Republican National Convention 2016: Fact-Checking Donald Trump and Other Speakers

PHOTO: Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump, waves as she walks off stage after introducing her father during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016.PlayJ. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
WATCH Republican National Convention: Day 4 in a Minute

Donald Trump took to the stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday night and offered a stinging indictment of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as well as the legacy of the Obama administration.

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He made several claims about both, so ABC News decided to fact-check them, as well as the claims made by other speakers on prior days of the convention.

Here are some of the claims and how they stack up:

Trump's Acceptance Speech

DAY FOUR: Thursday, July 21

Fact Check: Blaming Clinton for ISIS

Claim: Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State led to the rise of ISIS

Rating: Questionable. While it’s possible to argue that Obama’s first four years created some conditions for ISIS, the group did not begin its rise until 2013, after Hillary Clinton left the State Department.

Donald Trump said: “After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world.”

Background: Hillary Clinton left the State Dept. in February 2013, before ISIS rose out of the ashes of al Qaeda in Iraq that year.

Critics have blamed Obama-administration Middle East policies for the rise of ISIS, pointing to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 and the failure to arm rebels more aggressively, or take military action, in neighboring Syria.

Those things happened during Clinton’s tenure, but it’s worth noting that she opposed them: Clinton reportedly pushed Obama to keep some troops in Iraq and advocated more support to Syrian rebels in the early days of the country’s civil war.

While chronologically correct—ISIS did spread across the region “after four years of Hillary Clinton” leading the State Dept.—this claim resonates with a falsehood repeated by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus earlier in the night. Priebus said: “It was on her watch ISIS began to spread its wings of evil over the Middle East.”

That is false. One can argue that the seeds of ISIS date back to the U.S. invasion and early occupation of Iraq, but the group in its current state did not begin to gain prominence until Clinton had left the administration and did not rise to power in the region until the year after that.

Fact Check: Religious Institutions Cannot Advocate Political Views

Claim: Religious institutions cannot advocate political views

Rating: Questionable. Religious institutions can advocate political views and engage in issue advocacy. They cannot endorse or participate in political campaigns if they are tax-exempt organizations.

Background: Trump said, “An amendment pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away.”

Religious leaders and institutions may advocate for their political views on various issues. They may not make particular endorsements or statements on political campaigns or candidates, however. If they take any of these actions, they risk losing their tax-exempt status.

A similar situation applies to other 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) political groups, who can engage in public advocacy on issues, for instance, without violating tax laws by explicitly urging people to vote for or against a specific candidate.

The IRS website states: “In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.”

“Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of ‘statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.’”

Fact Check: Deregulating Energy Would Mean $20.7 Trillion

Claim: Lifting energy regulations would mean $20 trillion over 40 years

Rating: Questionable. This comes from a pro-energy-group’s study. Other studies have not specifically addressed this claim.

Donald Trump said: “We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next four decades”

Background: This claim comes from a report by the Institute for Energy Research, an anti-regulation and pro-energy-production group.

The group is reportedly the successor to one founded by Charles Koch. Mother Jones has listed it as among the “dirty dozen” of energy-industry-funded climate-denial groups.

The report does not appear to fully explain its methodology. Specifically, the claim is based on total economic benefits of “opening up oil, gas, and coal resources on federal lands.” It says such policy “can” yield $20.7 trillion over 37 years, suggesting that figure is on the optimistic end of the group’s estimate.

The figure includes “spillover” effects on economies in other areas:

"For example, increased oil production in the Gulf of Mexico might lead to more automobile purchases that would increase economic activity in Michigan. Spillover effects would add an estimated $69 billion annually in the next seven years and $178 billion over thirty years."

Other assessments of the cost of energy regulations are generally included in overviews of regulatory costs, so it’s difficult to find a direct agreement with, or contradiction of, this claim.

But given the source, and the lack of corroborating or contextualizing evidence, it’s questionable to take this assertion as definitive fact.

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton Wants to Abolish Second Amendment

Claim: Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment

Rating: False. There’s no evidence that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment.

Donald Trump said: “The replacement of our beloved Justice [Antonin] Scalia will be a person of similar views and principles and judicial philosophy. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election. My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”

Background: When Trump made this same claim earlier in the cycle, Politifact rated the claim false after finding no evidence of Clinton ever advocating for the abolishment of the Second Amendment.

Her campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin vehemently denied the charge, saying “Of course Hillary Clinton does not want to repeal the Second Amendment," and there’s also numerous examples of Clinton couching her discussion of gun control as a balancing act between safety and Americans’ right to bear arms.

Some Republicans have pointed to a leaked audio recording of Clinton saying the "The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment" as demonstrable proof she wants to overturn the amendment. But according to Clinton’s campaign, Clinton was referring to her disagreement with Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision; she would have preferred the court decided the case in a way that gave cities and states more latitude to enact local safety measures.

Bottom line: there’s no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

Fact Check: America One of the Highest-Taxed Nations in the World

Claim: America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world

Status: Mostly False. The U.S. is near the bottom of the list of industrialized countries in terms of taxes as a share of GDP. But marginal corporate tax rates are among the highest.

Donald Trump said: “Middle-income Americans will experience profound relief, and taxes will be simplified for everyone. America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country.”

