Home Politics From emails to espionage: fact checking the final debate

From emails to espionage: fact checking the final debate

8 min read

The last debate of the presidential election, though more policy-driven than previous ones, still contained a variety of character attacks. From Supreme Court nominations to gun control, from emails to Russian espionage, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump butted heads over and made assertions in regard to many hot-button issues.

Here are the final fact checks:

Clinton: Trump used illegal immigrants to build Trump Tower.

This is true. The land on which Trump Tower was built was demolished by Polish immigrants.

Between 1979 and 1980, Trump hired a contractor to begin demolition on the area that would become Trump Tower. The 1989 documentary “Trump: What’s the Deal?” detailed what followed:

“Trump hired William Kaszycki, whose principal business was window-washing. Kaszycki in turn hired what became known as the ‘Polish Brigade.’ More than 200 immigrants with no working papers, who were paid 1/3 the union rate, and worked under difficult conditions.”

Claiming unfair working conditions and unpaid wages — upward of $4 million — the workers sued Trump and Kaszycki in a 1983 class-action lawsuit. The suit dragged on for over 15 years, with both sides appealing the court’s ruling multiple times. In the end, Kaszycki was fined $570,000 and Trump settled with the workers’ union in 1999 for an undisclosed amount, as reported by the New York Daily News.

For his part, Trump has continually denied any knowledge of the workers’ legal status.

“Nobody has proven to me that they were illegal aliens,” he said during the first trial in 1990.

Trump: Clinton destroyed 33,000 emails criminally after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

This is somewhat true. While Clinton aides did delete emails after a subpoena was issued, there is currently no evidence proving this was done with criminal intent.

On March 4, 2015, Clinton received a subpoena from the Benghazi congressional committee was sent, “requiring Clinton to turn over all emails from her private server related to the incident in Libya,” according to Politifact.

Having previously turned over 30,000 emails in December 2014, Clinton’s lawyers responded that all relevant communications had been handed over. However, the FBI investigation found a number of emails were deleted “between March 25-31, 2015.”

There is no evidence to date that proves the Clinton campaign deleted the emails in a specific effort to dodge the subpoena, and FBI Director James Comey stated the investigation “found no evidence that any of the additional work-related emails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.

To see a full timeline of the Clinton email scandal up through Oct. 9, click here.

Trump: Obama deported “millions” of people.

This is true.

AP reported that President Obama has deported more than 2.5 million immigrants living in the country illegally since taking office, the majority of which occurred during his first term. In 2012, Obama’s position on immigration softened into providing obtaining green cards and work permits for immigrants through programs such as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

Clinton: “We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election.”

This is somewhat true.

At the last debate, Clinton claimed truthfully that the United States Intelligence Community believed the recent WikiLeak hacks did indeed originate from the Russian government. While the Oct. 7 statement described the hacking as “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” it did not name Russian President Vladimir Putin personally.

It is USIC’s current belief that “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” as fact checked by NPR.

Trump: Clinton lost $6 billion on State Department funds.

This is false.


Trump is incorrect both on the amount of funds and Clinton’s role in the incident. In 2014, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick  issued a “management alert” about missing paperwork for “contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located.” When news media such as the Washington Times incorrectly reported on the issue, Linick issued a clarification letter.

But Clinton was Secretary of State, right? Yes, from 2009-2013. The Post also reported the majority of the contracts were drawn up during the Bush administration, before Clinton took office.

That’s a wrap for #debates2016. Check out #TNPlive on Twitter for a complete timeline of our debate coverage, and stay tuned for the remainder of the election cycle. As of Oct. 20, there’s only 18 days til Election Day.

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