Dec 16, 2019

PolitiFact recognizes Trump's whistleblower claims as "Lie of the Year"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Fact-checking website PolitiFact announced on Monday that President Trump's claim that the Ukraine whistleblower complaint was "almost completely wrong" is being recognized as its annual "Lie of the Year."

The big picture: In August, a whistleblower reported that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son in a July phone call. Trump immediately dismissed the whistleblower's description of the call. A summary of the call and sworn testimony by witnesses verified the majority of the whistleblower's account of the conversation, as well as the broader pressure campaign being carried out by Rudy Giuliani and other officials.

  • Trump told Zelensky on the call: "There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great." 
  • The whistleblower complaint, which alleged that Trump had abused his power to solicit foreign interference, has culminated in articles of impeachment against Trump. The House is expected to approve the articles this week.

What they're saying:

"No matter the motivations or the political outcome, testimony from the whistleblower would not change the underlying facts of what Trump said. The whistleblower’s account is verified by the same set of facts supplied by Vindman, Williams and Morrison, and others who were in the know. And one more source: Trump."
— PolitiFact

Of note: Trump has received PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" recognition four out of the last five years.

Go deeper:

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President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

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Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

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Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.