Kellyanne Conway, who will be a senior adviser in Donald Trump's White House, had a heated discussion with CNN's Anderson Cooper this week over the veracity of a story produced by the network. During the discussion, Conway disputed the accuracy of CNN's report that the heads of four intelligence agencies presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.
"What's inaccurate about what CNN reported?" Cooper asked.
"Oh my goodness, the whole headline," she replied. "Go read the entire story. Four bylines and a story that's just not true that the President-elect was presented with this information that it was appended in a two-page document to the briefing. NBC has said it was not. Other people have said it was not."
Let's take a look at that.
NBC merely cited an unnamed source who said that these unverified reports of Russia's efforts were not verbally communicated to Trump during the meeting. The NBC report clearly stated "a summary of the unverified reports was prepared as background material for the briefing, but not discussed at the meeting."
In addition, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed the material was provided to Trump when he said in a statement Wednesday, "part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security."
This one is clearly FALSE.
Trump on 96 million workers out of the job market:
This one is a hardy perennial for Trump. He has referenced it several times. He cited it once again at his press conference, casting the job market as weaker than it truly is.
"96 million really wanting a job and they can't get. You know that story. The real number. That's the real number," he said.
Here's the real deal on that stat: Some 93.8 million people are not in the labor force, but the vast majority of them don't want a job, according to the most recent quarterly data from the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Some 44 million are retired, 15.3 million are disabled, 13.3 million are taking care of a family member and another 13.2 million are in college or job training. They are listed as not wanting a job.
Some economists argue that the official unemployment figure -- 7.5 million in December -- understates the true state of the job market because it only counts people who are out of a job and have looked for work in the past four weeks.
A wider measure of unemployment includes people who've left the labor force but want a job, and part-timers who want full-time positions. Altogether, these three types of job-seekers total about 16 million, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Because 16 million is a far cry from 96 million, we rate Trump's claim as FALSE.
Trump's claim he has no business ties with Russia:
During his press conference, Trump declared emphatically, "I have no deals in Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we've stayed away. ... We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to. I just don't want to because I think that would be a conflict."
Trump clearly has attempted to cut deals there in the past. As recently as 2013, the President-elect was negotiating a deal with Aras Agalarov, a Russian billionaire, to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a Washington Post investigation. Agalarov told the Post that although the plan to bring the Trump brand to Moscow didn't pan out, he hopes his family can partner with the Trumps at some point in the future.
Trump also has been trying unsuccessfully to build a Trump tower in Moscow for three decades. In 1987, he visited the Soviet Union with his first wife, Ivana, and announced plans to develop a luxury hotel there. Nine years later, he filed paperwork to trademark the name Trump Tower in Russia and subsequently registered other business names like Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home, according to a CNN Money report.
"Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment," Trump said during a 2007 court deposition. "We will be in Moscow at some point."
Trump journeyed to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe Pageant, schmoozed with a clutch of oligarchs at a nightspot and ultimately collected $14 million from Russians who invested in the beauty contest, according to the Washington Post.
Trump's son, Donald Jr., made a half dozen business trips to Russia in 2007 and 2008 on behalf of the Trump Organization, according to the travel industry publication eTurboNews.
"In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York," Trump Jr. said in the eTurboNews story. "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."
Indeed. Trump earned nearly $100 million when he sold a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch named Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2008. During a press conference in July, Trump said that the sale of the mansion was his one and only link to Russia.
It is true that there are no Trump-branded properties under construction in Moscow or elsewhere in the country but there is no way to verify the President-elect's claim that he is completely clear of business links to Russia without seeing his tax returns. Without them, we cannot determine if his claim is true or not true.
Pompeo: ISIS in control:
At his confirmation hearing for CIA director, Mike Pompeo seems to overstate the amount of territory ISIS controls.
"This is the most complicated threat environment the United States has faced in recent memory," Pompeo told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That may be true, but what was the first piece of evidence Pompeo cited as proof of ISIS's reach? "ISIS remains a resilient movement that still controls major urban centers in the Middle East," Pompeo said.
No doubt ISIS is resilient. But the only major urban center it controls today is Raqqa a modest-sized city in Eastern Syria, hardly a major center like Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad, or even Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city. ISIS is currently fighting against America-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces to maintain its hold on Mosul, Iraq's second largest city. It's hard to say that it's in "control" there. To say that ISIS "controls major urban centers" is, at best, MISLEADING.
Tillerson on whether he opposed sanctions:
At his confirmation hearing, Rex Tillerson, the nominee for Secretary of State, startled senators by stating flatly that he never worked against economic sanctions against Russia and Iran when he was CEO of Exxon-Mobil. "I have never lobbied against sanctions, personally," and "To my knowledge, Exxon never lobbied directly against sanctions, not to my knowledge," Tillerson said.
There may be a kind of rhetorical tap-dancing going on here. After the Obama administration slapped economic sanctions against Russia in 2014, Tillerson, whose company could have lost out in billions of dollars in Russian oil deals, told Exxon-Mobil shareholders, "We do not support sanctions, generally, because we do not find them to be effective.
Documents also show that Exxon-Mobil did lobby Congress about the sanctions, although Tillerson says the company was just making sure lawmakers were aware of the impact sanctions would have, not necessarily that Congress should halt them.
This kind of hair-splitting leads us to brand this claim: MISLEADING.