President Donald Trump arrives to deliver an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017.
Trump: I'll bring back millions of jobs
02:10 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday addressed a joint session of Congress to outline his legislative agenda, and CNN’s Reality Check Team was there to vet his claims.

The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and analyzed key statements, rating them true, mostly true, true but misleading, or false.


Reality Check: Murder rate single-year increase

By Ashley Killough and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

“The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century,” Trump said.

It’s been a fact he’s struggled with both as president and on the campaign trail. Trump repeatedly said in the past that the murder rate is the highest it’s been in roughly 45 years, which is not accurate.

He got it right this time.

Reality Check quick takes

We rate his claim as true. The United States did experience its highest one-year increase in the murder rate in half a century between 2014 and 2015, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

One reason for the huge jump is that the murder rate in 2014 was so low, at 4.5 murders per 100,000 people.

Still, even with the one-year increase, the murder rate for 2015 – 4.9 per 100,000 people – was lower than it was 45 years prior. In the 1990s, for example, the murder rate hovered between eight and 10 murders per 100,000 people.

Trump added there were more than 4,000 people shot last year in Chicago, which is also true. In fact, there were 4,331 shooting victims, according to the Chicago Police Department.


Reality Check: Trump on pipeline jobs

By Laura Koran, CNN

Trump asserted his administration’s support of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are “creating tens of thousands of jobs.”

The remark wasn’t the first time Trump touted the job-creating potential of the two controversial pipelines. Last month, when Trump signed an executive order paving the way for construction to move forward, he claimed Keystone XL alone would create 28,000 “great construction jobs.”

But how accurate are his estimates?

A State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline that was issued under the Obama administration found that there would be 3,900 direct construction jobs if it was built over one year, or 1,950 if the work was spread over two years – far fewer than Trump estimated when signing the order.

But the report also estimated there would be a total of 42,000 indirect jobs created – for companies that sell products and services used to build the pipeline.

However, once the pipeline opens, the State Department found it would only require 35 full-time permanent jobs to run it and 15 full-time temporary jobs.

Dakota Access, for its part, estimates their pipeline would add 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs, but only about 40 permanent positions. Those are the company’s internal estimates.

Moreover, most of the approximately 1,200-mile pipeline has already been built. The remaining portion is a 1.5-mile stretch that would cross under Lake Oahe, north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Verdict: True but misleading. By some estimates, construction of the two pipelines will create just north of 10,000 construction jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs. However, these are primarily temporary jobs. The number of permanent jobs created directly by the pipelines would be far lower.

CNN’s Rene Marsh and Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

Wall Street

Reality Check: Stock market’s post-election rally

By Matt Egan, CNNMoney

Trump cheered the enormous rally on Wall Street set off by his victory.

“The stock market has gained almost $3 trillion in value since the election on November 8, a record,” Trump said.

The stock market is indeed on fire these days, in large part because of optimism about Trump’s pro-business promises to cut taxes, roll back regulation and ramp up infrastructure spending. The 30-stock Dow has soared 2,500 points, or 13.5%, since the election.

In terms of dollar figures, the American stock market has gained $2.4 trillion since November 8, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. That’s based on a broad measure known as the S&P United States Broad Market Index. This gauge hit a new record this week of nearly $25 trillion.

However, Trump took a little too much liberty with the stock market increase, so our verdict is mostly true.


Reality Check: Trump on terror attacks

By Laura Jarrett, CNN

“The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” Trump said.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28:  Members of congress wear white to honor the women's suffrage movement and support women's rights as U.S. President Donald Trump (L) addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of  the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Trump vows to abolish radical Islamic terrorism
02:37 - Source: CNN

He cited Justice Department data. We asked the DOJ for the figures but they have yet to provide them.

By another measure, a 2016 report produced by then-Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general, looks at individuals convicted in terror cases since 9/11. Using open sources, the report found that 380 out of 580 people convicted in terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 were “foreign-born.”

But according to an examination by the Cato Institute, the methodology of Sessions’ report was flawed because 42% were not even for terrorism offenses – many of them were simply terrorism-related tips that didn’t pan out.

The New America Foundation also looked at trends over the last 15 years of who has carried out lethal terrorist attacks in the US. The data they examined showed it was not a “vast majority” from outside the country; it is, in fact, almost a 50-50 split. According to New America Foundation, about half were born in the US, and close to half were from abroad.

Verdict: False.

Lobbying ban

Reality Check: Trump on five-year ban on lobbying by Executive Branch officials

By Eve Bower, CNN

Trump boasted that he has already imposed “a five-year ban on lobbying by Executive Branch officials,” fulfilling a campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”

The reality is not that sweeping.

On January 28, 2017, Trump signed an executive order that restricts the future lobbying potential of all Trump appointees to Executive Branch offices. The order does indeed require appointees to sign a pledge that they will refrain from lobbying activities – with the same agency where they were employed – for five years following the end of their employment.

But the order does not ban lobbying across the board. Rather, according to the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the scope of this ban covers only a portion of the activities that lobbyists (and former executive branch officials) have been known to pursue. Specifically, former appointees may be allowed to engage in activities that the existing law – the Lobbying Disclosure Act – does define as lobbying when dealing with members of their former agencies.

Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) applaud as President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017.
Mixed reaction to Trump's 'drain swamp' pledge
00:34 - Source: CNN

The order also codifies the ultimate exception: a waiver capable of removing “any restrictions contained in the pledge signed by such person.” According to CREW, under Trump’s order, the need to disclose the granting of such a waiver is now “completely discretionary” and will not be granted by the Office of Management and Budget, but rather, by the {resident or his designee.

We rate this claim true but misleading.


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