FactCheck

False Claims About Kavanaugh’s Mom and Foreclosure

Q: Is Christine Blasey Ford accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault as retribution for her parents’ foreclosure case in the 1990s?

A: There is no evidence to support that claim, and her parents still live in that house.

FULL ANSWER

After President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh in July to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, a woman alleged in a confidential letter that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.

Christine Blasey Ford came out publicly as the woman who made the allegations in a Sept. 16 story in The Washington Post.

Since then, the backlash against her has been fast and fierce — from death threats to viral internet rumors.

One of the first rumors to emerge online claimed that Ford was motivated to come forward with her allegation because Kavanaugh’s mother had been one of the judges to preside over a foreclosure case against her parents and their suburban Maryland home.

That claim has been featured on several websites. The Gateway Pundit’s story — which falsely claimed “Judge Kavanaugh’s mother foreclosed on Christine Blasey Ford’s parents’ home” — was shared on social media pages with a combined following of more than 3 million, according to data from CrowdTangle.

However, there is no evidence that Ford’s decision to come forward with her allegation against Kavanaugh is connected to her parents’ foreclosure proceeding in the 1990s.

While it’s true that Martha Kavanaugh was one of two judges who handled the foreclosure case, initially filed in 1996, she was actually the judge who granted the bank’s motion to dismiss the case after the Blasey’s refinanced.

The couple stayed in the house and they still own it to this day, according to Maryland’s Department of Assessments and Taxation.

So, stories that make claims such as, “Martha Kavanaugh ruled against the parents of Christine Blasey-Ford in a foreclosure case,” are wrong. She didn’t rule against the Blaseys and she didn’t foreclose on them, either.

For her part, Ford told the Post that she had decided to come forward publicly with her allegation after initially wanting to avoid the exposure. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation,” she said in the Sept. 16 story.

Ford hasn’t mentioned anything publicly about her parents’ foreclosure proceeding, so any connection between it and her decision to come forward is pure speculation.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.

Sources

CNN. “Read the letter Christine Blasey Ford sent accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.” CNN.com. 17 Sep 2018.

Brown, Emma. “California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault.” The Washington Post. 16 Sep 2018.

Katz, Debra and Banks, Lisa. Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford. Letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 18 Sep 2018.

Hoft, Jim. “Bad Blood: Judge Kavanaugh’s Mother Presided Over Far Left Accuser’s Parents’ Home Foreclosure.” TheGatewayPundit.com. 17 Sep 2018.

CHRISTINE BLASEY-FORD MOTIVE: REVENGE – KAVANAUGH’S MOTHER JUDGE AGAINST PARENTS IN FORECLOSURE CASE 1996.” PacificPundit.com. 16 Sep 2018.

Moreno, Amy. “REPORT: Court Records Reveal a Sinister Connection Between Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh’s Family.” TruthFeedNews.com. 17 Sep 2018.

UMLIC-EIGHT CORP A NORTH CAROLINA CORP v. Blasey. Case number 156006V. Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Md. Filed 8 Aug 1996.

Blasey, Paula and Blasey, Ralph. Deed of trust — refinance. 17 Dec 1996.

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Property information — 17 Masters Ct. Potomac, MD  20854. Accessed 19 Sep 2018.

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Trump’s Fuzzy Medicare Math

President Donald Trump on several occasions has taken credit for making Medicare “stronger.” In one instance, he said, “Medicare will be $700 billion stronger over the next decade thanks to our growth.”

In fact, Medicare’s finances have worsened since he took office, and economic growth is not expected to help the program as much as he claims:

  • The latest Medicare trustees report says the Medicare Part A trust fund, which covers payments to hospitals, will run out of money by 2026, three years earlier than projected just last year. That’s partly because the tax cut law that Trump signed last year will reduce Medicare revenues and increase expenses.
  • Medicare remains on an unsustainable path. The annual cost for all four parts of Medicare — including physician payments and prescription drugs — is expected to more than double from $710 billion in 2017 to $1.44 trillion in 2027, and general revenues will increase as a share of Medicare financing from 41 percent in 2017 to 49 percent in 2032.
  • The Congressional Budget Office in April estimated that economic growth could increase all payroll tax revenues, including Social Security, by $92 billion over the next 10 years. That’s far short of Trump’s $700 billion figure, which he said was just for Medicare.
Financial Outlook Worsens

Trump made claims about strengthening Medicare — the health insurance program for senior citizens and the disabled — several times over the course of three days in early September.

