AP Fact Check: Trump Takes Falsehoods to Youth Audience

President Donald Trump on Tuesday told young people a number of falsehoods he’s been relating to adults for months and took a misleading swipe at the female Democratic lawmakers he’s trying to turn into foils.A sampling of his remarks at a Turning Point USA gathering of conservative youth:Trump, on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York: “She called our country and our people garbage. She said garbage. That’s worse than deplorable. Remember deplorable?”The facts: Ocasio-Cortez did not label people “garbage.” She did use that term, somewhat indirectly, to describe the state of the country.Arguing for a liberal agenda at a South by Southwest event in March, she said the U.S. shouldn’t settle for centrist policies because they would produce only marginal improvement — “10% better” than the “garbage” of where the country is now.Trump has been assailing Ocasio-Cortez and three other liberal Democratic women of color in the House for more than a week, ever since he posted tweets saying they should “go back” to their countries, though all are U.S. citizens and all but one was born in the U.S.Voter fraudTrump: “And when they’re saying all of this stuff, and then those illegals get out and vote — because they vote anyway. Don’t kid yourself, those numbers in California and numerous other states, they’re rigged.  You got people voting that shouldn’t be voting. They vote many times, not just twice, not just three times. They vote — it’s like a circle. They come back, they put a new hat on. They come back, they put a new shirt. And in many cases, they don’t even do that.  You know what’s going on. It’s a rigged deal.”The facts: Trump has produced no evidence of widespread voting fraud by people in the country illegally or by any group of people. 
 
He tried, but the commission he appointed on voting fraud collapsed from infighting and from the refusal of states to cooperate when tapped for reams of personal voter data, like names, partial Social Security numbers and voting histories. Studies have found only isolated cases of voter fraud in recent U.S. elections and no evidence that election results were affected. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt found 31 cases of impersonation fraud, for example, in about 1 billion votes cast in elections from 2000 to 2014. 
 
Trump has falsely claimed that 1 million fraudulent votes were cast in California and cited a Texas state government report that suggested 58,000 people in the country illegally may have cast a ballot at least once since 1996. But state elections officials subsequently acknowledged serious problems with the report, as tens of thousands on the list were actually U.S. citizens.U.S. economyTrump: “We have the best economy in history.”The facts: No matter how often he repeats this claim, the economy is nowhere near the best in the country’s history.In fact, in the late 1990s, growth topped 4% for four straight years, a level it has not reached on an annual basis under Trump. Growth reached 7.2% in 1984. The economy grew 2.9% in 2018 — the same pace it reached in 2015 under President Barack Obama — and simply hasn’t hit historically high growth rates.The economy is now in its 121st month of growth, making it the longest expansion in history. Most of that took place under Obama.Unemployment rateTrump: “The best employment numbers in history.”The facts: They are not the best ever.The 3.7% unemployment rate in the latest report is not a record low. It’s near the lowest level in 50 years, when it was 3.5%. The U.S. also had lower rates than now in the early 1950s. And during three years of World War II, the annual rate was under 2%.Employment numbersTrump: “The most people working, almost 160 million, in the history of our country.”The facts: Yes, but that’s only because of population growth.A more relevant measure is the proportion of Americans with jobs, and that is still far below record highs.According to Labor Department data, 60.6% of people in the United States 16 years and older were working in June. That’s below the all-time high of 64.7% in April 2000, though higher than the 59.9% when Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.Veterans ChoiceTrump, on his efforts to help veterans: “I got Choice.” 
 The facts: He is not the president who “got” the Veterans Choice program, which gives veterans the option to see private doctors outside the Department of Veterans Affairs medical system at government expense. 
 