Background: An analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows the U.S. has among the lowest taxes as a share of GDP compared to other industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

If Trump had claimed more narrowly that American corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world, he would have been more accurate. According to Tax Foundation, the U.S. has the third highest marginal corporate tax rate in the world at 39 percent.

But as Politifact notes, the marginal corporate tax rate doesn’t account for deductions and exclusions, which lowers the amount of tax companies pay in practice. Using a different metric--corporate tax revenue as a percentage of GDP--the U.S. ranked 17th among the 33 industrialized countries (OECD), according to 2014 data.

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton Supported TPP

Claim: Hillary Clinton has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Status: Technically true, but misleading because it omits the fact Hillary Clinton now opposes TPP.

Donald Trump said: “She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Background: While Donald Trump is correct that Hillary Clinton has in the past supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this claim omits the crucial fact that she now opposes TPP.

Politifact rates Clinton’s shifting positions on the agreement a flip-flop, laying out the following timeline of her eroding support for the Pacific trade deal:

Clinton gave it emphatic support in 2012 remarks in Australia, calling TPP, “gold standard in trade agreements.”

She would later moderate that position in her 2014 memoir Hard Choices, describing the agreement with conditional language: “Because TPP negotiations are still ongoing, it makes sense to reserve judgment until we can evaluate the final proposed agreement [...]. [B]ut its higher standards, if implemented and enforced, should benefit American businesses and workers.”

Then in an October 2015 interview with PBS Newshour, Clinton announced she’d stopped supporting TPP. "As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set."

ABC News’ Liz Kreutz confirms Clinton remains opposed TPP.

Fact Check: No Way to Screen Syrian Refugees

Claim: There is no way to screen Syrian refugees

Rating: False. While intelligence gaps abroad means there's a degree of risk in resettling refugees from Syria and elsewhere, the U.S. employs a thorough, multi-stage vetting process.

Donald Trump said: “My opponent has called for a radical 550% increase in Syrian—think of this, this is not believable but this is what’s happening—refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country already under the ‘leadership’ of President Obama. She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from.” Background: As flagged in an earlier fact check, the typical vetting process for resettling refugees in the U.S. comprises a series of hurdles, the first of which is to meet the legal definition of a “refugee” (roughly 1 percent of applicants is deemed eligible), which can take up to 10 months.

The U.S. then vets refugees through multiple federal intelligence and security agencies, with roughly half being approved at this stage, according to the State Department. Then the names, biographical information and fingerprints of these refugees are processed through FBI, State Department, Homeland Security and Defense Department databases.

Finally, in the case of Syrian refugees, there’s an added step of having their information cross-referenced with classified and unclassified information. Syrian refugees are also reportedly vetted through a secret national security screening program.

The vetting process typically takes from 18-24 months. To expedite the process for Syrian refugees, the Obama Administration launched a surge operation with the hopes of reducing the time to three months in hopes of resettling some 10,000 refugees by fall 2016. According to the New York Times, however, the “onerous and complex web of security checks and vetting procedures” has hampered the expedited process.

U.S. officials have expressed concerns over intelligence gaps in Syria, and the accuracy of the failed state’s criminal and terrorist databases. As FBI Director James Comey told congressional panel in October 2015: "If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them."

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton Called for 550 Percent Increase in Syrian Refugees

Claim: Hillary Clinton has called for a 550% increase in Syrian refugees

Rating: True. Hillary Clinton said she would like to move from President Obama’s goal of 10,000 Syrian refugees to 65,000

Donald Trump said: “My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian—think of this, this is not believable but this is what’s happening—refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country already under the ‘leadership’ of President Obama.”

Background: As flagged in a previous fact check, after President Obama directed his administration in September 2015 to accept at least 10,000 additional Syrian refugees, Hillary Clinton went further, saying she’d like to accept more than six times that figure. “I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000.”

Fact Check: Immigration Means Lower Wages for Americans

Claim: Immigration means lower wages for Americans

Rating: Questionable. The jury is still out. The CBO found immigration reform would mean a modest, temporary wage decrease. Some economists say wages go down, others say it actually goes up.

Donald Trump said: “Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.”

Background: Economists disagree on the effects of immigration on U.S. wages.

Many argue that an influx of low-skill workers drives down wages for low-skill Americans. Analyzing comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, the CBO found the proposed law would mean a “modest” and temporary wage hit across sectors:

"CBO’s central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law."

The Wall Street Journal has pointed to a handful of studies showing that “more broadly distributed economic benefits to the economy, a less severe squeeze on wage and occasionally even a boost to pay from immigration.”

A National Bureau of Economic Research study found that, while wages can be driven down, other economic benefits can offset that and locally, “immigrants can raise native workers' real wages, and each immigrant could create more than one job.”

Some economists argue that immigration does not drive down low-skilled wages, because American workers are not competing for the same jobs, and that Americans’ wages actually increase.

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton Deleted Emails to Hide Crimes

Claim: Hillary Clinton deleted emails to hide other crimes

Rating: Highly Questionable. This is a speculative accusation not supported by evidence. Some of Clinton’s work-related emails were deleted, but FBI Dir. James Comey disputed the notion that Clinton intentionally deleted work-related emails to hide them.

Donald Trump said: “And when a Secretary of State illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never ever before in our country … They were just used to save her from facing justice for her terrible, terrible crimes.”

