Trump-Clinton Debate Fact Check: "Locker Room Talk" to Sexual Assault Claims
A look at some of the claims raised by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the debate and how they compare with the facts.
Donald Trump mischaracterized the record on Hillary Clinton's defense of her husband and her own treatment of women when he brought up Bill Clinton's sexual history and other episodes of the past during Sunday night's second presidential debate.
Below, a look at some of the claims in the second presidential debate:
TRUMP On women linked to Bill Clinton sexually: "Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously."
THE FACTS There is no clear, independent evidence that Hillary Clinton "viciously" attacked women who alleged or confirmed sexual contact with her husband.
To be sure, in the 1992 Democratic primaries, she was deeply involved in the Clinton campaign's effort to discredit one accuser, actress Gennifer Flowers, who alleged she had a long-running affair with Bill Clinton. Both Clintons acknowledged past troubles in their marriage but sought to undermine Flowers' claims. Bill Clinton later acknowledged in a 1998 court deposition that he had a sexual encounter with Flowers.
Hillary Clinton was also quoted over the years making disparaging comments about other women linked with her husband.
What is lacking is proof that she engineered efforts to smear their reputation. Diane Blair, a political science professor and long-time Hillary Clinton friend who died in 2000, left behind an account of private interviews with Hillary Clinton in which she told her during the Monica Lewinsky affair that she considered the former White House intern a "narcissistic loony toon."
TRUMP On Hillary Clinton's behavior when, as a young public defender, she was assigned to represent an accused child rapist: "She's seen on two separate occasions, laughing at the girl who was raped. Kathy Shelton, that young woman, is here with us tonight."
THE FACTS At no point was Clinton seen laughing at the victim.
In 1975, at the age of 12, Shelton was sexually assaulted in Northwest Arkansas. Clinton was asked by a judge overseeing the case to represent her alleged attacker. After the prosecution lost key evidence, Clinton's client entered a plea to a lesser charge.
In an interview a decade later, Clinton expressed horror at the crime, but was recorded on tape laughing about procedural details of the case. The audio has been seized on by conservative groups looking to attack Clinton's presidential candidacy but does not convey mirth at the girl's fate.
TRUMP Asked whether he was describing sexual assault in video footage from 2005 in which he made sexually predatory and crude comments about women: "No, I didn't say that at all."
THE FACTS Trump clearly described groping women without their permission in a footage captured by Access Hollywood. And Trump said he would automatically kiss women he considered beautiful.
"I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything," Trump said. "Grab them by the p----. You can do anything."
In the audio, first reported by the Washington Post, Trump also described his sexual advances toward a married woman. "I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn't get there. And she was married."
TRUMP Described the consequences of a sexual harassment lawsuit against former President Bill Clinton: "He lost his license. He had to pay an $850,000 fine."
THE FACTS Trump's facts are, at best, jumbled. In 1998, lawyers for Bill Clinton settled with former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones for $850,000 in her four-year lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. Clinton did not acknowledge wrongdoing in the settlement. But Trump erred in describing the legal consequences of that case. In a related case before the Arkansas State Supreme Court, Clinton was fined $25,000 and his Arkansas law license was suspended for five years. Clinton also faced disbarment before the U.S. Supreme Court, but he opted to resign from the court's practice instead of facing any penalties.
TRUMP Asked whether he had ever sexually assaulted a women, said: "No, I have not."
THE FACTS There's no proof that Trump sexually assaulted women, but he's been accused of it before.
Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of rape in a deposition in the early 1990s. She later said she didn't mean it literally, but rather that she felt violated. Trump also was sued for sexual harassment in 1997 by Jill Harth, a woman who, along with her romantic partner, was pitching Trump to get involved in a pin-up competition in the early 1990s.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Harth said Trump ran his hands up her skirt during dinner in 1992, and on another occasion, she said Trump tried to force himself on her in his daughter Ivanka's bedroom. "Next thing I know he's pushing me against a wall and has his hands all over me," Harth told the newspaper. Harth dropped her harassment lawsuit against Trump after he settled a separate breach of contract lawsuit. Trump has denied Harth's allegations.