Obama got it. Congress approved the program in 2014, and Obama signed it into law. Trump expanded it.NATOTrump: “We’re paying close to 100% on NATO.”The facts: The U.S. is not “paying close to 100%” of the price of protecting Europe.NATO has a shared budget to which each member makes contributions based on the size of its economy. The United States, with the biggest economy, pays the biggest share, about 22%.Four European members — Germany, France, Britain and Italy — combined pay nearly 44% of the total. The money, about $3 billion, runs NATO’s headquarters and covers certain other civilian and military costs.Defending Europe involves far more than that fund. The primary cost of doing so would come from each member country’s military budget, as the alliance operates under a mutual defense treaty.The U.S. is the largest military spender, but others in the alliance have armed forces, too. The notion that almost all costs would fall to the U.S. is false. In fact, NATO’s Article 5, calling for allies to act if one is attacked, has only been invoked once, and it was on behalf of the U.S., after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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US Jury Convicts Business Partner of ex-Trump Adviser of Secretly Lobbying for Turkey

A jury on Tuesday convicted Bijan Rafiekian, who was the business partner of U.S. President Donald Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, on charges of secretly lobbying for Turkey.Rafiekian, co-founder of the consultancy firm Flynn Intel Group, was accused of conspiring to lobby on Turkey’s behalf to try to persuade the U.S. government to extradite Fetullah Gulen, whom Turkey has blamed for orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.Rafiekian was indicted in December, along with Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-Dutch businessman, and was charged on two counts – conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government and making false statements to the Justice Department, and acting as a foreign agent.A Justice Department spokesman, Joshua Stueve, said Rafiekian was found guilty on both counts, after a week-long trial in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Sentencing was set for Oct. 18.Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general whose brief tenure in 2017 as part of Trump’s inner circle is still causing legal aftershocks, was not charged with Rafiekian.But the case could influence how U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan sentences Flynn later this year, following Flynn’s guilty plea in December 2017 of having lied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators about his contacts with Russian officials.FILE – Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn departs after his sentencing was delayed at U.S. District Court in Washington,Dec.18, 2018.Flynn previously agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors and testify against Rafiekian, known as “Kian,” in hopes of getting a lighter sentence. But in a reversal earlier this month, U.S. prosecutors canceled plans to call him as a witness.While Flynn has not renounced his guilty plea, his new lawyers say he did not knowingly submit anything false when retroactively registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in early 2017.Stueve said Flynn did not testify in court in the Rafiekian case.Tensions With TurkeyThe trial, which began on July 15, the third anniversary of Turkey’s failed coup that killed 251 people and wounded more than 1,500, could have implications for already strained ties between Ankara and Washington.Throughout the proceedings, U.S. prosecutors built a case to show Rafiekian and Alptekin acted with direction from the Turkish government and did not disclose their lobbying campaign to return Gulen, who lives in a fortified compound in Pennsylvania, to Turkey.The Turkish government has denied engaging in a conspiracy to evade U.S. regulations requiring foreign government lobbyists to register with the Justice Department.Alptekin, who remained abroad throughout the trial, had denied the allegations through a representative. He was charged with six counts, including making false statements and acting as an agent of a foreign government.He criticized the jury’s decision on Twitter on Tuesday, saying that “an innocent man was convicted.””I feel terrible for Bijan Kian and for Gen. Flynn. They did nothing wrong,” he added.

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Громадяни США іранського походження позиваються до уряду, щоб побачити родичів

Родини в Сполучених Штатах, які намагаються побачитися зі своїми родичами з Ірану та ще чотирьох переважно мусульманських країн, звернулися в штаті Каліфорнія з позовною заявою. Вони вимагають скасувати запроваджені адміністрацією президента США Дональда Трампа заборони.

Група громадян і резидентів США вказує, що вони змушені впродовж місяців на дозволи, які надаються лише на індивідуальній основі. Захисники говорять, що не існує жодної формальної процедури подачі такої заяви.

«У них немає інших варіантів, і тому єдиною надією у них є суд», – сказав адвокат позивачів Кертіс Моррісон.

Міністерство національної безпеки США ще не відреагувало на запит про коментар з цього приводу.

Крім Ірану, запроваджена адміністрацією Трампа заборона також поширюється на Лівію, Сомалі, Сирію, Ємен, Північну Корею, а також на чиновників із Венесуели.

