President Donald Trump has deployed an array of claims to undercut the substance, process and key figures of the Democratic-driven impeachment investigation.
Many were wrong. PolitiFact named one our 2019 Lie of the Year. Here are 10 other significant ones we heard and fact-checked in 2019.
1. “What is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP.”
Pants on Fire. There are lots of different kinds of coups, and what’s underway in Washington doesn’t match any of them. A coup is the sudden removal of a leader, outside of any regular or legal process. The constitutional convention of 1787 established impeachment as one of the guardrails of American governance.
2. “They gave the server to Crowdstrike or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. And I still want to see that server, you know the FBI has never gotten that server, that’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”
Hollow conspiracy theory. Crowdstrike is a California cybersecurity company that is owned by Americans, not anyone in Ukraine. The DNC hired the firm in 2016 after Russian agents hacked its servers. The notion that any servers –– the DNC’s or Hillary Clinton’s –– wound up in Ukraine is a myth, ginned up on internet sites like Reddit and 4chan.
3. “Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and the rest of the corrupt Democrats made a promise to their crazy left-wing base that they would impeach me even BEFORE I took office.”
False. Pelosi and Schiff were very late to impeachment, pushing back against calls that came from more fiery members of their party. In the irony department: The day Trump had his call with Zelensky, July 25, Schiff told CNN that the country shouldn’t be put through impeachment.
4. Says Joe Biden “said he never spoke to the Ukrainian company, and then the picture came out where he was playing golf with the company boss and Hunter” Biden.
False. There’s a picture of Biden and three others on a Long Island golf course. None of them owned or ran the Ukrainian gas company that hired Biden’s son.
5. “Longstanding whistleblower rules (were changed) just before submittal of the fake whistleblower report.”
False. The same rules have been in place since 2014, when they were first written to protect intelligence worker whistleblowers. There was a recent change in the forms whistleblowers submit, but that had no effect on what was required for a whistleblower report to move forward.
6. “Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its prosecutor …. the prosecutor said he was forced out for leading a corruption probe into Hunter Biden’s company. … Democrats want to impeach President Trump for discussing this investigation with Ukraine’s President.”
False. This Trump campaign ad would have people believe that there was an active investigation in 2015 of the Ukrainian energy company that hired Biden’s son Hunter. But the investigation had been sidelined –– by the prosecutor Biden said should be replaced.
7. “They never thought … that I was going to release that call and I really had no choice because Adam Schiff made up a call.”
False. Trump has things backward. First he released the memo that described his July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Schiff then delivered a dramatized “essence” of the call the next day.
8. “Europe and other nations (need to) contribute to Ukraine. Because they’re not doing it. Just the United States. We’re putting up the bulk of the money.”
Mostly False. The European Union and member nations gave much more to Ukraine than the United States. Depending on how you count, it was $12 billion to $15 billion, compared to $1.5 billion from the United States. The American aid was largely military, however, while Europe’s was aimed at economic development and boosting government capacity in Ukraine.
9. Says William Taylor and George Kent, two public witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry, are “Never Trumpers.”
False. Both Taylor and Kent are career officials, who served under Republican and Democratic presidents, and were appointed to their current jobs on Trump’s watch. Neither signed letters opposing Trump, and those who did sign say Taylor and Kent never associated with the group.
10. “A lot of people are talking about” the removal of a “very fair prosecutor” in Ukraine.
False. The Ukrainian prosecutor Trump referred to was well known for playing a familiar game in Ukraine of pursuing or dropping investigations as a form of political punishment or reward. That’s why the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the U.S. State Department wanted him gone.