Background: As is widely known, Hillary Clinton used a personal email server as Secretary of State. Some of those emails were deleted and found later by the FBI; some are permanently gone.

Clinton handed over emails to the State Dept. her lawyers had deemed work related. They deleted the rest. FBI Director James Comey revealed that some of Clinton’s emails were “deleted over the years” in periodic purges. Some work-related emails were deleted by Clinton’s lawyers as personal, and some were found by the FBI in other people’s email archives.

The deleted emails are gone for good. Comey said Clinton’s lawyers “cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.”

But Comey specifically stated that no evidence supported what Trump claims here.

“[W]e found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them,” Comey said, during his widely publicized press conference.

It’s impossible to know whether Hillary Clinton really did commit “terrible crimes” unbeknownst to the public and deleted emails to hide them. But Trump presents his speculative accusation without evidence to support it.

Fact Check: US Gave Iran $150 Billion for Nothing

Claim: The U.S. gave Iran $150 billion for "nothing"

Rating: False. Some estimates put the figure closer to $56 billion, and while it’s arguable what the U.S. got out of the controversial deal, the International Atomic Agency verified that Iran made nuclear concessions.

Background: Trump said: “the Iran deal … gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us absolutely nothing.”

It’s possible to argue, as many have, that the Iran deal is bad -- but it’s simply not the case that the U.S. "gave" Iran $150 billion for nothing.

For one, the U.S. did not transfer any of its own money to Iran, although the word “gave” might make it sound that way. The U.S. and world powers agreed to unfreeze Iranian assets by lifting international sanctions. Non-nuclear-related sanctions remain in place.

The $150 billion figure is at the high end of estimates. The U.S. Treasury has put the figure closer to $56 billion.

When the deal was implemented the IAEA verified that Iran had:

  • Disabled its Arak heavy-water reactor, filling its core with concrete
  • Removed centrifuges from other reactors
  • Drastically reduced its stock of low-enriched Uranium
  • Submitted to a monitoring regime
  • Those measures increased the time it would take Iran to build a bomb.

    The value of what the U.S. got is arguable, and criticism has been raised about monitoring requirements and Iranian procurement activities.

    Fact Check: Obama Signed the Iran Deal After U.S. Sailors Were Capture

    Claim: Obama signed the Iran deal just after U.S. sailors were captured by Iran and forced to kneel

    Rating: False. The deal was finalized six months earlier. It was enacted soon after U.S. sailors were captured, but that was a formality, after the agreement had already been finalized.

    Background: Trump said: “We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal.”

    In January 2016, Iran captured U.S. sailors, who were videotaped kneeling, soon before the Iran nuclear deal was enacted. But this was long after the deal was finalized, and the enactment was a formality after the International Atomic Energy Agency had certified Iranian compliance.

    Here’s the timeline, according to the Brookings Institution: July 14, 2015: The Iran nuclear deal is finalized, in Vienna, between Iran, the U.S., and other world powers. Jan. 13, 2016: Iran releases 10 U.S. sailors, a day after detaining them after they strayed into Iranian waters. Iranian state TV airs video of the sailors kneeling.

    Jan. 16, 2016: The Iran deal is implemented after the IAEA verifies that Iran has taken steps to dismantle its nuclear program.

    Fact Check: Crime Has Increased Under President Obama

    Claim: Crime has increased under Obama’s presidency

    Rating: False. Crime has continued to decrease under the Obama administration, according to the latest data.

    Background: Trump said, “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.”

    Although Trump refers to increases in certain types of violent crime in the last year in certain cities, violent crime rates and property crime rates on a national scale have both decreased since President Obama took office on an annual basis, according to the FBI’s latest data.

    The latest comparable annual data the FBI has made available is from 2014. In 2014, the FBI reported that there was a property crime offense rate of 2,596.1 per 100,000 inhabitants and a violent crime offense rate of 365.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2009, President Obama’s first year in office, there was a property crime offense rate of 3,041.3 per 100,000 inhabitants and a violent crime offense rate of 431.9 per 100,000. On both counts, according to this data, crime has decreased.

    The FBI did release preliminary semiannual crime statistics for the first six months of 2015, showing a 1.7-percent increase in violent crime when compared to the number of violent crime offenses committed in the first six months of 2014. It found a 4.2-percent decrease in property crime offenses committed in the first six months of 2015 when compared to the first six months of 2014. However, annual numbers for 2015 have not yet been released by the FBI, leaving us with 2014 as the latest comparable dataset of crime committed on an annual basis.

    DAY THREE: Wednesday, July 20

    Fact Check: Hillary Clinton Took Money from the Saudi Government

    Claim: Hillary Clinton took money from the Saudi government.

    Rating: Misleading. The Clinton Foundation has received donations from the Saudi government, but Hillary Clinton has not taken that money.

    Background: Newt Gingrich said, “So when you hear about Hillary’s dishonesty, of the emails or taking millions from the Saudis and other Middle Eastern dictatorships, remember — this is not about politics.”

    Republicans have pointed to donations that the Clinton Foundation received from the Saudi government to imply that Clinton personally benefited from the donations. PolitiFact did a thorough analysis of the claim after Donald Trump posted on Facebook that the foundation received over $25 million from the Saudi government.

