Trump spreads claim that Clinton’s ‘mentor’ was ‘KKK member’

Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back against Hillary Clinton’s efforts to link him to the Ku Klux Klan.

The Republican nominee retweeted a supporter’s post that the Democratic nominee “said a KKK member was her mentor.” And speaking later in Des Moines, Iowa, he dredged up Clinton’s use of the term “super predators” in the 1990s to argue that he, not Clinton, offered African-Americans the best choice for president.

Trump’s retweet and his latest appeals to black voters capped off a week of increasingly ugly and racially charged accusations between the two leading presidential candidates, during which Trump called Clinton a “bigot” and the Democratic nominee charged that Trump’s campaign was built on “prejudice and paranoia” while also tying him to the KKK.

“@DiamondandSilk: Crooked Hillary getting desperate. On TV bashing Trump. @CNN, she forgot how she said a KKK member was her mentor,” Trump tweeted Saturday.

Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — better known as Diamond and Silk, two African-American sisters supporting Trump who frequently speak at his rallies — confirmed to CNN that the tweet referred to the late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, a former KKK member whom Clinton mourned in 2010 as “a true American original, my friend and mentor.”

“Donald J. Trump can’t help who embraces his campaign but Hillary Clinton could’ve helped who she embraced,” the duo said in a statement to CNN.

A Trump spokesman, Jason Miller, declined to comment, and a message left with Clinton’s campaign was not returned.

Trump’s surrogates in recent days have pointed to Clinton’s relationship with Byrd in response to accusations that Trump’s campaign stokes racial tensions.

Thursday night, Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes also cited Byrd, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “(Clinton) sat there and praised Sen. Byrd saying that he was her mentor, that he should be respected and he was a leader of the KKK.”

And on Friday, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, speaking to CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “The Lead,” said Trump’s campaign was not engaging in Clinton’s “gutter politics.”

“You have heard no language to this level coming out of the Trump campaign,” McEnany said. “They could be digging into her past with Robert Byrd.”

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Yes it is true that Senator Robert Byrd was a mentor to Hillary Clinton when she joined the senate. Yes it is true that Senator Byrd was a member of the KKK, but what Trump is deceitfully neglecting to mention is that Byrd was a member, as in, used to be a member, in his youth decades before meeting Clinton. By the time Hillarly Clinton joined the Senate, Robert Byrd had disavowed the Klan decades ago, explained it was wrong, and had such an exemplary civil rights voting record he was graded at 100% by the NAACP.

When Senator Byrd died in 2010, the NAACP released a statement praising Byrd, saying that he “became a champion for civil rights and liberties” and “came to consistently support the NAACP civil rights agenda”.

These are the facts, I’m sorry. Donald Trump and his surrogates did not tell the entire story.

It also glosses over the fact Donald Trump was endorsed by the actual KKK , he failed to condone former Grand Wizard David Duke’s endorsement, had multiple known white supremacists representing him at the Republican National Convention, and Trump’s own father was caught at a KKK rally.

The New Birthers: Trump Pushes Hillary Clinton Health Conspiracy

From Donald Trump and his top surrogates to the right-wing media and its engine rooms of outrage in the blogosphere, Hillary Clinton’s opponents are ramping up efforts to sow doubt over the candidate’s health.

The campaign — which goes back years — has escalated to shouting over the summer, as Trump spiraled in the polls while mostly failing to connect with voters outside his base demographic. Now, as the race enters a crucial phase, there has been a growing push to fundamentally undermine Clinton’s candidacy.

Much in the way “birthers” (Trump was among the most prominent) sought similar ends by questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, the “healthers” are using junk science and conspiracy theories to argue that Clinton is suffering from a series of debilitating brain injuries.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, former New York City mayor and Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani first accused the mainstream media of hiding evidence, then encouraged doubters to “go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness.'”

There is absolutely no credible evidence to backstop any of these claims, including on the “videos” Giuliani cited. Clinton’s physician — the only person to speak on the record who has actually examined her — has repeatedly affirmed the former secretary of state’s health and fitness for the highest office in the land.

During an appearance Monday night on the Jimmy Kimmel show, Clinton called the GOP claims about her health a “wacky strategy.”

“I don’t know why they are saying this,” she said. “I think on the one hand, it is part of the wacky strategy, just say all these crazy things and maybe you can get some people to believe you.”