In remarks at the White House on Sept. 5, Trump boasted that “we have done more as an administration than any other administration in already less than two years,” including on health care. “We’re saving Medicare,” he said.

A day later, while campaigning in Montana for Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, Trump said, “Matt Rosendale is going to make sure we’re not touching your Social Security and your Medicare is only going one way. That’s stronger.”

On Sept. 7, the president made the specific claim about the impact of economic growth on Medicare. His remarks came at a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Kristi Noem, who is running for governor of South Dakota against Democrat Billie Sutton. The winner will replace outgoing Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Trump, Sept. 7: Medicare will be $700 billion stronger over the next decade thanks to our growth. And I will tell you that Billie Sutton, and people like Billie Sutton, Democrats with a very strong liberal leaning, they’re going to destroy your Medicare and they’re going to destroy your Social Security. I’m leaving your social — it’s going to be left alone, your Social Security will be left alone. We’re not touching your Social [Security], we’re just going to make it stronger. We’re going to make the country stronger. We pay for things through growth. The way we’re growing right now will be able to pay for things that nobody thought possible. Remember during debates they’d say, “How are you going to do it?” I said, “We’re going to do it through growth.”

Medicare and budget experts we contacted said Medicare’s financial outlook has worsened and economic growth is not expected to provide much help.

“If anything, some of the administration’s actions appear to be working in the opposite direction, at least as measured by the status of the Medicare Part A trust fund,” Juliette Cubanski, associate director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Program on Medicare Policy, told us in an email.

Cubanski is referring to the Medicare trustees’ most recent annual report, which provides an updated projection on the financial status of the Hospital Insurance, or HI, trust fund.

Medicare is made up of four parts: Part A (payments to hospitals), Part B (payments to physicians), Part C (Medicare Advantage, or private insurance options) and Part D (prescription drug coverage). Those parts are funded by two funds: the Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund, which is funded primarily by a payroll tax paid by workers and their employers, and the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) trust fund, which is funded primarily through general revenue and beneficiary premiums. 

The Medicare Part A trust fund is designed to be self-supporting, but the trustee report warns that the financial outlook for the fund “has deteriorated as compared to the projections in last year’s annual report.”

The HI fund spent more on hospital payments than it received in income from 2008 through 2015, the report said. Although the fund had a slight surplus in 2016 and 2017 and a balance of about $200 billion prior to 2017, the trustees say deficit spending will return this year and accelerate in the coming decade, exhausting the fund earlier than expected.

“The estimated depletion date for the HI trust fund is 2026, 3 years earlier than in last year’s report,” the report said. At that point, Medicare would be able to pay only 91 percent of hospital expenses, as the table on page 29 shows. (The SMI trust fund, because of how it is structured, cannot be depleted.)

The trustees, in part, cited the tax cut law as a reason the HI fund is expected to run out of money more rapidly than previously expected.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that Trump signed in December repealed the so-called individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which requires people to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The repeal, which is effective in 2019, is expected to increase the number of uninsured Americans and that, in turn, will increase Medicare Disproportionate Share payments made to hospitals that serve large populations of low-income people without insurance.

“[T]he percentage of people without health insurance is expected to increase. Because the change in this percentage is a factor used in determining payments to Medicare disproportionate share hospitals for uncompensated care, these payments are expected to increase as well,” the trustees’ report said.

Also, about 8 percent of HI trust fund revenues come from a federal income tax on Social Security benefits. But the tax cut law reduced the federal income tax rates, meaning a portion of Social Security benefits will be taxed at a lower rate and generate less income for Medicare, as explained in a July report by the Congressional Research Service on Medicare’s finances.

“A stronger economy is definitely one of the factors that could help to shore up the status of the Medicare Part A trust fund, since the majority of funding for that comes from payroll taxes,” Cubanski, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said. “But all of the factors that affect Medicare financing would have to be going in a positive direction, whereas the administration has taken other steps that have actually made Medicare’s funding situation worse.”

As we said, Medicare Part A is just one part of the program for seniors and the disabled. In total, Medicare cost $710 billion in 2017 and about 41 percent of that was paid through general revenues (see Table II.B1). Total Medicare expenditures will more than double to about $1.44 trillion by 2027, as illustrated by the CRS chart below, and the share of general revenues will increase to 49 percent by 2032, the trustees report said.