    The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given a total of $10 million to $25 million since the foundation started in 1997, according to its website. However, Clinton became a board member of the foundation only after she left government service in 2013, and she resigned from the board after launching her presidential bid last year. According to PolitiFact, the foundation did not receive donations from Saudi Arabia while she served as secretary of state.

    There is no evidence that Clinton personally took money from the Saudi government, as Gingrich implied. The foundation that bears her name has received money from Saudi Arabia, but it is important to note the distinction between her and the Clinton Foundation, as well as the timing of the donations and their purpose.

    Fact Check: Donald Trump Set Aside His Company and Global Brand to Run for President

    Claim: Donald Trump set aside his company and global brand to run for president.

    Status: False. Donald Trump has not transferred his commercial assets, continues to engage in corporate litigation and has even touted Trump brand wines, steaks and bottled spring water at a press conference during the course of his presidential run.

    Background: Eric Trump said, “My father made the courageous decision to set aside a company to which he has dedicated his entire life, to set aside a global brand that he has made synonymous with success, with quality, with uncompromising, just the best.”

    According to ethics lawyers, if Donald Trump becomes president and wants to avoid a conflict of interest, he would need to sell off his businesses, place his assets into a blind trust and cut off communication with his chief financial adviser.

    Until then, however, no such ethical requirements bind presidential candidates, and Trump has continued to advance his commercial interests during his campaign.

    Headlines abound showing Trump commingling politics and business and using the political stage to further his commercial ventures (“Trump Leverages Campaign to Talk About DC Hotel,” “Donald Trump Touts Trump Brands, From Steaks to Wine”), and two months into his campaign, Trump slapped restaurateur Jose Andres with a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit, which is pending.

    Fact Check: Obama Administration Lied About the Iran Deal

    Claim: Barack Obama's administration — including Clinton — lied about the Iran deal.

    Rating: Questionable. Critics made this claim after The New York Times published a profile of Obama aide Ben Rhodes and how the White House spun the deal, but it’s not clear whether anyone lied.

    Background: Gingrich said, “Hillary Clinton has been right at the center of this dishonesty. We know this administration and its allies lied to us about the Iran nuclear deal. We know it because they openly bragged about it to The New York Times.”

    In the Times’ much-discussed profile in May, Rhodes admitted that he and the White House created an “echo chamber” of positive commentary on the controversial nuclear deal with Iran. He voiced contempt for the U.S. foreign-policy establishment and bragged a bit about the public selling of the deal.

    The notion that Obama and others lied stems from the writer, David Samuels, who wrote that the public story about Iran was “largely manufactured” because it was “politically useful” to Obama. The apparent lie? That Iran was on the verge of turning a political corner toward moderation and liberalism. Former CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Times in that article that there wasn’t really much hope that liberal voices in Iran would gain strength.

    But no one in the administration said to Samuels that the story was manufactured, noted Iran expert Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution points out. Furthermore, Obama and John Kerry said publicly that the deal was not supposed to lead to Iran’s becoming a democracy and gave some appropriately nuanced descriptions of Iran and its hard-line politics.

    The notion that Iran was politically divided happens to have been true, Maloney writes. The election of President Hassan Rouhani and the Green Revolution protests against his hard-liner predecessor President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were factors that led to negotiations for the deal.

    So there was some bragging in the Times about the successful campaign to sell the deal, but it’s not clear whether the administration lied publicly about it or boasted about having done so.

    Fact Check: Clinton Lied About Benghazi

    Claim: Clinton turned her back on American officials in Benghazi, Libya, and lied about the attack.

    Rating: Questionable. No investigation has shown Clinton ignored the attack. It’s impossible to know whether Clinton intentionally lied later, but her references to protests and a controversial video are in keeping with emails obtained by ABC.

    Background: Scott Walker said Clinton “turned her back on the fallen heroes in Benghazi ... and then she lied about it to the American people.” This combines two claims, both of which are dubious.

    The allegation that she “turned her back” on the Benghazi victims appears to be an allusion to a supposed stand down order — oft repeated by Clinton critics — that kept security forces there from defending the U.S. Consulate. No investigation, including House Republicans’, has found that Clinton (or anyone else) ordered U.S. security forces to stand down as the attack unfolded, although some who have claimed direct knowledge of the attack, including a CIA contractor who fought that night, have stood by that claim.

    The charge that Clinton lied about Benghazi stems from the claim by Patricia Smith — the mother of Sean Smith, one of four Americans killed at the consular facility there — that Clinton told victims’ families that the attack was inspired by protests sparked by a controversial video (a claim Clinton disputes) and a public statement by Clinton referring to that video after the attack.

    State Department emails obtained by ABC News in 2013 show that as U.S. diplomatic, defense and intelligence agencies crafted talking points to explain the attack in its immediate aftermath, all versions of those explanations included references to protests inspiring the attack.

    Fact Check: The U.S. Government Admits ISIS Terrorists as Refugees

    Claim: The U.S. government admits ISIS terrorists into the country as refugees.

    Rating: False. While intelligence gaps abroad means there's a degree of risk in resettling refugees from Syria and elsewhere, the U.S. employs a thorough, multistage vetting process. Recent historical data further undermine this claim.

    Background: Ted Cruz said, “We deserve an immigration system that puts America first and, yes, builds a wall to keep America safe. A government that stops admitting ISIS terrorists as refugees.”