But for those who want to believe, the structure of the lie borders on impenetrable — baked into its “medical” assertions is the tightly held belief that the press is in cahoots with Clinton, protecting her political prospects by working overtime to hide her imagined ailment.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

The facts, though, tell a very different story. This is it.

The roots of the health conspiracy theory go back to late 2012

Days before she was first scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill about the Benghazi terror attack in December 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion after becoming dehydrated and fainting. Her appearance, scheduled for December 20, was pushed back as she recovered.

In a bit of dark irony, Clinton’s political opponents then, most notably the Republican former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, suggested that Clinton was faking it — that the secretary of state, as Bolton put it, had come down with a “diplomatic illness” in order to avoid the congressional inquiry.

In the weeks after the injury, Clinton would be hospitalized and prescribed blood thinners to dissolve a blood clot located in a vein behind her right ear. The diagnosis was made during a follow-up exam related to her concussion. The clot did not, per Clinton’s doctors, result in a stroke or any other neurological complications.

On January 23, 2013, a little more than a month after she was first slated to appear before Congress, Clinton testified at length to Senate and House committees about the Benghazi attacks.

Karl Rove helped plant the seeds in 2014

In May 2014, more than a year after Clinton left the State Department, Republican strategist Karl Rove made headlines by suggesting Clinton had suffered brain damage in 2012.

“Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?” he said, according to a New York Post report. “We need to know what’s up with that.”

Rove would attempt to walk back his comments a day after they were made public, telling Fox News of the brain damage comment that he “never used that phrase.”

He also conceded that Clinton had not, as he first said, spent a month in the hospital. She was there for about three days. Politifact also slapped a “False” tag on Rove’s claim that Clinton’s prismatic glasses indicated her injuries had been worse than initially let on.

The talk would mostly die down over the next year. In July 2015, Clinton’s longtime physician, Dr. Lisa Bardack, delivered her a clean bill of health.

“(Clinton) had follow-up testing in 2013, which revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion as well as total dissolution of the thrombosis,” Bardack wrote. “Mrs. Clinton also tested negative for all clotting disorders.”

The alleged ‘seizures’

The rumors have traveled with remarkable speed through the pipeline connecting small conservative and right-wing blogs to larger outlets like Breitbart, Infowars and Fox News.

First, there was the muffin shop.

During a June photo op in Washington, Clinton turned back reporters’ questions with what AP correspondent Lisa Lerer in a first person account titled “Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there,” described as “an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds.”

“After the exchange,” Lerer wrote, “(Clinton) took a few more photos, exited the shop and greeted supporters waiting outside.”

End of story? Not quite.

More than a month later, pro-Trump blogger Jim Hoft picked up the video and, on his Gateway Pundit site, ran a headline blaring, “Wow! Did Hillary Clinton Just Suffer a Seizure on Camera?” She had not, of course, as had been clear to everyone present. But the video soon went viral. Less than a week later, after Clinton delivered her convention address, he was back at it, publishing a GIF of the nominee’s amused face (there were a lot of balloons falling) under a similar title: “Wow! Media Missed This=> Did Hillary Suffer Another Seizure After Her DNC Speech?”

In the coming days and weeks, conservative media and the Trump campaign itself began to pick up the thread. Fox News host Sean Hannity, an unabashed supporter of the GOP nominee, dove in with particular gusto, gathering panels of “experts” to examine video clips of Clinton coughing and, again, batting her head at the D.C. muffin shop.
None of the physicians convened by Hannity had examined Clinton and at least one, Fox News medical correspondent Dr. David Samadi, is a urologist. When an actual neurologist, Dr. Fiona Gupta, joined the group, she mostly dismissed Hannity’s questions, saying, “It’s just so hard to speculate based on snippets (of video).”

When he pressed on (“It almost seems seizure-esque to me”), another Fox News contributor, Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist, pushed back.

“Well I’m not a neurologist,” Siegel said, “and I don’t think that necessarily looks like a seizure.”

The ‘fall’

At around the same time Hannity was hosting his panels, a blog called the American Mirror and the Drudge Report gave a boost to a photograph that had been floating around for months. Taken back in February, the image shows Clinton being helped up a flight of stairs outside a halfway house in in North Charleston, South Carolina.

“The questionable health condition of Hillary Clinton should be a major issue of the 2016 campaign,” the American Mirror post begins. “The latest evidence comes in the form of Clinton being helped up a set of stairs by multiple individuals outside what appears to be a home.”