Separately, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which Trump signed in February, will have a negative impact on all parts of Medicare, the trustees’ report said.

That law, among other things, repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member board created by the Affordable Care Act to reduce Medicare costs. As designed, the board would make recommendations for cutting spending that could only be overridden with a three-fifths majority of both houses of Congress, or Congress could institute its own reductions of an equal amount recommended by the IPAB. (The IPAB had not yet been formed.)

“The expenditures in this year’s report are higher than last year’s mostly due to (i) the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which eliminated the Independent Payment Advisory Board and removed payment caps for certain therapy services, and (ii) higher projected Medicare Advantage (MA) payments attributable to higher risk scores for beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans,” the report said. (Risk scores are estimates of the cost of care for beneficiaries.)

Economic Growth Projections

As for Trump’s claim that “Medicare will be $700 billion stronger over the next decade thanks to our growth,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Cubanski, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, were not aware of any economic projections that would improve Medicare’s finances by that amount.

The CRFB referred us to Table A-1 of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s April 2018 Budget and Economic Outlook, which projects the impact of economic revisions since June 2017 — including effects of newly enacted legislation and updated economic data. The CBO projected that the economic changes will result in an additional $92 billion in all payroll tax revenues, which includes Medicare and Society Security, over 10 years.

More than half of the additional economic growth was the result of recently enacted legislation, specifically the 2017 tax act, the 2018 budget act and the fiscal year 2018 appropriations law, the CBO report explained. “Updated data for key measures from the national income and product accounts (NIPAs) also led to economic revisions. (The NIPAs, which are produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, track components of the nation’s economic output and income that CBO uses in its economic analyses,)” CBO said.

So why did the president say Medicare will be $700 billion stronger over 10 years because of economic growth?

The White House told us that the president was referring to Medicare and Social Security, not just Medicare. It said the administration’s policies will result in “extra economic growth that is on track to add more than $700 billion to Medicare and Social Security revenues.”

More precisely, the White House estimates that economic growth will generate an additional $858 billion more in payroll taxes over 11 years, from 2018 to 2028, compared with CBO projections.

The White House took the administration’s nominal gross domestic product projections for each year from 2018 to 2028 (Table 1 of the White House’s Mid-Session Review of its fiscal 2019 budget proposal) and applied the CBO’s payroll tax revenue as a share of GDP for each year (Table 4-1 of CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook) to estimate total payroll tax revenues for those 11 years. It then subtracted CBO’s payroll tax revenue projections from its own and got $858 billion in additional payroll tax revenue due to growth from 2018 to 2028.

But there are three problems with that logic, beginning with the fact that it doesn’t support what the president said.

First, the president said he strengthened Medicare by $700 billion over 10 years, but the White House gave us the impact of economic growth on all payroll revenues — including Social Security, which is the largest.

We found that the White House (see Table S-4) estimates $129 billion more in Medicare tax revenue than CBO (see tab 4).

So, Trump is wrong about the impact of economic growth on Medicare even by his administration’s own numbers.

Second, the White House projects higher payroll tax revenues based on sustained economic growth through 2028. It projects real GDP will grow at an average annual rate of nearly 3 percent for the next decade — which is about a percentage point higher than most economic forecasters predict.

In August, CBO projected real GDP will grow 3.1 percent this year and 2.4 percent next year, but over the 10-year budget period, from 2018 to 2028, CBO projects an average annual growth rate of 1.9 percent.

The consensus among economic forecasters is that tax cuts and increased federal spending will stimulate the economy, but only in the short term, according to the CRFB.

For example, the most recent median forecast of the Federal Reserve Board members and Federal Reserve Bank presidents, released June 13, is for 2.8 percent in 2018, 2.4 percent in 2019 and 2.0 percent in 2020. But the “longer-run” median forecast is 1.8 percent. 

Third, although Trump says “we pay for things through growth,” the additional payroll tax revenue generated by economic growth — even at the level projected by the White House — is a small fraction of the cost of Social Security and Medicare.

The administration’s proposed budget for mandatory programs (Table S-4) shows that it expects to spend $8.75 trillion on Medicare from 2019 to 2028, but take in only $3.6 trillion in Medicare payroll taxes. As for Social Security, the administration expects to spend $13.66 trillion and take in only $11.6 trillion.

