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Fact check: Trump Jr. touts baseless rigged-election claims to recruit ‘army’ for his dad – CNN

(CNN)Donald Trump Jr. is touting baseless election-rigging claims in videos posted to Facebook and Twitter asking “able-bodied” people to join an election security “army” for his father.

Facebook and Twitter affixed labels to the video pointing to accurate information about voting, but neither company said the video violated its election integrity rules in a way that would result in it being removed.
Twitter labeled the video only after being asked about it by CNN on Wednesday. The video had been on its site since Monday.
“The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father,” Trump Jr. said in the video posted by the Trump campaign. He added, “Their plan is to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election.”
Facts First: There is no factual basis for the claim that the left plans to use “millions of fraudulent ballots” or seeks to “steal this election” from President Donald Trump. The President himself has referred this week, also with no basis, to “fake ballots.” Trump has made repeated false and misleading claims calling the integrity of the election into question.
It is not entirely clear what the President or his son mean when they talk about fake or fraudulent ballots, but Trump and his allies have baselessly claimed that “unsolicited” mail-in ballots will be rife with voter fraud.
States have numerous safeguards in place to prevent against voter fraud, which is exceedingly rare. And some states, including reliably Republican Utah, have long sent out “unsolicited” ballots to all registered voters with no major incident.
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said the company had affixed a label to the video of Trump Jr. and pointed to a post outlining the company’s policy.
“We will attach an informational label to content that seeks to delegitimize the outcome of the election or discuss the legitimacy of voting methods, for example, by claiming that lawful methods of voting will lead to fraud,” it said.
Reached for comment on Wednesday, a Twitter spokesperson said, “We have placed a label on this Tweet, in line with our recently-updated Civic Integrity Policy.”

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Fact check: Trump says he’s done more for veterans than John McCain did — while taking credit for McCain’s veterans bill – CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump cited the Veterans Choice health care program on Thursday as evidence that he has done more for veterans than the late Sen. John McCain.

There are two big problems here.
One: Choice was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014.
Two: It was McCain’s bill.
McCain, a Navy veteran who was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years during the Vietnam War, was a lead author of the bipartisan legislation — putting it together with Sen. Bernie Sanders, another frequent target of Trump criticism.
Trump has lied more than 150 times that he is responsible for getting the Choice program created. It’s an especially egregious bit of deception, though, when he takes credit for McCain’s own initiative to argue he has been superior to McCain. When he did the same thing in 2019, we called it one of his 12 most notable lies of the year.
Trump made his latest comments about McCain while denying a report in The Atlantic magazine that alleged he had made various disparaging remarks about US soldiers who were killed, wounded or captured. The report said he had called McCain a “loser” after McCain died in 2018 and had expressed opposition to lowering flags to half-staff in McCain’s honor.
In Trump’s denial, he said on Twitter and to the media that he had not made these remarks — although, he added, he thinks McCain was less successful than he has been in taking care of veterans.
“I disagreed with him with respect to the vets and the taking care of the VA. I wanted to do it a much different way, and I think it’s proven to be a much more successful way when you look at the success we’ve had with the VA and with our vets — with Choice and with Accountability, all the things I’ve got,” he said after disembarking Air Force One after a trip to Pennsylvania.
Again, Choice — which allowed certain veterans to be covered by the government for receiving care from doctors outside the VA health system — is not something Trump “got.” What Trump actually signed was the VA MISSION Act of 2018, which modified and expanded the private-care program created by the Choice bill.
The full name of the VA MISSION Act honors McCain: it is the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018.
Trump made at least one other false claim in his denial: he said he had “never” called McCain a loser. In fact, he did so at a 2015 event in Iowa, on camera — saying of McCain’s defeat in the 2008 presidential election, “I never liked him as much after that, because I don’t like losers.”
Later the same day, he tweeted out an article that was headlined, “Donald Trump: John McCain Is ‘A Loser.'”

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Fact Check: Trump’s And Biden’s Records On Criminal Justice – NPR

Then-Sen. Joe Biden (right) speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference in 1994 after the Senate voted on a major crime bill.

John Duricka/AP

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John Duricka/AP

Then-Sen. Joe Biden (right) speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference in 1994 after the Senate voted on a major crime bill.

John Duricka/AP

For four nights, speakers at the Republican National Convention pilloried Democrat Joe Biden over his alleged weakness on crime and painted a dystopian future if he were to be elected in November.

Biden and Democrats were “completely silent about the rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities,” during their convention, President Trump charged on Thursday. The previous evening, Vice President Pence warned, “The hard truth is you will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

The speeches came as residents of Kenosha, Wis., were reeling from the shooting by police of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, and the resulting protests — during which two people were fatally shot. The unrest follows turmoil in other cities after police killed George Floyd, also a Black man, in Minneapolis in May.