But the Getty Images photo caption — filed months earlier — tells a very different story.

It reads: “Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slips as she walks up the stairs into the non-profit SC Strong, a 2 year residential facility that helps former felons, substance abusers, and homeless move into self-sufficiency.

The “syringe” and fake medical records

As the conspiracy theories took flight, boosted by Trump’s repeated assertions that Clinton is too chronically tired or weak to handle the White House workload, “questions” from right-wing bloggers and gadflies about Clinton’s security detail began to focus in on a single piece of equipment carried by one agent.

On Twitter and on assorted blogs, conspiracy theorists began to focus on images they believed to show, as one headline put it, “Hillary’s Handler Carrying Auto-Injector Syringe For Anti-Seizure Drug Diazepam.”

But again, this was simply not the case. Hannity broadcast the story to his millions of viewers, citing the Gateway Pundit and its sources, with no evidence of his own.

Indeed, the Secret Service has weighed in repeatedly when asked. On Monday morning, spokeswoman Nicole Mainor dismissed the report in an email to CNN.

“The item in the Detail Leader’s hand is a flashlight,” she said.

The rumors took a more serious turn around this time, when a since-deleted Twitter account called @HillsMedRecords shared what purported to be leaked medical record showing Clinton having been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Snopes.com, a fact-checking website, quickly snuffed them out and Clinton’s doctor — whose letterhead was used in the images featuring the fake reports — put out a statement explaining that the documents are “false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts.”

The Trump-Breitbart connection

Breitbart News has been a house organ for Trump since the early days of his run, but the union became more formal last week when the media company’s executive chairman, Steve Bannon, was hired as campaign CEO.

It has also been among the most consistent and highly trafficked peddlers of the conspiracy theories surrounding Clinton’s health. When she was slightly late returning to a debate stage in December — there had been a hold up entering the bathroom — Breitbart published a story weeks later citing “a law enforcement source with inside connections” who said Clinton “was missing from the stage due to health issues stemming from a previous brain injury.”

Trump himself has begun to allude more and more baldly to these suggestions, most notably in a pair of speeches last week when he questioned Clinton’s “mental and physical” stamina. On Friday, he tweeted: “#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!!”

All this as Drudge doubled down by bannering its site with an absurd Heat Street post, titled, “MUST SEE: Photos of Hillary Clinton Propped Up on Pillows.” The images, with arrows superimposed to point out the pillows, show Clinton — fully alert, engaged, sometimes addressing large audiences — in the presence of small pillows that she sometimes placed behind her back when she was seated.

By the end of last week, at least one prominent Republican Trump supporter had heard about enough. After “Fox and Friends” played a clip of Dr. Drew Pinsky, of “Celebrity Rehab” semi-fame and HLN host, discussing his “grave concern” for Clinton, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lost his patience.

“With all due respect to television doctors, when you have a doctor who has never seen the patient begin to give you a complicated, fancy-sounding analysis based on what?” Gingrich said.

“I mean, I would be very cautious and I would recommend to doctors for professional reasons to be very cautious deciding you’re going to start analyzing people.”

Reality

The sad truth is that Trump and his campaign continues to promote baseless conspiracy theories even in the face of overwhelming evidence. From a rigged election, to a link between vaccines and autism, to climate change denial, there seems to be no conspiracy theory they won’t try to push on voters who may not be informed of the facts or may be intentionally adverse to accepting new information that does not conform to their preconceived beliefs.

New Trump Campaign Manager No Longer Wants Him to Release His Tax Returns

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said that she does not want the Republican presidential nominee to release his tax returns until an audit by the Internal Revenue Service is completed, abandoning a position that she took five months ago, when she didn’t work for the campaign and urged Trump to “be transparent” and release the filings.

“I’ve learned since being on the inside that this audit is a serious matter and that he has said that when the audit is complete, he will release his tax returns,” Conway said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that aired Sunday morning. “I also know as a pollster that what concerns people most about quote ‘taxes’ is their own tax liability, and so we appreciate people being able to see Hillary Clinton’s plan and Donald Trump’s plan and figure out who will really get the middle-class tax relief.”

According to Trump’s attorneys, his tax returns filed since 2009 are under audit but those from 2002 to 2008 are no longer under audit. Conway said Sunday in an interview on CNN that she does not want Trump to release those returns, either.

