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Tue Oct 15, 2019, 04:59 PM

Trump inverts time and invents conversations to thwart impeachment

Fact Checker • Analysis
Trump inverts time and invents conversations to thwart impeachment

By Glenn Kessler
Oct. 15, 2019 at 3:00 a.m. EDT

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) “made up a conversation. He made a conversation that didn’t exist. He never thought in a million years that I was going to release the real conversation. And when it did, the whistleblower turned out to be totally inaccurate.”

— President Trump, interview with Jeanine Pirro on Fox News, Oct. 12

“Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America because she wouldn’t be doing this. And I’m telling you, foreign nations, foreign people looking at us, they honestly think we’re nuts. And then you have presidents and saying nothing was wrong. … But Nancy Pelosi said, ‘Well, that’s what he said. Isn’t it?’ But she was angry as hell when she got to read the transcript. Because she said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not what I was told.’ But she was stuck, she was stuck.”

— Trump, campaign rally in Lake Charles, La., Oct. 11

In our database of President Trump’s false or misleading claims, we’ve documented how he twists things out of proportion or simply invents stories out of whole cloth. Sometimes, he even goes through a time warp. All of these elements are present in this pair of statements, which are similar or identical to other statements he made over the weekend at various events or media availabilities.

Central to the president’s message is a Four-Pinocchio claim: that the whistleblower complaint inaccurately portrayed his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the events surrounding it. But we’ve documented that most of the whistleblower’s factual allegations have turned out to be on target.

But the president wants his supporters to believe that the complaint falsely portrayed the phone call so he can explain why, in his words, the man leading the impeachment investigation “made up” a conversation and the House speaker supposedly was upset when she saw the actual transcript. In an added twist, Trump sometimes tries to adjust the time frame to make his point appear even more dramatic.


The president earns Four Pinocchios, yet again.

Glenn Kessler has reported on domestic and foreign policy for more than three decades. Send him statements to fact check by emailing him, tweeting at him, or sending him a message on Facebook. Follow https://twitter.com/@GlennKesslerWP

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