7 Takeaways From The Republican National Convention

Fact Check: Trump's Address To The Republican Convention, Annotated

Pence claimed that Biden would “double down in the very policies that are leading to violence in American cites,” to which Biden responded with a reminder that “right now … we’re in Donald Trump’s America.”

The current crime rate

Statistics show that some crime has been increasing in big cities, with mayors who are Democrats and Republicans. According to figures compiled by data analyst and consultant Jeff Asher, the murder rate this year has increased by 26% through July, compared with a year ago. Other violent crimes are up slightly, while property crimes are down by 7.7%.

YTD change in murder, violent crime and property crime for 25 American cities with data publicly available through July.

Murder remains up big (+26%) while violent crime is roughly even and property crime remains solidly down relative to each city’s YTD 2019 total.

— Jeff Asher (@Crimealytics) August 24, 2020

This is a reversal of longer-term trends, in which violent crimes have been generally declining since the 1990s.

In an email, Asher says determining the cause for the increase this year is complicated.

“We barely have the data to recognize that a new trend is occurring, much less to be able to properly evaluate and diagnose its cause,” he says. But the “intense stresses being placed on numerous aspects of society by the pandemic is as persuasive as any.”

Crime Has Declined Overall During The Pandemic, But Shootings And Killings Are Up

How Trump's 'Law And Order' Message Has Shifted As He Seeks A 2nd Term

Trump’s record

The Trump administration announced this summer that it was sending federal resources to cities, including additional FBI agents, along with U.S. marshals and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to — in the Justice Department’s words — “fight the sudden surge of violent crime.”

But Trump — who promised in his 2016 acceptance speech that “the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end” — has a spotty record when it comes to criminal justice reform.

His signature achievement on the issue, the widely touted First Step Act, signed in 2018 and passed with bipartisan support in Congress, instituted sentencing reforms, including reducing harsh penalties for crack cocaine possession. And on Friday, Trump pardoned Alice Johnson, a criminal justice reform advocate who delivered a powerful address at the Republican National Convention this week and whose cause had been espoused by Kim Kardashian West. But some parts of the law have fallen short, activists say.

President Trump speaks about the First Step Act prison reform bill at the White House in 2018.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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President Trump speaks about the First Step Act prison reform bill at the White House in 2018.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In June, following the unrest after Floyd’s killing, Trump signed an executive order that would provide federal grants to improve police training and create a national database of police misconduct complaints. But it fell well short of what activists say is needed.

Congress was unable to reconcile police reform proposals earlier this summer.

Biden’s record

As Republicans were fond of noting during their convention, Biden has a 47-year record as a U.S. senator and then vice president. During much of his Senate career, he was a member of and chairman of the Judiciary Committee and in 1994 sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

It came in a different era, as Democrats set out to prove that they, too, were “tough on crime.” The bill included a 10-year ban on assault-style weapons as well as the Violence Against Women Act, which Biden points to today as a signal of his commitment to ending domestic violence.

Joe Biden Has Come A Long Way On Criminal Justice Reform. Progressives Want More

But the act also included harsh penalties for drug-related crimes and money to construct new prisons, which critics said led to the mass incarceration of Black men. It also included funding to hire 100,000 additional police officers.

Now, Biden has backed away from some of the provisions in that bill, while at the same time rejecting calls by some in his party to defund police departments.

He has proposed a ban on police chokeholds, a new federal police oversight commission, new national standards for when and how police use force, more mandatory data collection from local law enforcement and other steps.

Former prosecutor Kamala Harris

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, brings her own record on criminal justice issues to the Democratic ticket. She was San Francisco’s district attorney and then California’s attorney general before her election to the Senate.

As district attorney, she initiated a policy for first-time drug offenders to get a high school diploma and a job instead of prison.

As attorney general, she refused to seek the death penalty for a man who killed a police officer. She also instituted a controversial policy that threatened to prosecute parents of children who skipped school as a way to reduce truancy.

Thousands Gather For March On Washington To Demand Police Reform And Racial Equality

She told NPR’s Morning Edition in March, when she was still running for president in the Democratic primary, that “nobody went to jail, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of families went through our program, which was a program of getting greater resources to them so the child could be in school every day.”

In the Senate, she co-sponsored with Republican Sen. Rand Paul a bail reform measure as a way of reducing the number of people held, arguing in a 2017 New York Times op-ed that “excessive bail disproportionately harms people from low-income communities and communities of color.”