On ABC, Conway also took a swipe at Clinton over transparency: “I’m glad that he’s transparent about a number of things, and we’re certainly running against the least accountable, least transparent, I think, joyless candidate in presidential political history.”

Trump is the first major presidential nominee from either party since 1976 to not release tax returns. Last summer, Clinton released returns from 2007 to 2014, and her campaign shared her 2015 return this month, as well as 10 years of returns from her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has said that he plans to release his tax returns, with a spokesman telling CNN that this would happen before the election.

In April, Conway appeared on CNN and defended a short-lived alliance between Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) to stop Trump, a strategy that she considered “fair game.”

“Of course it’s fair game,” Conway said. “Oh, absolutely. It’s completely transparent. Donald Trump’s tax returns aren’t, and I would like to see those be transparent.”

During the Sunday interview on CNN, Conway said she didn’t understand why Trump’s tax returns have become such a big issue.

“This entire tax return debate is somewhat confounding to me, in the following sense: I don’t think that it creates one job, gets one more individual who does not have health insurance covered by health insurance, particularly under the disaster that has been Obamacare with these private insurers pulling out our exchanges now and reporting billions of dollars of losses,” Conway said. “If we want transparency, if we want specifics, the most relevant thing that people can look at is what is his plan for their tax bill.”

(h/t The Washington Post)

Reality

Trump had a contradictory position 4 years ago when he demanded Mitt Romney to release his tax returns.

As for the “audit” excuse, the fact remains that this rationale has never made any sense: an IRS audit doesn’t preclude someone from sharing their returns.

Since Watergate, every presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican, has released his or her tax returns. It’s not required by law, but there’s a tradition of disclosure that Americans have come to count on during the presidential vetting process: candidates for the nation’s highest office are expected to release information related to their personal health and their tax filings.

Indeed even Richard Nixon, during his presidency, released his tax materials in the midst of an IRS audit. Trump could, if he wanted to, release these returns whenever he feels like it. For reasons he won’t explain, the GOP candidate just doesn’t want to.

It’s as if the campaign has decided to wave a big, unmistakable sign that reads, “We have something to hide.”

Media

ABC This Morning – 8/21/2016

CNN – 8/21/2016

New Trump Campaign Manager Says He ‘Doesn’t Hurl Personal Insults’, Then He Proved Her Wrong

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager says the Republican presidential nominee doesn’t hurl personal insults.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Kellyanne Conway was asked about past statements she made criticizing Trump’s tone and attacks on his rivals.

“I don’t like when people hurl personal insults, that will never change,” Conway said. “I’m the mother of four small children. That would be a terrible example for me to feel otherwise.”But when pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on whether Trump would change his approach, Conway defended his tone.

“He doesn’t hurl personal insults,” she said.

“He just this week — look what he talked about. He’s bringing the case right to communities of color in Michigan, and he’s speaking to all Americans when he does that. What he’s doing is he’s challenging the Democratic Party. He’s challenging President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s legacy.”

Conway took over as Trump’s new campaign manager last week. She had chastised Trump in February, though, for “hurling personal insults” and using “vulgar” language.

“Do I want somebody who hurls personal insults or who goes and talks about philosophical differences?” Conway asked on CNN at the time.

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

Within a few hours after making this statement, Donald Trump sent tweets personally insulting MSNBC hosts Donny Deutsch and then attacked and threatened fellow MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Here are a few other examples of Trump hurling insults:

JUNE 16, 2015 – Trump officially threw his clown hat into the circus that would soon be the 2016 race with a jaw-dropping, ad-libbed speech in which he insulted Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” derided foreign countries and lambasted President Obama and other American leaders as “losers.”

JULY 18, 2015 – In one of his cruelest, and strangest attacks, Trump, at a conservative summit in Iowa, ripped John McCain, a former prisoner of war. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said dismissively of McCain, who spent more than five years being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and suffered permanent injuries as a result. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

AUG. 6, 2015 – Tenacious moderator Megyn Kelly kicked off the event by reminding Trump that he’d called “women you don’t like, ‘fat pigs, ‘dogs, slobs and disgusting animal.’ Trump interjected, “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” setting off tensions between he, the conservative news network, and the entire GOP establishment that have yet to fully cool.

