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Saturday, January 14, 2017

FactChecking Trump’s Press Conference

In his first press conference since July, President-elect Donald Trump repeated some false and misleading claims on jobs, health care and his tax returns:
  • Trump falsely claimed that there are “96 million really wanting a job and they can’t get [one].” There are roughly 96 million people not in the labor force, but that includes retirees, students and others who don’t want jobs. Only 5.5 million of them want work. 
  • Trump said that “you learn very little” from a tax return. But experts told us there’s plenty of information to be gleaned from tax returns — such as potential conflicts of interest, charitable giving habits and effective tax rates. 
  • Trump claimed that “some states” have seen health insurance coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges increase by 100 percent. Only Arizona has an average increase that high, and 84 percent with marketplace coverage in 2016 received tax credits to purchase insurance.
  • Trump continues to oversimplify the rise of the Islamic State by blaming President Obama for “leaving at the wrong time” from Iraq. President George W. Bush set the withdrawal date. More important, there were numerous factors in the rise of the terrorist group.
  • Trump claimed that “nobody even talked about it” when hacked emails showed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign got debate questions in advance. Actually, there was plenty of press coverage when it was revealed that former CNN contributor Donna Brazile shared questions with Clinton’s campaign. 

Spinning the Russian Report

Ever since U.S. intelligence agencies released a report on Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election, President-elect Donald Trump and his top aides have made false and misleading comments about the report’s findings:

  • Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s choice for White House counselor, falsely claimed that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “makes very clear that there was no impact on the election.” Actually, Clapper said there was “no way for us to gauge” the impact of Russia’s attempts to influence the election.
  • Similarly, K.T. McFarland, Trump’s pick for deputy national security adviser, claimed that Clapper said “that nothing the Russians did had any effect on the outcome [of the election].” Again, that’s not what Clapper said.
  • Trump himself tweeted that the intelligence community “stated very strongly that there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results,” because voting machines were not hacked. But the fact that no machines were hacked does not mean that the hacking did not affect the election results.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Jan. 6 released a declassified intelligence report that said “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” Among other things, the report said, Russian intelligence services gained access to Democratic National Committee computers for nearly a year, from July 2015 to June 2016, and released hacked material to WikiLeaks and other media outlets “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

Steve Harvey adding 'Trump urban helper' to his comedy, game show resume

NEW YORK -- Cleveland native Steve Harvey already has a busy career in show biz. But after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump Friday, Harvey said he'll take on another duty: trying to help heal America's inner cities.

Harvey, a comedian and game show host, criticized Trump back when it didn't appear the billionaire real estate developer would win the presidency, saying, "How do you let a dude who was on the cover of Playboy magazine and has been married 18 times be your president? Now come on. Hell, then I qualify."

But as the soon-to-be leader of the free world, Trump "realizes he needs some allies" in the cities, particularly among youth, Harvey said, talking with reporters after meeting with Trump at Trump Tower. "And he seemed really sincere about it."

Trump Criticizes Civil Rights Leader Lewis on Eve of MLK Day

Donald Trump criticized African American civil-rights leader John Lewis a day after the Georgia congressman said he doesn’t consider him “a legitimate president.”

‘Homeland’ Season 6 Comes Home to Eye of Political Storm

In this stormy political season, leave it to “Homeland” to adroitly land in the eye of Hurricane Trump.

Producers of the Showtime drama series, which returns on Sunday, chose New York as the setting for its sixth season more than a year ago.

They’ve been working for months on a storyline examining the post-9/11 fallout for the civil rights of Muslims in the U.S. and upheaval in the national security community caused by a transfer of power in Washington.

Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inaugural Performance

Jennifer Holliday has reversed a decision to perform at an inaugural concert on Thursday for President-elect Donald Trump, after a backlash when she was among the entertainers on the bill.

In an open letter, Holliday apologized to the LGBT community for originally agreeing to perform. She received a backlash after it was announced that she would attend, and defended her decision in series of interviews throughout the day.

“I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country,” she said in the letter, first obtained by The Wrap.

Box Office: ‘Hidden Figures’ Barely Scares Off ‘Bye Bye Man’ to Win Friday the 13th

“Hidden Figures” faced tough competition from horror film “The Bye Bye Man” on Friday the 13th, but looks to easily hold of all newcomers including Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” and “Monster Trucks” on its way to a second straight box office victory over the four-day holiday weekend.