Jake Tapper Fact-Checks Trump-Mueller Poster: White House Just Blatantly Asserts His Lies Now
On a final, fact-check segment of his show Wednesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper executed a thorough takedown of the many false claims contained in a poster that the White House displayed to accompany an impromptu press conference by President Donald Trump.
The poster hanging on Trump’s lectern was part of a bizarre moment on Wednesday where he abruptly stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and then headed directly to the Rose Garden, where he angrily complained about the ongoing investigations into his 2016 campaign and presidency. That the poster was already present on the lectern before Trump arrived strongly suggested that his tirade against Congressional oversight was planned in advance.
Tapper zeroed in on the poster’s claims, which echoed many of Trump’s longstanding talking points about the Mueller report.
The first of these was the special counsel investigation’s price tag, which the poster claimed was $35 million.
“It’s not clear where the president got that figure,” Tapper said. “What we do know is, according to the latest information from the Justice Department, which goes through September of last year, Mueller’s specific expenses were around $12 million. The final price tag will no doubt be higher than that, but the data is not public. Where he got $35 million from? No idea.”
As for the infamous “18 angry Democrats” line, a claim that Trump perpetually deploys to dismiss the Mueller probe as politically biased, Tapper explained that Mueller hired 19 lawyers and just 13 of them were registered Democrats.
“Their boss, Robert Mueller, of course, is a well-known Republican,” Tapper pointed out, “as is former deputy Attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the probe and appointed Mueller. Two Republicans that the president always forgets to mention when he calls them Democrats.”
On the poster’s “No Collusion” and “No Obstruction” claims, those too were misleading, if not outright false. To fact-check the former, Tapper read directly from the Mueller report’s conclusions, which he noted found “there was not a prosecutable case for conspiracy against the president, but noted, quote, ‘the investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.'” As to obstruction, “Mueller did not exonerate the president on obstruction,” Tapper noted, again citing the Mueller report verbatim, which said: “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime on obstruction, it also does not exonerate him.” In fact, the report found at least 10 instances which may have constituted obstruction by the president.
The White House poster did accurately convey the length of the Mueller investigation as well as the number of subpoenas issued and the witnesses who testified. “Yay! he got that right,” Tapper dryly noted.
But overall, the poster’s broadly misleading claims caused Tapper to call out a dangerous trend at work in a Trump White House that continues to have an arm’s length relationship with reality.
“Now, there was a time in the Trump presidency in which his people would try to either explain his falsehoods as somehow in the neighborhood of something possibly accurate, or – they would just change the subject,” Tapper concluded. “But there has been a long, slow slide into just taking his lies and asserting them to you. And you are paying for those lies, in more ways than just making a sign.”
Watch video above, via CNN.
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