AUG. 7, 2015 – Trump, clearly affected by Kelly’s aggressive questioning of him during the initial GOP debate, was quick to go on the attack against the respected journalist. In an interview the night after the debate, Trump blasted Kelly for bringing up his years of piggish, anti-women remarks, as she questioned him during the Republican debate. He even suggested disgustingly that her ire was a product of menstrual cycle. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her – wherever,” Trump said

NOV. 24, 2015 – Trump mocked reporter’s physical handicap. “Now the poor guy, you ought to see the guy,” Trump said, mimicking New York Times (and former Daily News) reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that limits the movement of the joints and weakens the muscles around them. “‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember,'” Trump said, gyrating his arms as he mocked Kovaleski’s movements.

2015 – 2016 – At Republican debates and during various campaign stops, Trump began rolling out clever nicknames for his political rivals. And like his candidacy, they all stuck. Among them? “Lyin’ Ted” (Ted Cruz), “Little Marco” Marco Rubio), “Crooked Hillary” (Hillary Clinton) and “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.”

AUG 1, 2016 – Trump insults Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, died in the line of duty in 2004, after they criticized him during a speech at the Democratic National Convention. Trump bizarrely claimed his real estate empire was a “sacrifice” and questioned why Ghazala Khan stayed silent on stage while her husband spoke. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably – maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said, suggesting that the Khans’ Muslim faith barred the woman from speaking out.

Media

Trump Faces New Backlash Over Pitch to Black Voters

On the heels of another staff shakeup, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was facing a new backlash – this time for his attempt to get black voters to vote for him in the November election.

At a campaign rally near Lansing, Michigan, on Friday, Trump asked what African-Americans have to lose by voting for him.

CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett reports it was supposed to be a day for a clean slate, but Trump’s latest attempted outreach to a larger voting bloc was called ignorant and heavy-handed by his critics.

“Look how much African-American communities have suffered under Democratic control. You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. To those I say the following: What do you have to lose?”

Speaking from a predominately white suburb in Michigan. Trump tried to increase his support from African-American voters, which according to a recent Pew survey favor Hillary Clinton over the Republican nominee by an 83-point margin.

“You’re living in poverty,” Trump said. “Your schools are no good. You have no jobs – 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Moments after the speech, Clinton responded with a tweet.

(h/t CBS News)

Reality

Trump’s comments seem to be the result of him trying to correct his incredibly low numbers with black voters in recent polls. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed 91 percent of black voters favoring Clinton in comparison to one percent of black voters favoring Trump. At a rally in June, Trump showed he was in touch with black voters by singling out a black man in the crowd and calling him “my African American.

Trump has also come under criticism from delivering his message to predominantly white cities while neglecting to entertain meeting with African American organizations like the NAACP.

Trump has a curious habit of reiterating the thoughts of white supremacists on social media, particularly when they are being complimentary toward him. When these presumed supporters are revealed to be racists, Trump has not removed his retweets (in some cases from the same user) or apologized for the presumed oversight.

Also, allegations of racism have dogged Trump’s campaign from the beginning, when he said undocumented Mexican immigrants were “rapists” during his announcement speech last June. And while Trump has offended Asian-Americans, Latino-Americans, Arab-Americans and Native Americans in the past, his transgressions as far as the black community is concerned could be even more costly come November.

For example, Donald Trump said in July he believes the Black Lives Matter movement has in some cases helped instigate the recent killings of police officers, and suggested he might direct his future attorney general to investigate the civil rights activist group. Trump also called the group a “threat” and accused the group of “essentially calling death to the police.

African American Unemployment at 58%

Donald Trump has claimed several times that 58 percent of African-American youths are unemployed — more than double the government’s monthly breakdown.

According to BLS numbers, last month’s unemployment rate among 16-to-19-year-old black Americans was 25.7 percent, adjusted seasonally.

Media

Trump Campaign Manager Named in Ukrainian Probe Into Millions in Secret Cash

Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been named in an investigation by Ukrainian authorities looking at whether he and others received millions in illegal payments from Ukraine’s former pro-Russian ruling party, according to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Manafort, claims it is a smear and he never done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia, despite the fact that it has been very public knowledge Manafort worked for the Pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as an image consultant from 2004 to 2010.

The probe is part of a wider investigation by the bureau into allegations of corruption and influence peddling against ex-president Viktor Yanukovich’s administration, for whom Manafort worked as a political consultant, before the leader’s violent ouster in 2014.

