nice try
July 13, 2018

President Trump denied criticizing British Prime Minister Theresa May when taking questions from the press Friday, despite there being easily accessible audio of his scathing interview with British tabloid The Sun. "I didn't criticize the prime minister," Trump falsely claimed. "I have a lot of respect for the prime minister. And unfortunately there was a story that was done, which was generally fine, but it didn't put in what I said about the prime minister, and I said tremendous things."

Trump then appeared to contradict himself by saying "fortunately we tend to record stories now, so we have it for your enjoyment," adding "it's called fake news," although it isn't clear how an audio recording of his interview could be fake news.

In his interview with The Sun, Trump slammed May over her "soft" Brexit plan, which has put May's standing as the head of the Conservative Party in jeopardy. "I actually told Theresa May how to do [Brexit], but she didn't listen to me," Trump said in the Sun interview, and then mused that May's Conservative Party rival, Boris Johnson, "would be a great prime minister."

Later in the press conference, Trump slammed reporter Kristen Welker after a question about Russia. "Of course that's coming from NBC, which is possibly worse than CNN," he said, adding that her question was "dishonest reporting." In denying a query from CNN anchor Jim Acosta, Trump said that "CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN," and then called on "John Roberts of Fox. Let's go to a real network."

Watch Trump's response about May below, and listen to the "fake news" audio here. Jeva Lange

December 21, 2017

Fox News host Sean Hannity went to dunk on NBC News on Thursday morning, only for the result to be so confusing that some people are convinced he actually just dunked on himself. The whole thing started when the host tweeted links to NBC News stories while calling out "fake news @CNN" and "conspiracy TV @NBCNews."

People quickly pointed out the evident error in Hannity's attack:

Hannity had at least one defender, though:

Still, not everyone was convinced:

Either way, this appears to be less of a dunk — and more of an air ball. Jeva Lange

November 16, 2017

Rick Gates, the business associate of President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is arguing that he should be released from house arrest so he can do things like, you know, take his kids to birthday parties.

Gates and Manafort were both arrested in October as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sweeping probe, and the pair face a dozen charges, including financial crimes and conspiracy against the United States. Mueller's team believes Manafort and Gates are serious flight risks, and the pair are required to check in with authorities daily. Additionally, they are only allowed to leave their homes to meet with lawyers, appear in court, or for religious or medical reasons, Newsweek reports. Hence house arrest.

Nevertheless, Mueller's team writes that an optimistic Gates submitted a motion to "modify the conditions of his release," including to be allowed to leave "every weekday morning (to take his children to school); every weekday afternoon (for after school activities, including 'birthdays and other gatherings with classmates and friends'); on weekends; for holidays (including Christmas more than a month away); and to allow him to conduct his consulting business."

Mueller was not amused. "The defendant makes this request without the posting of a single asset or the signature of a single surety" to meet his $5 million bail, Mueller's team wrote in a skeptical opposition, adding that Gates' actions to date are "not sufficient to warrant the modifications to his release conditions the defendant now seeks." Read the opposition below. Jeva Lange

June 30, 2017

During joint statements at the White House on Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Trump took a swipe at the existing trade deal between the U.S. and South Korea. "You know who signed it, you know who wanted it," Trump said. The free trade agreement was in fact sponsored by former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and initially signed by former President George W. Bush.

Trump announced during his visit with Moon that the U.S. is negotiating a new deal with South Korea that "will be good for the American worker." "[H]opefully it will be an equitable deal, it will be a fair deal for both parties," Trump said.

Trump said he and Moon also discussed their "options" for how to deal with North Korea. Declaring the "era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime" over, Trump called for a "determined response" to North Korea's nuclear program. Becca Stanek

June 28, 2017

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's criticism of ObamaCare on Wednesday fell flat after it was held up against the facts. In a tweet, Spicer demanded "relief" for the 28.2 million Americans who are "still waiting under ObamaCare and remain uninsured":

Twitter, being Twitter, was quick to point out that this was in fact a far better rate of uninsured Americans than if Republicans' health-care plan were to become law. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that an additional 22 million people would be uninsured by 2026 under Senate Republicans' proposed plan than if ObamaCare were to remain the law of the land.

Moreover, the statistic Spicer just blasted actually marks the lowest number ever of uninsured Americans, Washington University health economist Timothy McBride pointed out. Before ObamaCare, 50 million Americans were uninsured. Becca Stanek

May 4, 2017

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed Thursday that the real reason the American Health Care Act wasn't scored by the Congressional Budget Office ahead of the House vote is because it is "impossible to score." "Even if they were to score it, it's impossible to score a lot of the things that will go into this," Sanders said, just as the House convened to vote on the scoreless bill.

Sanders noted that "even if it was to be scored" — which it will be, as early as next week — it would be "'impossible to predict how that might actually affect the impact' of provisions in the legislation," The Washington Examiner reported.

The New York Times' Glenn Thrush tweeted he'd "never heard this before," pointing out the very point of the CBO's existence is "to score complex legislation." Becca Stanek

October 24, 2016

Donald Trump claimed at a rally in Florida on Monday that when the polls are done "properly," he's actually in the lead. The problem, Trump explained, is that many polls are "rigged" because of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta, who Trump says pushes for "oversampling Democrats." "It's called voter suppression," Trump said, "because people will say, 'Oh, gee, Trump's down.' Well, folks, we're winning."

Trump hinged his claim on an email published by WikiLeaks, in which someone in an email chain with Podesta apparently recommended "oversamples for our polling" so the campaign could "maximize what we get out of our media polling." Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall explained just how far off Trump's interpretation of the email actually is:

You'll note for starters that that the email is from 2008 and Podesta is neither the sender nor the recipient. But that's just a footnote. More importantly, what Tom Matzzie is talking about is the campaign/DNC's own polls. Campaigns do extensive, very high quality polling to understand the state of the race and devise strategies for winning. These are not public polls. So they can't affect media polls and they can't have anything to do with voter suppression. [Talking Points Memo]

Moreover, Marshall pointed out there seems to be some confusion about the word "oversampling." Contrary to Trump's claim that "oversampling" skews a poll's results, the "over-sample" is actually not included in the poll's overall results; instead, over-polling a certain demographic is generally used as a way for pollsters to get "statistically significant data on that group," Marshall wrote.

Looks like Trump might need to keep searching for evidence to explain his polling problems — or then again, he could always revisit his admission from earlier in the day that he is, in fact, "somewhat behind in the polls." Becca Stanek

October 13, 2016

Donald Trump's surrogates have attempted to deny a torrent of accusations of sexual harassment and assault plaguing the Republican nominee, to varying degrees of success. One of the less impressive attempts came from Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who denied a story by The New York Times accusing Trump of groping a woman on an airplane because "we're talking about the early 1980s."

"Back then, you had planes, what, a DC-9, a DC-10, and MD-80, 707, and maybe an L-1011?" Pierson told Don Lemon. "First-class seats have fixed armrests … There are fixed seats on first class, so if it happened, it wasn't by Donald Trump."

The entire CNN panel snickered through Pierson's lame defense, with Lemon finally interrupting: "Okay Katrina," he said. "We'll get our aviation expert here to talk about the airplane."

But before they could return to the question of armrests, the internet had already started to fact-check:

It looks like Pierson memorized all those plane models for naught. Jeva Lange

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