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First presidential debate 2020: fact-checking Biden and Trump



President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have taken the stage in Cleveland for the first presidential debate of the 2020 election. You are over in the middle of the debate on six pre-set topics: their respective records; the Supreme Court; Covid19; the economy; Race and Violence in American Cities; and the integrity of choice.

NBC News is verifying their statements in real time. Please check back regularly for the latest updates. For full coverage, see the debate’s live blog.

Were Trump’s claims about Hunter Biden’s overseas business true?

Trump and his allies have attacked former Vice President̵

7;s son Hunter Biden for doing business abroad.

On Tuesday, Trump reiterated one of the biggest claims in the recent GOP Senate Homeland Security Committee’s recent “conflict of interest investigation” against Hunter Biden – Trump claimed during the debate that “the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son $ 3.5 million. Which has he done? ” do to deserve it? “

The report, written by Wisconsin Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and Iowa Chuck Grassley, alleged that Elena Baturina, the former wife of the late former Moscow mayor, transferred $ 3.5 million to a Hunter Biden-affiliated company.

Hunter Biden’s legal team told NBC News that Biden was “not interested” in the company that received the money. “The claim that he received $ 3.5 million was wrong.”

And in the debate stage, the former vice president said the claim had been “totally discredited”.

The Senate’s GOP-led “Conflict of Interest” report largely re-emerged, particularly regarding Hunter Biden’s role on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company and what the committee called “questionable financial transactions between Hunter Biden and his employees and overseas Persons “. ”

The report focuses primarily on this look, and does not mean that Hunter Biden’s work has changed US politics. Andrew Bates, spokesman for the Biden campaign, criticized the report as an “attack based on a long-disproved right-wing conspiracy theory” which Johnson has “now expressly stated that he is trying to use it to save Donald Trump’s re-election campaign”.

Read the summary of the GOP report and the Biden campaign’s criticism of the probe here.

Has Trump cut drug prices?

“I’m lowering drug prices. I go with privileged nations that no president has the courage to do because you go against big pharmaceutical companies. The drug prices will drop by 80 or 90 percent, “said Trump on Tuesday evening.

“He doesn’t have a health care plan,” argued Biden. “He didn’t cut drug costs for anyone.”

Numerous fact-checking found that there was no evidence that Trump’s policies cut drug prices significantly, let alone “80 to 90 percent”, as he repeatedly claimed.

The prices for branded drugs are also rising.

Was there really “no ill effect” from Trump’s rallies, as he claimed?

Trump simply said that “we had no negative impact on the coronavirus at his rallies,” a claim that ignores the spate of Covid-19 cases linked to these campaign events.

A handful of Trump’s own campaign workers, including members of the Secret Service, tested positive for Covid-19 in the days surrounding his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in late June. Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain tested positive days after the rally and eventually died from the effects of the virus. While Cain attended the rally and was photographed without a mask, it is unclear where he contracted the virus.

Tulsa’s top health official said the rally “likely” contributed to an increase in cases after the rally.

Did Trump accurately characterize the Obama administration’s response to swine flu?

“Well, you didn’t do so well on the swine flu, H1N1, you were a disaster. Your own chief of staff said you were a disaster,” Trump told Biden on Tuesday night.

Trump is exaggerating here. Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff, has criticized the Obama administration’s response to swine flu, not specifically Biden.

“We did all sorts of things wrong – 60 million Americans received H1N1,” he said at a biosecurity summit in May 2019. “It is just a coincidence that this is not one of the major mass casualties in American history.” It had nothing to do with doing anything right. It was all about luck. “

Klain later told Politico his comments related to the government’s difficulties in producing enough of the vaccine they were developing, arguing that the Obama team adapted quickly to the pandemic – for example, reacting quickly and making supplies from federal supplies distributed – and made very different decisions than the Trump administration.

It’s also worth noting that swine flu has killed an estimated 12,000 people in the U.S., far fewer than the more than 200,000 who have died from Covid-19 to date. The Obama administration also received broad marks for its response to swine flu. While government reports retrospectively identified room for growth, they also highlighted achievements such as the rapid research and development of a vaccine that arrived in less than six months. There are few contemporaneous reports of the Obama administration’s response, which is the kind of unreserved disaster Trump suspects.

How many people are there in the US with pre-existing conditions?

Trump and Biden came out with conflicting statements about how many people in the US have pre-existing conditions. Biden said there are 100 million such people – and that they would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed. Trump insisted that Biden’s number was wrong.

“There are 100 million people already suffering from conditions and they are being taken away too,” Biden said. Trump replied, “There aren’t 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.”

Studies on the subject reveal an area that would make both men technically correct.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in 2018 that at least 53.8 million adults had a pre-existing medical condition that would make it impossible for them to get insurance.

Another study conducted by Avalere, a health care consultancy, estimated that 102 million Americans had a pre-existing illness that would make it impossible for them to get insurance.

A 2017 study by the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that around 133 million people already have an illness that would make it impossible for them to get insurance.

Do GOP health plans protect people with pre-existing medical conditions as Trump claimed?

Trump said on Tuesday: “Obamacare is not good. We did it better. And I had the choice very early on. We took away the individual mandate. We guarantee existing conditions.”

It’s true that Republicans removed Obamacare’s individual mandate – a provision designed to force people to buy health insurance or pay a fine through their taxes – as part of their 2017 tax bill. But Trump is wrong about pre-existing terms. We have already checked this extensively and it is still wrong.

Trump has long insisted that he and the GOP will protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing their health insurance – but he has pursued laws, litigation, and executive action to remove those protections under the Affordable Care Act.

A Trump-backed Republican bill included ACA state exemptions that would allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher prices and potentially foreclose them. It was passed by the House of Representatives and died in the Senate in 2017. Trump has also taken executive action to expand the use of short-term insurance plans that are not required to cover pre-existing conditions.

Trump recently signed a symbolic executive order affirming the protections Obamacare created. However, his administration backs a Republican-led lawsuit alleging the actual protections in the law should be lifted. The Republicans have yet to come up with a plan that would restore protection from existing conditions.

Did Trump characterize Biden’s health plan correctly?

Trump said during an irritable healthcare exchange about Biden’s health plan, “The bigger problem you have is you are wiping out 180 million people with their private health care that they are very happy with.”

This claim is wrong. It ties Biden’s plan to that of other Democrats pushing Medicare for All.

While there are mixed estimates of how many Americans have private insurance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that approximately 180 million people have private insurance.

Biden’s plan does not end private insurance as suggested by some of the other main opponents of Biden’s Democratic President. Instead, Biden’s health insurance plan creates a public option for those who wish to get state health insurance, while those with private insurance can keep their plan.

Many Republicans have tried to bind the Medicare for All proposals to all Democrats – and it is true that many Democratic members of Congress support the bill (118 in the House of Representatives and 14 in the Senate).

But Biden criticized Medicare for All during its campaign.

Will a GOP lawsuit rob “20 million people” of their insurance, as Biden claimed?

Biden claimed that the Republican-backed lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act would deprive 20 million people of their health care.

This is verified after several studies. The Center for American Progress estimates 23.3 million would lose their health care if the GOP-sponsored legal challenge to the law in the Supreme Court were successful in a recent analysis. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, an estimated 20 million people have been insured under Obamacare.

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