

Trump is referring to reports that NATO would create a new post, an assistant secretary general for intelligence. He also claimed credit for the post's creation at the time via a tweet.

But NATO officials told CNN the intelligence post, which focuses on wider intelligence issues and not just terrorism, was considered long before the 2016 campaign began and was also in response to Russia's 2014 military intervention in Ukraine and its invasion of Crimea, known as "hybrid warfare."

Because the post is a broader intelligence position, the creation of which has been sought by NATO before Trump began his public criticism of the alliance, his claim of responsibility is inaccurate.

Verdict: False.

America's nuclear arsenal

By Amy Gallagher, CNN

When Holt turned to Trump on the subject of a possible preemptive nuclear strike, Trump responded by turning the conversation to familiar territory: criticism of the current administration for failing to invest in military equipment.

"We have not been updating from the new standpoint," Trump said.

This is not true. The United States is in the process of updating all three aspects of the nuclear triad.

Trump went on.

"I looked the other night, I saw B-52s, they're old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not keeping up with other countries."

Trump is correct that our current equipment is old enough to have been flown by my grandfather (shout-out to Duke Drake, who was a WWII pilot in the Army Air Force), however, Russia still flies similarly dated planes.

We rate Trump's claim that we are not updating our own nuclear technology as false and his claim that our planes are old enough to be flown by your grandfather true, but misleading, and also, incidentally, a tribute to an impressive piece of equipment.