Fact check: Trump's Orlando rally

76-minute speech had over 15 false statements

By Daniel Dale, CNN

(CNN) - President Donald Trump kicked off his formal reelection campaign Tuesday night with a rally in Orlando. His 76-minute speech featured more than 15 false statements, many of them ones that he's repeated frequently in the past.

Here's a fact check:


Trump boasted about his administration's energy policies.

"And we've ended the last administration's cruel and heartless law on American energy. What they were doing to our energy should never be forgotten. The United States is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world."

"We are, by the way, the number-one producer of energy in the world because of what we've done right now."

Facts First: The US was the world's number-one energy producer before Trump took office — since 2012, under the very president Trump accused of waging the heartless war.

The government's official source for energy data, the Energy Information Administration, said in 2016: "US petroleum and natural gas production first surpassed Russia in 2012, and the United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2011 and the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013."

It is crude oil production in particular in which the US became top in the world under Trump, according to the EIA: it surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia in 2018.


Trump suggested the Russian investigation was illegal and criticized the amount of money it had cost.

"We accomplished more than any other president has in the first two and a half years of a presidency, and under circumstances that no president has had to deal with before, because we did, in the middle of the great and illegal witch hunt, things that nobody have been able to accomplish, not even close."

Facts First: There is simply no evidence that the investigation into the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia was illegal.

Trump has previously argued that the investigation was illegally launched because there was "no crime." Immediate proof of a crime is not required to make a probe legal, and the probe eventually resulted in the convictions of multiple Trump associates.

"And they spent $40 million on this witch hunt, $40 million. That's right. They spent $40 million, probably a hell of a lot more than that."

Facts First: We do not yet know the total cost of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Mueller's office reported spending a total of about $12 million from his appointment in May 2017 through September 2018, and there were about $13 million in related Department of Justice expenses over that period. Mueller's office remained open for eight months after September 2018, so it is likely that the total is at least several million above $25 million.

(The Mueller investigation generated revenue as well as expenses: the US government is expected to receive $11 million as a result of asset forfeitures from Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman whose convictions Mueller secured.)

Trump criticized President Obama's handling of the situation with Russia in 2016.

"And in September, just before the election, the FBI told President Obama about possible Russian interference, and he did nothing, because he thought that Hillary Clinton, Crooked Hillary, was going to win, that's why he did nothing. He did nothing."

Facts First: Obama has received widespread criticism for not acting more aggressively when he was informed in 2016 of the reported Russian interference, but it is not true that he did "nothing" at all.

Obama authorized an extraordinary public statement in October 2016 blaming the hacking on "Russia's senior-most officials," and top administration officials issued multiple warnings to top Russian officials. Obama has said that he himself told Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, at a G20 meeting in September 2016, "to cut it out," and that "there were going to be serious consequences if he didn't." After the election, in December 2016, Obama imposed sanctions on Russia.

The Wall

Trump claimed Democrats had previously voted for a border wall.

"And you know we couldn't get the wall approved by the Democrats, even though they voted for it four years ago and six years ago and didn't get built, but they voted for it. All of a sudden, Trump is president, 'We don't want a wall.'"

Facts First: Some Democrats — notably excluding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — voted in 2006 for the Secure Fence Act, which authorized 700 miles of border fencing. But the fencing was different than the Trump campaign proposal the Democrats opposed 10 years later, which was for a giant concrete wall.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump himself called the fencing "such a little wall" and "such a nothing wall," making clear that he did not see it as analogous to his plans. Democrats also endorsed border fencing as part of the failed 2013 "Gang of Eight" comprehensive immigration reform bill. That, however, was part of a compromise package in which undocumented immigrants would be given a path to citizenship — so Democrats did not go from supporting a standalone fence proposal to opposing that same kind of proposal.

Fencing authorized in 2006 did get built. According to the Government Accountability Office, the US government added 354 miles of primary pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of primary vehicle fencing between 2005 and 2015, increasing "the total miles of primary border fencing on the southwest border from 119 miles to 654 miles."


Trump suggested the environment has improved under his administration.

"Our air and water are the cleanest they've ever been by far."

Facts First: After a prolonged period of improvement, US air quality is now getting worse, according to the American Lung Association, which has produced an annual data report on the subject for 20 years.

The association said this year that "in 2015-2017, more cities had high days of ozone and short-term particle pollution compared to 2014-2016." The association said: 141.1 million people lived in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone and/or particle pollution, an increase of more than 7.2 million Americans since the last annual report.

Eight cities recorded their highest number of days with unhealthy spikes in particle pollution since the nation began monitoring this pollutant 20 years ago. "And the nation recorded more days with air quality considered hazardous, when air quality reached 'emergency conditions' — Maroon on the air quality index — than ever before."

Clinton's emails

Trump went after former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server.

"Thirty-three thousand emails deleted, think of it. I keep mentioning, you know, there was a lot of corruption on the other side. But you know, the simplest thing: they get a subpoena from the United States Congress and they decide that they're not going to give it. So, Lindsey Graham, they did delete and they acid wash, which is very expensive. Nobody does it. They acid wash those emails, never to be seen again. But we may find them somewhere deep in the State Department."

Facts First: A server company working for Hillary Clinton deleted these emails using a free software program called BleachBit. BleachBit is not expensive. It involves neither actual bleach nor acid.

The emails were indeed deleted, in March 2015, three weeks after the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a subpoena seeking the retention of Clinton emails. The server company employee told the FBI that he had deleted the emails after belatedly realizing he had forgotten to carry out a request made by Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, prior to the subpoena, to change Clinton's email policy so that messages more than 60 days old would be automatically purged.

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