Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris tussled Wednesday in the first and only vice presidential debate before the Nov. 3 election, coming as the coronavirus sidelined President Donald Trump at the White House.
A look at how the running mates' statements from Salt Lake City stack up with the facts: RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
PENCE, on the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation: It was found that there was no obstruction, no collusion. Case closed. And then, Sen. Harris, you and your colleagues in the Congress tried to impeach the president of the United States over a phone call."
THE FACTS: That's a mischaracterization of Mueller's nearly 450-page report and its core findings.
Mueller did not absolve the president of obstructing the investigation into ties between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia. Instead, his team examined roughly a dozen episodes in which the president sought to exert his will on the probe, including by firing his FBI director and seeking the ouster of Mueller himself.
Ultimately, Mueller declined to reach a conclusion on whether Trump had committed a crime, citing Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president. That's not the same as finding no obstruction.
On collusion, Mueller said he did not assess whether that occurred because it is not a legal term.
He looked into a potential criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign and said the investigation did not collect sufficient evidence to establish criminal charges on that front.
PENCE: Joe Biden wants to go back to the economic surrender to China, that when we took office, half of our international trade deficit was with China alone. And Joe Biden wants to repeal all of the tariffs that President Trump put into effect to fight for American jobs and American workers.
THE FACTS: The tariffs were not the win claimed by Pence.
For starters, tariffs are taxes that consumers and businesses pay through higher prices. So Pence is defending tax increases. The tariffs against China did cause the trade deficit in goods with China to fall in 2019. But that's a pyrrhic victory at best as overall U.S. economic growth slowed from 3% to 2.2% because of the trade uncertainty.
More important, the Trump administration has not decreased the overall trade imbalance. For all trading partners, the Census Bureau said the trade deficit was $576.9 billion last year, nearly $100 billion higher than during the last year of Barack Obama's presidency.
HARRIS, on Trump's tax cuts: On Day 1, Joe Biden will repeal that tax bill.
THE FACTS: No, that's not what Biden proposes. He would repeal some of it. Nor can he repeal a law on his own, much less on his first day in office. Harris also said Biden will not raise taxes on people making under $400,000. If he were to repeal the Trump tax cuts across the board, he would be breaking that promise.
HARRIS: "The president said it was a hoax. THE FACTS: That's misleading.
She's referring to a Feb. 28 campaign rally in South Carolina in which Trump said the phrases the coronavirus and this is their new hoax at separate points. Although his meaning is difficult to discern, the broader context of his words shows he was railing against Democrats for their denunciations of his administration's coronavirus response.
Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, he said at the rally.
You know that, right? Coronavirus. They're politicizing it. He meandered briefly to the subject of the messy Democratic primary in Iowa, then the Russia investigation before returning to the pandemic. They tried the impeachment hoax.
... And this is their new hoax. Asked at a news conference the day after the rally to clarify his remarks, Trump said he was not referring to the coronavirus itself as a hoax.
No, no, no. he said. 'Hoax' referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody, because we've done such a good job. The hoax is on them, not I'm not talking about what's happening here. I'm talking what they're doing. That's the hoax.
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