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Justice Department Indicts 4 Chinese Nationals for N. Korea Sanctions Violations

Four Chinese nationals and a Chinese company were indicted Tuesday for conspiring to evade sanctions on North Korea, according to the U.S. Justice Department.”Through the use of more than 20 front companies, the defendants are alleged to have sought to obscure illicit financial dealings on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities that were involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers in a statement.The indictment charges Ma Xiaohong and her company, Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development, as well as Zhou Jianshu, Hong Jinhua and Luo Chuanxu with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to defraud the United States, along with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. The indictment alleges that Ma, alongside Zhou, Hong and Luo “established front companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, the Seychelles, Hong Kong, Wales, England, and Anguilla, and opened Chinese bank accounts held in the names of the front companies at banks in China that maintained correspondent accounts in the United States,” in order to engage in financial activity with North Korea, according to the release.The defendants are each facing decades in prison if found guilty.

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US Negotiator: Don’t Expect Many Surprises When Mideast Peace Plan Rolls Out

It’s been called the Deal of the Century by U.S. President Donald Trump, but it’s still a tightly held secret in Washington.Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner and special negotiator Jason Greenblatt have been working on the Israeli-Palestinian peace project for two years.On Tuesday, Greenblatt addressed the U.N. Security Council, disclosing only that the document is 60 pages long.Afterward, he told a small group of reporters that he is ready for “withering criticism” once the plan is revealed, which he says is likely to be in the next few months.FILE – White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks in Manama, Bahrain, June 25, 2019.”We are going to air it at a time when we think it has the best chance of success,” Greenblatt said. “I really hope it doesn’t take beyond the Israeli election/government coalition.”Israel is facing new parliamentary elections in mid-September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition government after winning April’s election.Palestinian stanceGreenblatt says he and Kushner have talked to wide swaths of Israeli and Palestinian society in creating their proposal, including political and religious leaders, academics, experts and ordinary citizens. They have also gathered input in regional capitals and in Europe.”I don’t think there will be many surprises in the plan,” Greenblatt said. “We test ideas, we see the reactions … we know where the hot buttons are.”The Palestinian Authority has essentially rejected the plan sight unseen after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and moved the U.S. embassy there last year. The city, holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, has been for decades one of the most sensitive final status issues.FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, left, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveil an inauguration plaque during the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.The U.S. negotiator hopes the Palestinians will soften their stance once the plan is released.”It would be tragic for the Palestinian people themselves if their leadership just chooses to ignore it,” he said.Iran factorBut Greenblatt is betting on there being enough “exciting things” in the political plan to persuade the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table, although an effort to get them to Bahrain in June for the roll out of potentially $50 billion in economic incentives was unsuccessful.He adds that while one of the biggest challenges in the plan is Israel’s security, another is a potential spoiler.”Even if I had a great peace plan, if we don’t figure out to make sure that Iran doesn’t spoil it, how much success are we really going to have?” he asked, noting that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is Iran’s “worst nightmare.”Greenblatt and Kushner are scheduled to return to the region next week and will be joined by the administration’s point man on Iran policy, Brian Hook.

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Trump Sues House Panel, NY to Protect State Tax Returns

Opening up another legal front against the Democrats investigating him, President Donald Trump on Tuesday sued the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials to prevent his state tax returns from being turned over to the congressional committee.
 
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to block the application of a new New York state law that could allow the Democratic-controlled House and Ways Means Committee to obtain the returns. The lawsuit, filed in Washington, comes amid a furious White House attempt to prevent the president’s tax returns to wind up in Democratic hands.
 
“We have filed a lawsuit today in our ongoing efforts to end presidential harassment,” said Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers. “The targeting of the president by the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York Attorney General, and a New York tax official violates article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. The harassment tactics lack a legitimate legislative purpose. The actions taken by the House and New York officials are nothing more than political retribution.”
 
The state’s attorney general, Letitia James, said the act “will shine a light on the president’s finances and finally offer transparency to millions of Americans yearning to know the truth.”
 