The investigation is looking into “shadow accounting” and potentially illegal payments made by Yanukovich to Manafort and other Ukrainian election officials, according to Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption.

The announcement of the investigation follows a report published late Sunday by The New York Times, which first revealed that Ukrainian investigators had found Manafort’s name included in an off-the-books, handwritten ledger detailing 22 secret payments — among them, a $12.7 million total payout to Manafort.

Daria Manzhura, head of external communications at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, confirmed to CNN that Manafort’s name is among those listed on a handwritten ledger.

Responding to the initial report from the Times early Monday, Manafort called the report “unfounded, silly and nonsensical.”

“Once again The New York Times has chosen to purposefully ignore facts and professional journalism to fit their political agenda, choosing to attack my character and reputation rather than present an honest report,” he said in a statement.

“The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional. It is well known that I do work in the United States and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single “off-the-books cash payment” as falsely “reported” by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia. Further, all of the political payments directed to me were for my entire political team: campaign staff (local and international), polling and research, election integrity and television advertising. The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly, and nonsensical.

“My work in Ukraine ceased following the country’s parliamentary elections in October 2014. In addition, as the article points out hesitantly, every government official interviewed states I have done nothing wrong, and there is no evidence of ‘cash payments’ made to me by any official in Ukraine. However, the Times does fail to disclose the fact that the Clinton Foundation has taken (and may still take) payments in exchange for favors from Hillary Clinton while serving as the Secretary of State. This is not discussed despite the overwhelming evidence in emails that Hillary Clinton attempted to cover up,” the statement continued.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

As the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine noted, that the presence of Manafort’s name on the list does not mean he received the money, and that the ledger does not contain his signature while others who were identified did sign it.

However Manafort’s claim that, “nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine.” is a complete lie.

It is no secret that Paul Manafort made a career silently working for some of the worst tyrants in the world, to reinvent their image and appear more likable to Western countries. Manafort’s firm was listed amongst the top five lobbying firms receiving money from human-rights abusing regimes in the 1992 Center for Public Integrity report “The Torturer’s Lobby.”

Manafort has represented Angolan political and military leader Jonas Savimbi, Filipino authoritarian president Ferdinand Marcos, and Congolese military dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

In Ukraine, Manafort worked as an adviser on the presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych (and his Party of Regions during the same time span) from December 2004 until the February 2010 Ukrainian presidential election even as the U.S. government opposed Yanukovych because of his ties to Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin. Manafort was hired to advise Yanukovych months after massive street demonstrations known as the Orange Revolution overturned Yanukovych’s victory in the 2004 presidential race.

Also, Manafort claimed that the New York Times did not report on possible controversies at the Clinton Foundation, except they have:

Trump Spokeswoman Again Rewrites History to Blame Obama

Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson has once again blamed President Obama for something that happened years before he took office.

Remember how Pierson blamed Obama for Captain Humayun Khan‘s death in 2004? Well, on CNN this morning, as she was arguing with anchor Victor Blackwell about Trump’s “founder of ISIS” remark, Pierson actually said, “Remember, we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time. Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

Blackwell asked, “You’re saying Barack Obama took the country into Afghanistan post-2009?” Pierson said, “That was Obama’s war, yes.”

After the commercial break, Blackwell confronted her about this glaring factual inaccuracy. Pierson protested that “we’re talking about ISIS specifically.”

Blackwell pointed out that ISIS did not suddenly spring up when Obama became president.

As we described in a earlier post, ISIS was formed in 1999 and grew it’s membership from former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party who were out of a job after the Bush-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, then calling them

We should point out here that after Pierson got in trouble for muddling the facts on Captain Khan’s death recently, a high-level Trump adviser said on CNN, “I think we’re fixing it, I guarantee you that won’t happen again with her, that’s for sure.”

(h/t Mediaite)

Media

 

Trump Campaign “Confirm” a Gulf War Marine Rescue From Trump That Never Happened

In a May post on his website, Fox News personality Sean Hannity falsely claimed that in 1991 now-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump sent his private jet to retrieve 200 “stranded” Gulf War veterans from Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

According to the erroneous report — which the Trump campaign said they confirmed to be true — “Mr. Trump did indeed send his plane to make two trips from North Carolina to Miami, Florida to transport over 200 Gulf War Marines back home.”