    The typical vetting process for resettling refugees in the U.S. consists of a series of hurdles, the first of which is to meet the legal criteria for refugee status (roughly 1 percent of applicants are deemed eligible), which can take up to 10 months.

    The U.S. then vets refugees through multiple federal intelligence and security agencies, with roughly half being approved at this stage, according to the State Department. Then the names, biographical information and fingerprints of these refugees are processed through FBI, State Department, Homeland Security and Defense Department databases.

    Finally, in the case of Syrian refugees, there’s an added step of having their information cross-referenced with classified and unclassified information. Syrian refugees are also reportedly vetted through a secret national security screening program.

    The vetting process typically takes 18 to 24 months. To expedite the process for Syrian refugees, the Obama administration launched a surge operation with the hopes of reducing the time to three months, in hopes of resettling some 10,000 refugees by this fall. According to The New York Times, however, the “onerous and complex web of security checks and vetting procedures” has hampered the expedited process.

    U.S. officials have expressed concerns over intelligence gaps in Syria and the accuracy of the failed state’s criminal and terrorist databases. As FBI Director James Comey told s congressional panel in October 2015, “If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but ... nothing [will] show up because we have no record of them.”

    Despite concerns about the vetting process, the data show the vast majority of individuals charged in the United States with terrorism were U.S.-born citizens. From 2001 to August 2015, out of the 497 individuals charged, nine had refugee status, while 320 were U.S.-born citizens, according to reporting by ABC News’ Serena Marshall and Jordyn Phelps

    Fact Check: Obama Gave Iran the Bomb, Vilified Israel

    Claim: Obama’s deal will give Iran nuclear weapons, and Obama vilified Israel.

    Rating: Questionable. The jury remains out on the Iran deal. Reports have suggested Iran has not cheated, although German intelligence says Iran has sought sensitive equipment. Obama’s administration has criticized but not vilified Israel.

    Background: Oil mogul Harold Hamm said, “Instead, he turned on Iranian oil, gave them the bomb, billions of dollars, and vilified Israel. Why would he do that?”

    The administration finalized the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, promising to incrementally unfreeze Iranian assets in exchange for the destruction or downgrading of nuclear material and meeting a series of benchmarks.

    In July, The New York Times and The Associated Press reported that, Iran has abided by the deal, shutting down thousands of centrifuges and exporting almost its entire stockpile of material that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

    However, in a report covering 2015, Germany’s Interior Ministry said that Iran sought to procure a “quantitatively high level” of “items which can be used in the field of nuclear technology.” It expected that Iran will continue clandestine procurement efforts in Germany. Critics have focused on this report.

    The jury is still out on whether Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon under the relaxed sanctions regime, but so far, it has given up nuclear materials and reportedly lived up to the deal.

    As for Obama’s treatment of Israel, his administration has been critical of the country, particularly regarding civilian Palestinian casualties during the Gaza war. Obama has had a frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as has been widely reported. But the use of “vilified” is an interpretation on Hamm’s part and is more rhetorical device than fact.

    DAY TWO: Tuesday, July 19

    Fact Check: Clinton Paid Women Less Than Men

    Claim: Clinton’s Senate office and the Clinton Foundation paid male employees more than it paid female ones.

    Rating: Questionable, but supported by some data. The claim about Clinton’s Senate office is supported by data, but it doesn’t include other work women were doing. The claim about the Clinton Foundation is true about high-ranking employees, but it doesn’t count lower-level employees.

    Background: On their face, both claims are supported by data, but those data have been thrown into question by incompleteness and counterclaims by Clinton’s staff.

    Actress and businesswoman Kimberlin Brown said, “In both Sen. Clinton’s office and the Clinton Foundation, men have been paid better than women.”

    In Clinton’s Senate office, The Free Beacon found in a study of then publicly available salary data, women were paid 72 cents on the dollar compared with men. As PolitiFact reported, Clinton aides noted that some staffers took leave from Clinton’s Senate office to do work for PACs or campaigns, and when that other work is taken into account, female employees were paid the same as men. For instance, PolitiFact wrote, Huma Abedin made $20,000 working for Clinton’s Senate office but $150,000 working for her campaign in 2008. Other staffers worked for assorted Clinton political groups.

    For the Clinton Foundation, higher pay for men is evident in its 990 forms, PolitiFact has pointed out — although those forms list salaries only for high-level employees. In each year, about eight to 12 employee salaries are listed for the foundation. Women were paid about 77 cents on the dollar compared with men.

    The gender pay gap is important at the lower end of the wage scale too, and it’s important to show a full picture. These data don’t do that. At the same time, the publicly available data show the Clinton Foundation paying men more than women and support the claim.

    Fact Check: Clinton Against and for Sanctuary Cities

    Claim: Clinton was against sanctuary cities before supporting them.

    Rating: Mostly true. Clinton criticized San Francisco for not facilitating the deportation of a man who would eventually murder a woman. Later her representative claimed Clinton supports so-called sanctuary cities, or municipalities that do not always hand over undocumented immigrants to federal immigration authorities for deportation.

    Background: Mitch McConnell said of Clinton, “She used to be against sanctuary cities. Then she claimed to be for them.”