Budget experts say mandatory programs remain on track to consume an increasingly greater share of federal spending.

In its April report, CBO estimated that “spending for people age 65 or older in several large mandatory programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and military and federal civilian retirement programs” — will increase from 38 percent of federal spending in 2018 to 45 percent in 2028. (That does not include federal spending on interest.)

Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told us in an email: “There has been no major Social Security or Medicare legislation enacted, so the programs are essentially on the same path they were on before the President took office.”

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Clinton Goes Too Far in Criticizing Trump

In an op-ed, Hillary Clinton went too far with her criticism that President Donald Trump has shown a “complete unwillingness to stop” Russian interference in U.S. elections. The Trump administration has taken a number of steps to combat foreign interference in future elections.

Among them:

  • The Department of Homeland Security has developed partnerships in all 50 states to help state and local election officials defend against interference in their elections, providing services such as vulnerability assessments and expertise in technology security.
  • The FBI director says his agency has been working with social media and technology companies, sharing “specific threat indicators and account information, and a variety of other pieces of information so that they can better monitor their own platforms” to combat influence campaigns such as the one Russia engaged in during the 2016 election.
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence led an inter-agency working group of cyber and intelligence experts to improve election security.
  • Trump expanded sanctions against Russians who were involved in or facilitated interference in the 2016 election.
  • Trump signed an executive order that will, among other things, give the president discretion to impose sanctions on foreign countries that interfere in U.S. elections.

While the administration claims Trump has taken “historic actions” and implemented a “whole-of-government approach to safeguard our nation’s elections,” some have argued that the administration’s efforts have not gone far enough to effectively combat the problem. Others have faulted Trump for not taking a harder public stance against Russian interference. That’s fair for politicians to debate. But election security experts say the president and his administration have taken some positive steps to combat foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Clinton’s overreach reminds us of when Trump wrongly claimed that President Barack Obama “did nothing” in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election about Russia meddling in the election. As we wrote then, among other things, Obama spoke to Putin about the issue in September 2016, and his administration worked with state officials from mid-August until Election Day to prevent voting systems from being hacked.

Then, as now, the rhetoric about presidential inaction goes too far.

Clinton’s Op-Ed

Clinton’s comment came in an op-ed for The Atlantic, published on Sept. 16 under the headline “American Democracy Is in Crisis.” Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee who lost the 2016 election to Trump, argued that “the legitimacy of our elections is in doubt,” adding, “There’s Russia’s ongoing interference and Trump’s complete unwillingness to stop it or protect us.”

As we have written, Trump has sent mixed messages on Russian meddling, at times acknowledging that he believes U.S. intelligence officials who concluded Russians interfered in the 2016 election. Other times, he has tempered those statements with other comments such as, “Nobody really knows for sure,” or he has tweeted that the Russia investigation is “all a big hoax.”

Nonetheless, he and the administration — at his direction — have taken numerous steps to combat Russian election meddling.

“This appears to be one of those cases where the president’s words belie his actions,” said Charles Stewart III, a political science professor at MIT and one of the co-authors of a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on ways the government can work to protect U.S. elections from outside interference.

“The federal government has done quite a lot to address Russia’s ongoing interference with America’s elections,” Stewart told us via email. “Because some of this comes from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it is fair to say that the administration has clearly been working to address this interference. Other actions have come from parts of the executive branch, such as the special counsel and the Election Assistance Commission, that probably can’t be called ‘the administration,’ but is certainly part of the web of activities the administration has been involved with.”

“I know for a fact that the DHS has been quite active working with state and local election officials to enhance the cyber defenses of election administration,” Stewart said. “They have worked with dispatch (after some bureaucratic foot-dragging) to get top election officials in each state security clearances, so that they and other security agencies can share classified information about what they know. They are helping to establish information-sharing organizations, like the Government Coordinating Council and MS-ISAC. They have worked directly with state and local election offices to do things like security scans and audits. If there’s anything limiting DHS in this regard, it’s that their capacity is beginning to be outstripped by demand.”

A spokesperson for the National Association of State Election Directors told us via email, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) have been critical partners for state and local election officials in preparing for the November 6th midterm election and beyond. Both DHS and the EAC have provided guidance and best practices, and many states are taking advantage of free security services offered by DHS; those states that aren’t using DHS services are using private vendors or in-state resources to accomplish the same goals.”