The Hannity story mostly relied on the recollections of a single source, of Cpl. Ryan Stickney, who was a squad leader in a Marine Corps Reserve antitank (TOW) company that was called up for duty for the 1990-91 conflict that took place after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Cpl. Stickney told his story at a Trump rally in June.

Snopes.com and Washington Post looked deeper into the anecdote and found that the plane — though it bore Trump’s name, as does his private jet — was actually one of a Trump Shuttle fleet of planes from his short-lived airline and not his personal plane as the Trump campaign “confirmed.”

Trump Shuttle was an airline that Trump briefly owned before it was essentially seized by the banks because he failed to make payments on his loans.

But this is where Sean Hannity’s and the Trump campaign’s story starts to break down. Trump’s personal plane only holds 24 passengers, not anywhere near the space required for 200 Marines. Also the Boeing 727s, which do have the appropriate seating capacity, flown by Trump Airlines had a white fuselage while Trump’s personal plane from 1991 was blue and had different markings.

A picture of Trump’s plane from 1991

And finally, Donald Trump made a terrible deal when he purchased Eastern Air Shuttle and re-branded it as Trump Shuttle. Timing is everything in business, and unfortunately for Trump he entered the airline game at the wrong time. So in September 1990, Trump defaulted on the loan and the banks took over Trump Shuttle. The banks searched far and wide for a buyer before they reached a long-term agreement with US Air to manage the airline until 1996, and then to buy it.” So by April 1991, Donald Trump no longer even controlled the planes that flew with his name on them.

Even veterans who were there and in the know rebuked the Trump campaign’s claim.

Lt. Gen. Vernon J. Kondra, now retired, was in charge of all military airlift operations. He said that relying on commercial carriers freed up the military cargo aircraft for equipment transport. But Kondra said the notion that Trump personally arranged to help the stranded soldiers made little sense. “I certainly was not aware of that. It does not sound reasonable that it would happen like that. It would not fit in with how we did business,” he told The Washington Post. “I don’t even know of how he would have known there was a need.”

(h/t Salon, Washington Post, Snopes)

Reality

During this election cycle, Hannity has: peddled a moot voter fraud theory to support Trump’s claim that the election is rigged; launched an investigation into the Gold Star Khan parents, whose political agenda he said made them unfairly target Trump; and claimed “nothing” Trump’s “said is racist.”

Trump: I’m Not a Big Believer in Man-Made Climate Change

In the wide-ranging interview with the Miami Herald which focused on key South Florida issues, Trump continued to question climate change caused by humans.

Trump spoke to the Herald at the Fontainebleau Hotel, steps from the shoreline and not far from streets the city of Miami Beach has spent millions of dollars elevating to fend off rising seas.

“I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change,” Trump said, despite vast scientific evidence to the contrary. “There could be some impact, but I don’t believe it’s a devastating impact.”

In the past, Trump has called climate change a “hoax.”

“I would say that it goes up, it goes down,” he said. “Certainly climate has changed. … The problem we have is our businesses are suffering. Our businesses are unable to compete in this country because other countries aren’t being forced to do what our businesses are being forced to do, and it makes us uncompetitive.”

If cities like Miami Beach want to set local rules to fight the effects of rising seas, though, Trump said he wouldn’t get in their way.

“If the local government feels that way, they should do it,” he said. “If they’re doing the roads, and if they want to make them higher, I think that’s probably not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, if you’re going to do them anyway.”

Reality

There is nothing in the scientific literature that can back up Donald Trump’s claim. On the contrary there is overwhelming scientific evidence that carbon dioxide [CO2] is a pollutant.

For anyone who disagrees with the empirical evidence that CO2 is a pollutant ask yourself; Would you ever think it is safe to breath in the exhaust from your car for an extended period of time? (Prius and Tesla owners pretend you have a Chevy.) You absolutely wouldn’t because tragically hundreds of people die each year from carbon monoxide [CO] poisoning. Along with carbon monoxide, cars release carbon dioxide [CO2], hydrocarbons [HC], nitrogen oxides [NOx], and other particulates which are all pollutants, have proven contributions to climate change, and are harmful to your health.

Science has been aware for over 150 years that carbon in the atmosphere will retain heat. The year was 1859 to be exact, and it was scientist John Tyndall who made the discovery that carbon in the atmosphere trapped heat. Then in 1896 Svante Arrhenius calculated that, based on this simple principle of physics, higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would raise global temperatures. These discoveries are the cornerstones of climate science, in 150 years have yet to be disputed, and instead continues to be confirmed by observation.