“President Trump has spent his career hiding behind lawsuits,” James said in a statement, “but, as New York’s chief law enforcement officer, I can assure him that no one is above the law — not even the president of the United States.”
 
Trump’s tax returns have been a source of mystery — and contention — ever since the celebrity businessman broke with tradition and did not release his returns during his 2016 presidential campaign.
 
The House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department and IRS officials this month in an attempt to enforce a law that allows its chairman to obtain any taxpayer’s returns. Its chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., hasn’t indicated whether he would use the New York law, focusing instead on the federal lawsuit.
 
The lawsuit echoes what has become the White House consistent argument: that the committee’s pursuit of the president’s tax returns, as well as most of the Democrats’ investigative efforts, lack a legitimate legislative purpose and thus is outside Congress’s authority.
 
The suit also argues that the committee can’t have a legislative purpose in getting state records because its jurisdiction is limited to federal taxes. However, New York officials have argued that the state returns would contain much of the same information found on the president’s federal returns.
 
Trump has cited repeated IRS audits as a reason not to disclose his returns, but he isn’t legally prevented from releasing returns while under audit.
 
“Ultimately, this issue was litigated in the 2016 election,” the lawsuit said. “Voters heard the criticisms from Secretary (Hillary) Clinton, and they elected President Trump anyway. Democrats in Congress and across the country, however, have only become more eager to disclose the president’s tax returns for political gain.”
 
Democrats have argued that they need to review the returns in their search for potential conflicts of interest or corruption.
 
The administration and the Trump’s business have repeatedly tried to stall Democrats’ investigations by filing lawsuits and not cooperating. The White House has blocked several current and former officials from testifying, has refused to comply with document requests and the president has considered invoking executive privilege to stifle a series of probes.

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‘Havana Syndrome:’ Scans Show Differences in Affected Diplomat’s Brains

Brain scans show “significant neuroimaging differences” in 40 U.S. embassy employees affected by mysterious neurological symptoms in Cuba in late 2016, according to a study released Tuesday.The diplomats had significantly smaller amounts of white brain matter, and markedly lower levels of connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for sight and hearing, said the study, published by the Journal of American Medicine. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania performed the magnetic resonance imaging scans on the personnel between August 2017 and June 2018. They then compared the images to results from 48 controls.Employees at the time reported hearing loud buzzing, “piercing squeals” and “mechanical-sounding” noises, in what the Trump administration termed a “sonic attack.” Diplomats said they suffered persistent ear pain, headaches and problems with memory, concentration, balance, sleeping and more.Many were out of work at least briefly,  with half going on sleep or headache medication and three receiving hearing aids, according to CNN. Weapons or crickets?Some theorized the symptoms’ source were weapons emitting damaging sound or microwaves, though some scientists later argued the strange sounds were simply the loud species of cricket commonly found in Cuba. Another group of researchers found the sounds could be caused by ultrasound signals from everyday devices crossed with signals from a surveillance system.During the uproar, the State Department cut staff at the embassy by more than half.The researchers couldn’t link the results to any specific health impacts, emphasizing that the results weren’t consistent with any known brain disorders.The study’s small sample size and unclear results have prompted skepticism from other scientists.’Half baked’Sergio Della Sala, a cognitive neuroscience professor at the University of Edinburgh, called the study “half-baked,” in an email to Reuters, noting that 12 of the employees had histories of concussions and none of the controls did.According to the study, the employee’s concussion symptoms had faded by 2016, when reports of illness began.Diplomats at the Canadian embassy complained of similar afflictions. Five of them and their families are now suing the Canadian government, saying it “downplayed the seriousness of the situation, hoarded and concealed critical health and safety information, and gave false, misleading and incomplete information to diplomatic staff.”In addition to the Penn study, the National Institutes of Health is conducting its own “brain injury research study” involving the Cuba patients with help from the U.S. Energy Department supercomputers and national laboratories capable of processing massive amounts of neurological data. The Defense Department has also been engaged to look into technologies that could have been used to harm the diplomatic staff.