CLINTON "If we repeal [President Obama's health care law] as Donald [Trump] has proposed, all of those benefits I have mentioned are lost to everybody ... and then we will have to start all over again."
THE FACTS Clinton is essentially correct. Congressional Republicans have promised their replacement plan for Obama's healthcare law would provide coverage for the uninsured, but they have not provided enough detail to allow a rigorous comparison. A complete repeal of the healthcare law would wipe the slate clean, and lawmakers would have to start over.
Republicans have expressed support for some goals of the healthcare law, such as assuring that people with health problems can get coverage, but whether a GOP replacement plan would work as well remains to be seen. Trump's own plan was recently evaluated by the Commonwealth Fund and the RAND Corporation, and the analysis found the number of uninsured people would increase by about 20 million.
TRUMP "I would not have had our troops in Iraq."
THE FACTS Trump has repeatedly said in the campaign he opposed the Iraq War before it started. But the facts are clear: He did not.
There is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the U.S. invaded. Rather, he offered lukewarm support. The billionaire businessman only began to voice doubts about the conflict well after it began in March 2003.
Trump's first known public comment on the topic came on Sept. 11, 2002, when he was asked whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with radio host Howard Stern. "Yeah, I guess so," Trump responded. During a Fox News Channel interview with Neil Cavuto in January 2003, Trump suggested the economy and threats from North Korea posed greater problems for then-President George W. Bush than Iraq, but he did not say he opposed a possible invasion.
TRUMP "We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They'll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them."
THE FACTS There's no evidence that Muslims failed to report suspicious activity. The FBI works closely with the Muslim community and encourages people to report anything they see that might be criminal activity.
In San Bernardino, Calif/, a Muslim couple shot and killed 14 people at an office party in December 2015. The couple was killed in a police shootout. But the FBI has never suggested that people from the Muslim community — or any community — failed to alert authorities that there were many bombs in the couple's home. Law enforcement later found bomb-making materials in the couple's garage. The FBI has said that the shooters were inspired by the Islamic State group.
TRUMP Asked whether his early morning tweets directing people to check out a sex tape showed discipline, said: "It wasn't 'check out a sex tape.'"
THE FACTS Wrong. Trump told his 12.2 million Twitter followers to check out a sex tape as he criticized a former Miss Universe.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 30, Trump tweeted, "Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?"
Trump's tweet was an attack on former 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado, a woman who Clinton brought up in the last presidential debate as an example of Trump's derogatory comments about women. The video Trump appeared to be referencing was from a Spanish reality show. In 2005, Machado, who was a contestant on the show, was filmed in bed, under the covers with a male contestant and speaking sexually about his body parts. The grainy footage doesn't show any nudity, though Machado has said that she was having sex in the footage.
Machado, a Venezuela-born woman who is now a U.S. citizen, has publicly supported Clinton and criticized Trump for body-shaming her, including calling her "Miss Piggy" and threatening to take away her crown for gaining weight. Trump has stood by his criticisms of Machado's weight, saying in a recent interview with Fox News: "She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem."
CLINTON "I do think ... the use of [U.S. and coalition] enablers and trainers in Iraq, which has had some positive effect, are very much in our interest."
THE FACTS She's right about the positive effect, at least on the Iraqi military. After losing the city of Ramadi to the Islamic State group again in May 2015, the hundreds of U.S. military trainers and advisers have made some gains. It took more than a year, but the program Clinton cited has produced a more competent Iraqi military, and set the stage for an Iraqi campaign to retake the northern city of Mosul. That city has been the Islamic State militants' main stronghold since they swept into Iraq in 2014 almost unopposed by the Iraqi army.
As Clinton's characterization of the program suggests, it has not been an unqualified success and is expected to require years of additional effort to ensure that the Iraqi military does not collapse as it did in 2014.