To explain further, the science, in short, says the following. CO2 lets through short wave light, the kind that passes through our atmosphere, but traps long wave radiation, the kind that is reflected and travels back into space. This experiment can be done in a laboratory, and should you have the time you could see it for yourself.

The site at this link has compiled a list of just a handful of the published scientific papers of laboratory measurements of CO2 absorption properties, ranging from 1861 all the way up to 2008. Knowing this evidence, scientist reached a consensus a long time ago that CO2 is indeed a contributor to global warming.

Just to reiterate here, Donald Trump’s acceptance of science predates the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War, and the First Transcontinental Railroad. This is the equivalent trying to attack a state-of-the-art military drone with a Civil War era musket.

Trump Doubles-Down That Obama ‘Literally’ Founded ISIS

Donald Trump said twice Thursday that he meant exactly what he said when he called President Barack Obama the “founder of ISIS” and objected when a conservative radio show host tried to clarify the GOP nominee’s position.

Trump was asked by host Hugh Hewitt about the comments Trump made Wednesday night in Florida, and Hewitt said he understood Trump to mean “that he (Obama) created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”

Trump objected.

“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump said. “I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”

Hewitt pushed back again, saying that Obama is “not sympathetic” to ISIS and “hates” and is “trying to kill them.”

“I don’t care,” Trump said, according to a show transcript. “He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”

Hewitt and Trump went back and forth after that, with Hewitt warning Trump that his critics would seize on his use of “founder” as more example of Trump being loose with words.

But the GOP nominee remained steadfast, saying it was “no mistake” what he said, standing by his labeling of the Democratic opponent as a “co-founder.”

“Do you not like that?” Trump asked Hewitt.

“I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say,” Hewitt said.

“Well, I disagree,” Trump replied, and Hewitt moved on.

The criticism that the policies of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are mostly originating from right-wing conspiracy cranks like Breitbart.com, Alex Jones, or Senator John McCain. Taking the idea a step further to suggest Obama and Clinton literally founded the terrorist group is something far more nefarious.

Former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul hit Trump on the comments, saying they mimicked Russian talking points designed to sow anger toward the US and the West.
“BTW, Trumps line that Obama founded ISIS echoes exactly a myth propagated by Russian state-controlled media and bloggers,” McFaul tweeted.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Trump claiming that because President Obama withdrew troops from Iraq, thus creating ISIS, is patently false.

First, Obama was honoring an agreement between Iraq and the United States for a timeline to withdraw troops signed on December 14, 2008 by President George W. Bush. You might remember the press conference to announce the strategic agreement more for Bush dodging a shoe thrown at him than the actual details of the timeline.

Second, will require quick history lesson to show at no time did Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama walk into a room and declare, “Hey guys you know what would be a great idea? A new Islamic caliphate in the Levant!”

ISIS was originally formed in 1999 under the name “Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad” and was greatly expanded in 2003 by former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party who were out of a job after the George W. Bush-lead invasion of Iraq, which was based on faulty evidence. Without a strong-man dictator in the area and a weak Iraqi government, ISIS had a chance to expand even more by pledging allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and changed their name to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI or ISI) in 2004.

After years of fighting in the Iraqi Civil War and blowing themselves up, in 2011 some members of AQI saw an opportunity in the Syrian Civil War and left on an expedition calling themselves al-Nusra. Al-Nusra joined the Free Syrian Army (FEA), a loose confederation of different factions fighting the Assad Syrian government, and were known to be the largest, best organized, and most experienced, having fought an insurgent campaign against American forces since the start of the invasion of Iraq. This caused many Islamic fundamentalist FEA fighters leave their factions for al-Nusra, where their membership continued to grow. In December 2011, shortly after al-Nusra joined the FEA, President Obama declared the group a terrorist organization, and prevented them from receiving weapons from the US in the fight against the Assad government.

After political infighting Al-Qaeda disavowed AQI, and eventually AQI and al-Nusra merged together under the new name ISIS in 2013.

This is not the first time Donald Trump has made this false claim. Back in January 2nd at a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi he told the crowd that, “Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama.” On June 13th in an interview with Fox News and again in a tweet on June 15th, Trump suggested that President Obama was an ISIS sympathizer.

Media

Hugh Hewitt Show:

Speech at National Association of Home Builders:

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