    In the wake of a case in San Francisco last summer where it was discovered that an undocumented man who killed a woman had been deported in several instances but was able to stay in the city after returning and avoiding deportation, Clinton said on June 7, 2015, to CNN, “Well, what should be done is any city should listen to the Department of Homeland Security, which, as I understand it, urged them to deport this man again after he got out of prison another time. Here’s a case where we’ve deported, we’ve deported, we’ve deported. He ends back up in our country, and I think the city made a mistake. The city made a mistake not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported.”

    On June 9, a Clinton representative clarified Clinton’s position, saying, “Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years.”

    PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence stand on the stage together as balloons drop on the final day of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 21, 2016.
    SLIDESHOW: The 2016 Republican National Convention

    Fact Check: Clinton Is an Apologist for Boko Haram

    Claim: Clinton is an “apologist” for Boko Haram. She and President Barack Obama responded to its kidnapping of more than 200 girls with a “hashtag campaign.”

    Rating: False. It is based on the fact that Clinton’s State Department declined to list Boko Haram as a terrorist group out of concern that doing so would raise the group’s profile. But publicly Clinton has denounced the group, and she was not the secretary of state when the kidnapping happened.

    Chris Christie said, “In Nigeria, Hillary Clinton amazingly fought for two years to keep an al-Qaeda affiliate off the terrorist watch list … The schoolgirls are still missing today. What was the solution from the Obama-Clinton team? A hashtag campaign. Hillary Clinton, as an apologist for an al-Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria resulting in the capture of innocent young women, guilty or not guilty?”

    Background: In 2011, Clinton’s State Department declined to list Boko Haram, the terrorist group that would abduct more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, as a foreign terrorist organization, against the recommendations of the DOJ, the FBI, the CIA and lawmakers, Josh Rogin reported for The Daily Beast in 2014.

    That move, however, appears to have been based on a disagreement over whether listing Boko Haram would elevate its status. A State Department official said as much to Rogin in the same story. The assertion that she is an apologist appears to be a rhetorical exaggeration criticizing that decision. But publicly, Clinton has denounced Boko Haram.

    As a former State Department official points out, the criticism of Clinton’s response to Boko Haram’s 2014 kidnapping is anachronistic, as she was no longer secretary of state when the kidnapping happened:

    Fact Check: Clinton Lied About Her Own Name

    Claim: Clinton lied about why her parents named her Hillary.

    Rating: Questionable. It’s not clear that Clinton lied, but Clinton repeated a story, which turned out to be not true but “family legend,” about being named after Everest climber Edmund Hillary.

    Background: In 1995, after visiting Nepal, Clinton recounted that her mother had “always told me” she was named after Edmund Hillary.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, of Clinton, “She even lied about why her parents named her Hillary.”

    It turned out that story wasn’t true, and The New York Times added a correction in 2006 after presenting it as fact.

    “An article on Wednesday about an addition to the Clinton household in Washington — Dorothy Rodham, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s mother — mistakenly perpetuated a story that Mrs. Rodham had named her daughter for the mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary. That statement was based on a 1995 interview with Mrs. Clinton during her visit to Nepal, in which she met Sir Edmund and related the story, as told to her by her mother. As it turns out, the tale was just a family legend. An article today takes a look at how that yarn came to be,” the correction read.

    The New York Times followed up with a story noting that Hillary and his Sherpa guide reached the Everest summit in 1953 — six years after Clinton was born in 1947.

    “It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results, I might add,” Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Hanley told the Times in 2006.

    Fact Check: Democrats in the Senate Blocked Zika and Defense Funding Bills

    Claim: Senate Democrats blocked Zika and defense funding bills.

    Rating: Technically true but omits key facts.

    Background: McConnell, said, “As we sit here tonight, a terrifying mosquito-borne illness threatens expectant mothers and their babies along the Southern Coast. And just last week, Clinton Democrats in the Senate blocked a bill aimed at eradicating that virus before it spread. They blocked a defense funding bill, a bill that would support the brave men and women who are right now defending us overseas.”

    While it’s technically true Senate Democrats blocked both bills, the reality is more complicated.

    Senate Democrats rejected the Zika bill because Republicans included a provision that would have effectively excluded Planned Parenthood from receiving Zika funding, as well as a provision to allow Confederate flags to be flown at Veterans Affairs hospitals, which would overturn existing law. Senators will vote again on the Zika bill on their first day back in session in September.

    On the Defense Department funding bill, Senate Democrats voted — almost as a bloc — to defeat the bill as part of their pledge to block any spending bill until McConnell promises to abide by last year’s budget agreement and refrain from adding partisan so-called poison pill provisions to bills.

    Fact Check: Emails Clinton Sent to Other Individuals From Private Email Server Were Hacked

    Claim: Emails of people with whom Clinton communicated were hacked.

    Rating: True. The FBI could not confirm whether Clinton’s private email server was hacked, but the emails of others to whom she sent messages from her private server were hacked.

    Background: Michael Mukasey, a former United States attorney general, said, “Although her system was so remarkably primitive, the FBI could not figure out whether or not it had been hacked, we know that the emails of people with whom she communicated were hacked.”

    In the spring of 2013, Sid Blumenthal’s email was hacked, which revealed the existence of Clinton’s private server.

