Here is a selection of false and misleading claims from Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings.
What Trump said on Jan. 6
California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said that Trump’s remarks at the Washington, DC, rally that preceded the Capitol insurrection were overly confrontational and sometimes inaccurate — but that Trump’s words do not amount to impeachable conduct.
“But what did he actually say? His exact words were: ‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.’ That’s impeachable? That’s called freedom of speech,” McClintock said.
Trump, for example, urged Republicans to stop fighting like a boxer “with his hands tied behind his back,” saying, “We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder.” Trump told marchers, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness.” After urging congressional Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence to reject the Electoral College results, Trump said, “And fraud breaks up everything, doesn’t it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules.”
Trump alleged that there would be dire consequences if his supporters did not take immediate action — saying that, if Biden took office, “You will have an illegitimate president. That’s what you’ll have. And we can’t let that happen.” And he said, “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
In sum: McClintock and other Trump allies are entitled to argue that all of these Trump comments are not impeachable, even that they are not incendiary. But he left a misleading impression when he posed the question, “but what did he actually say?” and did not mention the most contentious things Trump actually said.
Democrats and violence
Texas Republican Rep. Lance Gooden said, “And I also want to thank my Democratic colleagues for finally joining Republicans in condemning mob violence after six months of refusing to acknowledge it.”
Texas Republican Rep. Pat Fallon later made a similar claim, saying that, if the riot had any “silver lining,” it was that Democrats have now “come to realize that riots are bad.”
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan claimed the investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller cost $40 million and found nothing.
Facts First: This is false on both counts.
The Ukraine whistleblower
It’s possible the whistleblower interacted with Biden in the course of their job duties in the government, but that’s substantially different than working for Biden himself. The whistleblower’s lawyers said in 2019 that “our client has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch” and that “in these positions our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials — not as candidates.”
CNN’s Melissa Tapia contributed to this article.
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