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Fact check: Trump promotes another birther lie, this time about Kamala Harris – CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump spent years pushing lies about the birthplace and presidential eligibility of President Barack Obama, the first Black president.

On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president.
Trump’s incendiary nonsense about Harris was part of a Thursday self-described “news conference” he largely used to campaign against his Democratic election opponents. Trump also made a series of false claims about former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrats more broadly, and, again, about mail-in voting.

Kamala Harris’s eligibility

Trump was told about claims on “social media” that Harris might be ineligible to serve as president and vice president. He was then asked if he can definitively say that she meets the requirements.
Trump said, “I heard today that she doesn’t meet the requirements.” He referred to a lawyer who raised the issue in a Newsweek article, Chapman University professor John Eastman, as “very highly qualified.”
Trump then said he has “no idea” whether it’s true Harris doesn’t meet the requirements. He then asked the reporter if she was saying Harris doesn’t qualify because Harris “wasn’t born in this country.”
Facts First: Harris was born in Oakland, California. Therefore, as a natural born citizen, she meets the Constitution’s requirements to serve as vice president or president. There is no serious question about this.
The fact that Harris’s parents were immigrants — her father came from Jamaica, her mother from India — does not change the fact that she is indisputably eligible.
Trump did say that he is not certain if Harris is eligible or not; he concluded his comments by saying, “I just heard about it, I’ll take a look.” Nonetheless, his just-asking-questions posture — which he also employed with his Obama birtherism — doesn’t change the fact that he gave credence to the conspiracy theory by praising the author of the article, saying he had heard Harris is not eligible, and raising the possibility that Harris was not born in the US.
Trump spent the beginning of his news conference lambasting Biden. Here’s a look at the facts around some of those attacks.

Biden and pandemic plans

Trump claimed that he has already done everything Biden has called on him to do in responding to the pandemic.
“In fact, many of the things — it was well reported over the last few days — every single thing he said to do, every single thing, we did, and we did ’em well.”
Facts First: It’s not true that Trump has done every single thing Biden has called for. While there is certainly some overlap in Biden’s proposals and Trump’s actions, Biden has made a number of proposals Trump has not implemented.
For example, Biden has called on Trump to “form a Public Health Jobs Corps — hiring at least 100,000 Americans to help build a data-driven disease surveillance system to spot and stem flare-ups before they spread.” Trump has not done this.
Biden has also called on Trump to provide complete information on the state of testing around the country, “including the number of tests completed, the results, and the average wait time for results.” The federal government does not provide this information on a systematic basis.
And Biden has called for a greater federal role in providing medical supplies, proposing the creation of a “Supply Commander to take command of the national supply chain.” Trump has boasted of how well the federal government has helped with supplies, but he has also insisted that states should take the lead role in obtaining them.

Biden and a mask mandate

Trump said that Biden wanted to impose a federal mandate to force people to wear masks, questioning the authority of a president to do so.
“He wants the president of the United States, with the mere stroke of a pen,” Trump said of Biden, “to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months.”
“I guess this just happened, he thinks it’s good politics I guess,” Trump continued.
Facts First: On Thursday, Biden said that governors — not the federal government — should impose a mask mandate. In June, however, Biden said he would mandate masks “from an executive standpoint.”
In a speech on the coronavirus Thursday, Biden argued that “every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing.”
“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at minimum,” Biden also said. “It’s not about your rights, it’s about your responsibilities as an American.”
When asked on June 26 by the CNN affiliate in Pittsburgh, KDKA, if he would use his federal leverage to mandate wearing a mask Biden said he would. “Yes, I would. From an executive standpoint, yes, I would,” Biden said.
Biden was asked again if he would “in effect mandate the wearing of masks,” he replied, “I would do everything [possible] to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”

Biden, immigration and the pandemic

Trump claimed that Biden’s immigration policy, which Trump described as “ridiculous open borders,” would be “allowing the pandemic to infiltrate every US community.”
Facts First: The coronavirus has already spread to every US state under Trump’s immigration policy; there’s no basis for the suggestion that Biden’s immigration policy would be responsible for the existence of the pandemic around the country. And while Biden is proposing a much less restrictive immigration policy than Trump’s, he is not proposing completely unfettered migration, as Trump’s repeated “open borders” claim suggests.

Biden and the press 

The President, who has taken questions from the press every evening this week, criticized Biden for allegedly doing the opposite.
“He refuses to take questions. He never takes questions,” Trump said. “I take questions, he never takes questions. And you sort of wonder what’s going on because they are not that difficult. Some can be nasty, but they are not that difficult.”
Facts First: While Biden has been criticized for not taking more questions from the press, and while he certainly takes fewer than Trump does, it is not true to suggest that he hasn’t taken any. There have been several speeches where Biden has taken questions as well as full interviews with the press. Biden last held a formal media availability on July 28.