    So while it is true that emails Clinton sent to other individuals from her private email server were hacked, James Comey, in announcing the FBI’s decision not to recommend criminal charges for her or her staff, said that investigators could not conclude whether Clinton’s email server was hacked for certain. He said, “It is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”

    Fact Check: Clinton Said, ‘What Difference ... Does It Make?’ About Deaths of Americans in Benghazi

    Claim: Clinton said, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” in discussing the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

    Rating: False. Clinton said this at a hearing in response to a question about the cause of these American’s deaths. This was not a question she asked about their deaths writ large.

    Background: Mukasey said in his speech, “About her emails, we have to ask ourselves the infamous question that she asked about the death of four Americans in Benghazi – ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’”

    At a hearing Clinton said “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or because or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”

    In context, she was voicing her frustration about questions over the cause of these Americans’ deaths, not about whether the deaths themselves were significant, as Mukasey suggests in his speech.

    DAY ONE: Monday, July 18

    Fact Check: ISIS Is Present in All 50 States

    Claim: ISIS terrorists are present in all 50 states.

    Rating: Questionable. Rep. Michael McCaul said that there have been ISIS-related investigations in all 50 states. In this sense, there have been investigations into possible ISIS supporters in all 50 states, but it is not possible to confirm whether ISIS terrorists are actually present.

    Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said that “In fact, according to the FBI, ISIS is present in all 50 states. Think about that for a moment. Terrorists from ISIS are in every one of our 50 states.”

    Background: Bret Baier in March asked McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, “At one point there was talk that there were investigations into ISIS in all 50 states. Is that still the case?” McCaul responded, “That’s still the case. We’ve arrested over 80 ISIS followers.”

    Last year James Comey said that the FBI had opened investigations into individuals “in various stages of radicalizing” in all 50 states, in connection to concerns about homegrown terrorism.

    Radicalization often happens online and from afar, according to recent studies. Being in various stages of radicalization does not necessarily mean that person is an ISIS member or a terrorist. The New York Times has profiled people in such stages, such as a young woman in Washington state who was attracted to an ISIS community on Twitter but did not act on her affinity for ISIS recruiters.

    Comey’s and McCaul’s statements generally support Ernst’s statement, but the senator’s characterization is broader than what we can factually conclude.

    Fact Check: American Trade Deficits with China and South Korea Have Multiplied

    Claim: U.S. trade deficits with South Korea have doubled, deficits with China have risen fivefold.

    Rating: Mostly true. The South Korea deficit has more than doubled since a free-trade agreement in 2011. The U.S. trade deficit with China has risen threefold since the permanent normalization of trade relations in 2000, adjusting for inflation.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said trade deals “have not worked for the American people. When those agreements were signed, President [Bill] Clinton and Obama promised our dangerous trade deficits with China and Korea would be reduced, but the deficit with China has increased fivefold, and the deficit with Korea has more than doubled in just four years.”

    Background: Criticizing trade deals has been a central argument for Trump and his backers. Here, Sessions’ statement is mostly accurate.

    After Obama enacted a free-trade agreement with South Korea in 2011, the U.S. deficit with South Korea grew from $13.2 billion in 2011 to $28.3 billion in 2015, the last full year of statistics maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. Even adjusting for inflation, Sessions is correct.

    After Bill Clinton signed a law granting normal trade relations to China in 2000, the U.S.deficit with China grew from $83.8 billion in 2000 to $367.1 billion in 2015 — a more than fourfold increase. In nominal dollars, Sessions is close to correct, but adjusting for inflation, he is farther off the mark: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, $83.3 billion in 2000 dollars is worth $115.3 billion in 2015 dollars. Taking inflation into account, the increase is closer to threefold.

    Other trade agreements present a mixed bag. The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico skyrocketed from $1.6 billion in 1993, when NAFTA was passed, to $60.6 billion in 2015. The Central America Free Trade Agreement turned deficits with Honduras and El Salvador into surpluses. A 2011 deal with Panama hasn’t meant much change.

    Fact Check: Hillary Clinton Supports Influx of Syrian Refugees

    Claim: Clinton supports “surge of Syrian refugees.”

    Rating: True. Clinton said she would like to move from Obama’s goal of 10,000 Syrian refugees to 65,000

    Rep. Mike McCaul said, “And now Hillary Clinton is promising more of the same. Open borders, executive amnesty and a surge of Syrian refugees.”

    Background: After Obama directed his administration in September 2015 to accept at least 10,000 additional Syrian refugees, Clinton went further, saying, “I would like to see us move from what is a good start, with 10,000, to 65,000.”

    Fact Check: Clinton’s Immigration Policy Promises ‘Open Borders’

    Claim: Clinton’s immigration policy promises “open borders.”

    Rating: False. Clinton’s immigration plan calls for U.S. border protection and the deportation of violent criminals.

    McCaul said, “Tonight, we heard powerful testimony from people who have been devastated by Obama’s reckless immigration policies. Haven’t we had enough?”

    Background: A signature feature of Donald Trump’s tough-on-immigration stance is his promise to build a wall on the southern border of the United States and make Mexico pay for it. To underscore the contrast between him and Clinton, Trump has caricatured her immigration policy by saying it would create “open borders.” This claim was ruled false by PolitiFact and repeated last night by McCaul.