Responding to criticism from some Democrats that it wasn’t addressing the problem, the White House put out a press release on Aug. 2 outlining a “whole-of-government approach to election security being implemented at [Trump’s] direction.”

The same day, a handful of Trump administration national security officials held a press conference to highlight the work being done to protect the integrity of the elections.

“The president has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority,” said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who warned in July that “the warning lights are blinking red again” with regard to foreign attacks on the U.S. digital infrastructure.

Efforts have been made, Coats said, “to share more information across the federal government, as well as with state and local governments, and also with the public and the private sector.”

Coats said he leads an “interagency working group” that meets weekly to ensure “election security and integration of our efforts.”

For DHS’ part, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said the agency has worked with state and local officials. “Whether it’s offering no-cost, voluntary technical assistance or sharing best practices for securing online voter registration databases, or providing technical advice on ransomware and destructive malware, our department stands ready to provide tailored support based on each jurisdiction’s unique needs,” she said.

To date, she said, “all 50 states, the District of Columbia and over 900 local governments have partnered with DHS in order to bolster the resilience of the nation’s election infrastructure.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said that shortly after becoming director he created “a new foreign influence taskforce at the FBI, which was designed to identify and counteract the full range of malign foreign influence operations targeting our democratic institutions and our values.”

Wray also talked about increased information- and intelligence-sharing with state and local government officials and the private sector.

The FBI also has been working with social media and technology companies, providing classified briefings and sharing “specific threat indicators and account information, and a variety of other pieces of information so that they can better monitor their own platforms,” Wray said. The special counsel’s office earlier this year indicted three Russian organizations and 13 Russian nationals for allegedly engaging in an extensive plot during the 2016 campaign to “produce, purchase, and post advertisements on U.S. social media and other online sites expressly advocating for the election of then-candidate Trump or expressly opposing Clinton,” according to the indictment.

The same day as the press conference, National Security Adviser John Bolton sent a letter to Senate Democrats highlighting the president’s actions “to ensure the integrity of our elections,” such as leveling sanctions against Russia, expelling Russian intelligence officers and sanctioning Russian oligarchs and companies they control, all as a result of the Russian interference in the election.

More recently, Trump issued an executive order on Sept. 12 declaring a “national emergency” to deal with the threat of foreign interference in U.S. elections.

Executive Order 13848, Sept. 12: I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the ability of persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States to interfere in or undermine public confidence in United States elections, including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

The order instructs the director of national intelligence to conduct a post-election “assessment of any information indicating that a foreign government, or any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of a foreign government, has acted with the intent or purpose of interfering in that election.” It also would give the president the discretion to impose sanctions on governments found to have improperly interfered in U.S. elections.

All of those efforts show some tangible progress by the administration to confront and combat the issue of foreign meddling in the U.S. elections, election security experts told us.

“On the positive side, numerous government agencies now have task forces focused on the threat of foreign interference in our elections or our democracy more broadly,” David Salvo, deputy director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan initiative that uses top national security experts to develop “comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions.”

“That shows there’s a general consensus across government that Russian interference will remain a challenge, reflecting public statements on the issue by several Cabinet officials,” Salvo told us via email. “There has also been an expansion of sanctions against Russian individuals who were involved in or facilitated interference operations in the United States and other forms of corruption.”

Could Be Doing More, Some Say

“You can’t say they are doing nothing,” said Jake Braun, a former White House liaison to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration who is now executive director of the University of Chicago’s Cyber Policy Initiative.

But Braun, Salvo and other experts say there are other actions Trump should and could be taking, but has not.

Braun told us in a phone interview that DHS has done cyber assessments and has distributed “Albert sensors,” which can identify bad actors in a network. But these have gone to a “tiny fraction” of the election districts in the country, Braun said. “While progress has been made, there is a lot more to be done.”

Added Salvo, “Through legislation, Congress has given the administration wide latitude to expand sanctions against Russian individuals and sectors to really raise the cost of conducting interference operations against U.S. democracy, and the administration hasn’t fully implemented that legislation. Furthermore, while the recent Executive Order is a positive step in terms of signaling the degree of seriousness with which the administration ostensibly views this threat, it still gives the president discretion whether to impose sanctions on those who interfere in our elections. There should be tripwires that trigger mandatory sanctions, as proposed in bipartisan legislation currently before Congress, rather than leaving everything for the president to decide.