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Російський боксер помер від травм після бою в США

Російський боксер Максим Дадашев помер у лікарні від травм, яких він зазнав під час поєдинку проти пуерторіканця Субріеля Матіаса.

Бій відбувся 19 липня в американському місті Оксон Хілл, штат Меріленд. Його переможець ставав обов’язковим претендентом на титул чемпіона світу в першій напівсередній вазі за версією IBF. Поєдинок зупинили в передостанньому, 11-му раунді, на прохання команди Дадашева, в зв’язку з чим йому присудили технічну поразку.

На записі бою видно, як перед останнім раундом тренер Дадашева Бадді Макгірт, бачачи стан російського спортсмена, вмовляє його піти з рингу – при тому, що боксер хоче продовжити битися.

Після зупинки поєдинку на шляху до роздягальні Дадашев знепритомнів і був екстрено госпіталізований.

До бою з Матіасом Дадашев провів на професійному рингу 13 боїв, не зазнавши жодної поразки. 

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Сутички на кордоні Таджикистану і Киргизстану: 27 людей поранені

17 громадян Киргизстану і 10 громадян Таджикистану постраждали внаслідок сутички на кордоні двох країн, повідомляють Радіо Озоді й Азаттик – Таджицька і Киргизька служби Радіо Свобода. Напередодні повідомляли про одного загиблого з таджикистанського боку.

Інцидент почався ввечері 22 липня в таджицькому селі Ворух, розташованому всередині території Киргизстану. Стрілянина почалася після того, як жителі села встановили на в’їзді флагшток, повідомляє прикордонна служба Киргизстану. За словами прикордонників, стріляли цивільні з мисливських рушниць.

Таджицька сторона стверджує, що вогонь відкрили жителі Киргизстану.

23 липня стрілянина відновилася.

Протяжність кордону Киргизстану з Таджикистаном складає 970 кілометрів, з них тільки 519 кілометрів узгоджені між двома країнами. На спірних ділянках регулярно стаються конфлікти між населенням через воду, пасовищу і землі.

Конфлікт на кордоні стався незадовго до візиту президента Киргизстану в Таджикистан, де, зокрема, буде обговорюватися ситуація з недемаркованим кордоном.

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Експрем’єр Косова поїхав до Гааги, щоб постати перед міжнародним судом

Рамуш Харадінай, який минулого тижня подав у відставку з посади прем’єр-міністра Косова, їде в Нідерланди, щоб в Гаазі постати перед Спеціальним судом для розгляду злочинів, скоєних в Косові під час війни 1998-99 років.

51-річний Харадінай вилетів до Гааги з аеропорту Приштини 23 липня.

Харадінай оголосив про свою відставку 19 липня.

Пояснюючи своє рішення, він послався на те, що отримав виклик як підозрюваний від суду в Гаазі і не хоче, «щоб його допитували як лідера країни».

Це вже другий випадок, коли Харадінай пішов із посади прем’єр-міністра після звинувачень із Гааги.

Читайте також: Несподівана відставка прем’єра Косова. Очікують позачергових виборів

Його перша відставка була в 2005 році, після того, як Міжнародний кримінальний трибунал ООН з питань колишньої Югославії звинуватив його у воєнних злочинах у зв’язку з тим, що він був командувачем Армії визволення Косова.

Вдруге Рамуш Харадінай був призначений прем’єр-міністром Косова у вересні 2017 року.

Міжнародний кримінальний трибунал у справах колишньої Югославії двічі звинувачував Рамуша Харадіная у масових убивствах косовських сербів і двічі він був виправданий – у квітні 2008 року і в листопаді 2012-го.

Косово проголосило незалежність від Сербії у 2008 році. Її визнає більшість країн Заходу, включно зі Сполученими Штатами, не визнали незалежності Сербія і Росія. Україна також не визнала незалежність Косова. Євросоюз намагається переконати Белград і Приштину нормалізувати відносини, проте поки що переговори не дали істотних результатів.

 

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