    In fact, Clinton’s plan for immigration reform includes a call to protect U.S. borders and a focus on “detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety.” While on the campaign trail, she has touted her support for border security. “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders.”

    Fact Check: Clinton lied about the cause of the Benghazi attack

    Claim: Clinton lied to families of Benghazi victims, telling them the attack was inspired by protests over a controversial video.

    Rating: Questionable. Clinton disputes Patricia Smith’s claim that Clinton told her that a video was the reason for her son’s death.

    “When I saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony just days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible,” said Pat Smith, the mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith.

    Background: At a Washington Post–Univision debate in March, Jorge Ramos showed Clinton a clip of Pat Smith speaking on Fox News, in which she said that Clinton and other administration officials “all told me it was a video when they knew, they knew it was not a video” in explaining the reason for the Benghazi attack. Ramos asked, “Secretary Clinton, did you lie to them?”

    Clinton responded, “I certainly can’t even imagine the grief that she has for losing her son. But she’s wrong. She’s absolutely wrong. I and everybody in the administration — all the people she named: the president, the vice president, Susan Rice — we were scrambling to get information that was changing literally by the hour. And when we had information, we made it public. But then sometimes we had to go back and say we have new information that contradicts it.”

    Vox captured this moment from the debate:

    State Deptartment emails obtained by ABC News in 2013 show a changing story about the Benghazi attack, as administration talking points were developed. All versions of those talking points include references to protests inspiring the attack, but references to CIA warnings of a terrorist threat and the CIA’s belief that a terrorist group was involved in the attack were removed.

    Fact Check: US Military Responders Were Ordered to Stand Down During the 2012 Benghazi Attack

    Claim: U.S. military responders were ordered to stand down during the 2012 Benghazi attack.

    Rating: Highly questionable. Every investigation ever done on Benghazi concluded there was no stand down order.

    John Tiegen, one of the six U.S. military responders to the 2012 Benghazi attack, said, “We immediately got our gear ready to go, got the vehicles ready, and on three separate occasions, we got told to wait by the chief of base, Bob, and we got told to stand down. Next thing we know, we hear the State Department over the radio saying ‘Hey, if you guys don’t get here, we are all going to die!” Stand down order be damned. The consulate’s under siege. We took off. We left. We weren’t waiting no more.”

    Background: Republicans often cite the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, as an emblem of the national security failures of the Obama administration and the State Department under Clinton. One of the more politically potent claims is that the CIA station chief in Benghazi ordered U.S. military responders to stand down as the attack on the U.S. Consulate and CIA annex was underway.

    But according to ABC News’ Justin Fishel, every investigation ever done on Benghazi has concluded there was no stand down order, including the House Intelligence report and the most recent House Select Committee on Benghazi, an investigation that lasted two years and cost more than $7 million.

    Yet even as investigators said no stand down order was given, some people who claimed to have direct knowledge have furthered this claim, which was also portrayed in the movie “13 Hours.” Former Special Forces Officer Kris Paronto, one of the CIA contractors who fought that night, told Politico in January, “There is no sensationalism in that. We were told to stand down … Those words were used verbatim — 100 percent.”

    Fact Check: No One Was Held Accountable for Operation Fast and Furious

    Claim: No one was held accountable for the failures of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Operation Fast and Furious.

    Rating: False. Some people at the Department of Justice were punished over the controversial gun-tracking program.

    Kent Terry, the brother of slain border patrol agent Brian Terry, said, “Two weapons recovered from the scene were traced back to Obama’s failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation. Guns were used against Americans on American soil, and yet no one in [the] Obama administration has been held accountable.”

    Background: Brian Terry’s death is a significant point of criticism in the scandal over Operation Fast and Furious, a program to track guns trafficked to violent criminal gangs in Mexico. The operation went awry and caused a scandal for Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration, as U.S. agents were attacked with U.S. weapons and civilians were massacred with the guns, according to reporting by Univision’s investigative unit in 2012.

    Critics called for more severe measures, but some officials faced consequences. A DOJ Office of the Inspector General report in 2012 recommended disciplinary and administrative review for 14 DOJ and ATF officials, including the head of the DOJ’s criminal division. After the report’s release, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein resigned for failing to share information on the program with top DOJ officials. In 2011 three ATF officials were reassigned, resigned or otherwise left the ATF in a shakeup.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, raised questions in 2015 about why an ATF agent was not fired for whistleblower abuse after that consequence was recommended, The Washington Times reported.

    Fact Check: Security Denied in Benghazi

    Claim: “All security had been pulled from the embassy” in Benghazi.

    Rating: False. Security requests were denied, but there was U.S. security in Benghazi. The consular facility in Benghazi, not the embassy in Tripoli, was attacked.

    “All security had been pulled from the embassy, he explained, and when he asked why, he never received a response,” said Patricia Smith.

    Background: The State Department did deny requests for additional security in Libya, but it is not accurate to say all security was pulled.

    Internal emails obtained by ABC in 2012 showed requests for additional security were denied. The security team at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli wanted to retain a DC-3 airplane for security purposes. Emails reflected that a State Department official denied the request.

    But there was security at the facility in Benghazi, and, ABC News’ Justin Fishel notes, there was a fight when the facility was attacked.

    ABC News’ Justin Fishel and Ali Rogin contributed to this report.