“Finally, I’d say that until the signing of the Executive Order, President Trump hasn’t publicly demonstrated to the American people that he himself takes this threat seriously,” Salvo said. “It’s one thing for his Director of National Intelligence or Secretary of State to say they believe Russian interference remains a threat. It’s another entirely for President Trump to say so. Leadership from the highest levels is a critical form of deterrence to defend our democratic institutions and processes from foreign interference, and hopefully builds bipartisan consensus among American citizens and lawmakers that we need to take urgent action to defend against this threat. Going forward, we need more statements from the president that mirror his comments on the Executive Order.”

Stewart — who was part of a committee including computer science and cybersecurity experts, legal and election scholars, social scientists, and election officials that spent two years researching the issue for the National Academies — said a president who was “laser-focused on this issue” would:

  1. “State clearly that no one should mess with our election, and if they do, they should expect swift and meaningful retaliation.
  2. Go to Congress to make sure that s/he had the authority to meet the first threat credibly.
  3. Divert resources from other projects with the intelligence and security communities to respond to the various needs, big and small, that are evident right now.
  4. Work with Congress to craft a comprehensive election security bill that will address more medium- and long-term issues, to be passed now, even if only implemented after the election.”

“I think there’s evidence of less-than-full movement on points 1 & 3, a reluctance to do # 2, and too much timidity to take the lead on # 4,” Stewart said in an email.

And while Congress authorized $380 million in March for states to bolster election security, Democrats have faulted Trump for failing to convince Republicans to support an amendment proposed in August that would have provided an additional $250 million to states to help them protect their elections. The amendment was rejected in a 50-47 vote, largely along partisan lines. Explaining Republican opposition, Sen. James Lankford said he wanted to see how the initial $380 million was spent before considering additional funding.

Again, there is room for political debate about whether Trump has done enough to address election security and the threat of interference from Russia. But Clinton went too far with her assertion that Trump has shown a “complete unwillingness to stop” it.

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Bogus Jennifer Lawrence Quote on 9/11, Trump

Q: Did Jennifer Lawrence link 9/11 with the election of President Trump?

A: No. There is no record of the actress ever saying the quote attributed to her.

FULL ANSWER

A Facebook meme that implicitly attributes a nonsensical quote to Jennifer Lawrence that links 9/11 with the election of President Donald Trump has garnered more than 11,000 shares in recent days.

But we could find no record of the actress ever making the statement in the photo, uploaded Sept. 14 to a Facebook page called “Capitalism.”

“It makes me sad on 9/11,” the meme reads, “to know that the Twin Towers and all the people inside them would still be here if Trump had not stolen the election.”

The photo cites no interview or source for the statement, and there is no evidence Lawrence even suggested a connection between Trump’s win and the terrorist attacks that took place 15 years prior to his election — a bizarre idea that defies logic and common sense.

Some commenters on Facebook seemed to realize that the quote didn’t pass muster. One woman remarked, “It’s a meme, people on FB should realize by now not to believe everything you see.”

But throughout the thousands of comments left on the photo were many betraying users’ apparent belief in the quote.

“Ignorance at it’s worst. This poor child must not be able to read, or think. Where do these crazy ideas come from??” one woman commented. Another replied, “Liberal schools!”

Lawrence has been a critic of Trump: In a 2017 interview with Oprah Winfrey, she suggested that she would throw a martini in his face if she ever met him.

She also has expressed her dismay with his election in other interviews, too.

“When Donald Trump got elected, my head exploded,” Lawrence said (at the 5:30-minute mark) during an event in New York City earlier this year. “I felt helpless, I felt scared, I felt devastated. And I found that the only thing that I could actually do is educate myself.”

Naming issues such as the environment, public education, health care and immigration, she added: “Everything that I care about is all affected by corruption and it doesn’t actually matter who we have in office, these problems are going to exist either way — that is what we have to fix. We have to have a fair democracy where these corporations and billionaires are not able to buy votes from the people that we the American people elect into office.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.

Sources

Facebook Live interview with Jennifer Lawrence. The Wing (Soho). Facebook. 23 Feb 2018.

Winfrey, Oprah. “The Jennifer Lawrence Interview, by Oprah Winfrey.” The Hollywood Reporter. 6 December 2017.

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