The debate was a high-stakes evening for the Trump campaign, which was in turmoil following the release on Friday of a 2005 video showing the GOP presidential nominee carrying on a lewd conversation about women.
The debate, at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., followed a town hall meeting format and half of the questions came from the audience while the others were posed from the co-moderators Martha Raddatz of ABC News and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Fact-check No. 1: Trump said that Clinton started the “birther” movement.
Trump: “You’re the one that sent the pictures around your campaign, sent the pictures around with president Obama in a certain garb. That was long before I was ever involved. So, you actually owe an apology.”
Our grade: False
Explanation: A Politico report has linked Clinton’s most ardent supporters to the circulation of an e-mail suggesting President Barack Obama was born in Kenya during the 2007-2008 primary campaign. But no evidence has ever been found connecting this claim with Clinton herself or her campaign. The Trump campaign has circulated what they define as several pieces of evidence linking the Clinton campaign to the start of the birther movement, which Trump mentioned tonight, but they don’t hold up.
Fact-check No. 2: Trump said the U.S. has an $800 billion trade deficit.
Trump: “Last year, we had an almost $800 billion trade deficit. Other words, trading with other countries. We had an $800 billion deficit. It’s hard to believe. Inconceivable.”
Our grade: Yes and No
Explanation: According to Census Bureau data the United States had a combined deficit in goods and services of $500 billion in 2015. Donald Trump seems to be referring only to the deficit in goods which was $763 billion in 2015. The U.S. though, exports more in services that in goods and when the two are combined, the total deficit is actually lower — it is a little over $500 billion when both are combined.
Trump would be more accurate if he clarified his statement to say a goods trade deficit.
Fact-check No. 3: Trump said the U.S. gave Iran $150 billion in one-sided transaction.
Trump: “When I look at the Iran deal and how bad a deal it is for us. It’s a one sided transaction where we’re giving back $150 billion to a terrorist state really the number one terror state, we’ve made them a strong country from really a very weak country just three years ago. When I look at all of the things that I see in all of the potential that our country has, we have such tremendous potential. Whether it’s in business and trade, where we’re doing so badly.”
Our grade: False
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said lifting certain financial sanctions only gives Iran access to $56 billion, and it’s not plausible to call it a one-sided transaction considering the changes Iran has made to its nuclear program, including an agreement to reduce its stockpile of enriched nuclear material and to cease further enrichment, effectively extending the time it would take Iran to build a bomb from a few months to one year.
The $150 billion figure is at the high end of estimates. The U.S. Treasury has put the figure closer to $56 billion. The chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, Garbis Iradian, also estimates the number figure at around $60 billion.
ABC News’ Margaret Chadbourn, Ryan Struyk, Alana Abramson, Justin Fishel contributed to this report.