Biden and schools

Trump also accused Biden of wanting to close schools and “grind society to a halt” through a federal decree.
About Biden, Trump said, “he wants to shut down our economy, close our schools and grind society to a halt. And he wants it done by a federal decree.”
Facts First: CNN could not find evidence of Biden calling for a federal decree to close schools. Instead, Biden has offered a five-point plan for states to reopen schools, which focuses on stopping the spread of the virus “with the safety of students and educators in mind.”
“Everyone wants our schools to reopen. The question is how to make it safe, how to make it stick,” Biden said in a video accompanying the plan.
Trump continued kicking around voting-related conspiracies.

Democrats, schools and the election

Trump claimed that Democrats are trying to “keep people away from the polls” by keeping schools closed.
“Some people say they don’t want — the Democrats don’t want — schools open because that’s where you have a lot of polling booths, and if you have a school closed you can’t very easily have polling booths at the school,” he said.
He concluded: “Maybe we’ll be able to show that as fact.”
Facts First: This is a conspiracy theory for which there is simply no evidence. (With his “maybe” line, Trump seemed to implicitly suggest that he is not currently able to prove it.)

Mail-in ballot origins

The President claimed that post offices are receiving millions of ballots and “nobody knows from where.”
Facts First: The ballots are coming from voters. Though Trump and his allies have previously floated the possibility of political operatives sending fraudulent ballots that were not filled out by voters, states have multiple systems in place to verify the authenticity of each ballot, including matching signatures on ballots to the signature of the registered voter to whom it belongs.
Trump also repeated a number of falsehoods he has made before, including claims that:
  • All children handle coronavirus really well. (Some children have died from coronavirus or come down with a strange and severe associated illness, but overall children are less likely to develop severe symptoms than adults.)
  • Absentee voting is good while universal mail-in voting is very bad. (While there can be some differences in the methods used to implement the two, experts say that they are largely the same and are both secure ways of voting.)
  • There were fraudulent ballots in the New York Democratic primary won by Rep. Carolyn Maloney. (There is no evidence of fraud in this race, though there was a legal dispute about other ballot issues, like missing signatures and late postmarks.)
  • Foreign countries can easily forge mail-in ballots. (Experts say this is simply not true because of various ballot security measures. Further, each state has its own system and each district has a unique set of candidates.)

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How to Check Your Devices for Stalkerware – WIRED

Whether it’s a prying boss or a paranoid partner, no one should snoop on your phone or laptop. But that’s exactly what can happen if stalkerware somehow gets installed on your devices. These software tools are designed to be hidden and difficult to detect, but you can find them if you know how.

There’s a wide range of scenarios here, from friends playing pranks to partners being abusive. If you’re in a relationship where you feel trapped and afraid, help is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Coalition Against Stalkerware, and many other places—please reach out.

Dealing with programs planted on company-owned devices by your employer is a little different than someone you know personally trying to spy on you. The company you work for may have what it sees as valid reasons to keep tabs on how productive you are, especially if it provides the hardware and software you use every day.

Regardless of whether that kind of monitoring is justified, at the very least your bosses should be telling you they’re watching rather than keeping it a secret from you. Plus, with company-owned phones and laptops, it’s always safer to assume you are being monitored.

This guide focuses on software designed to be hidden—but remember there are plenty of legitimate parental control apps and built-in tracking tools (like Apple’s Find My) that can be used by people in your family or by people who set up your devices. The difference is that it should be obvious if these types of apps are running, but you should still be aware of them and how they can be used.

How to Check Your Phone

The good news for iPhone users is that it’s virtually impossible to install stalkerware on an iPhone: Apple’s locked-down approach to apps and app security isn’t always user-friendly, but it’s very effective at keeping you safe. iOS simply doesn’t let apps get deep enough into the system software to be able to secretly monitor what you’re doing on your phone.

There’s one exception to this, and that’s if your iPhone is jailbroken (unlocked so that any apps can be installed). Considering how difficult this is to do nowadays, we’re assuming that isn’t the case—someone else would need to be tech-savvy and borrow your phone for an extended period of time to jailbreak it. The easiest way to check is to look for apps called Cydia and SBSettings on the home screen.

Reduced battery life is one sign that your phone has been compromised.

Screenshot: David Nield via Apple

If you do find yourself with a jailbroken iPhone, a full factory reset should fix it (and wipe everything else, so make sure your important stuff is backed up somewhere). This is best done through a connected Mac or Windows computer, and Apple has a full guide to the process that you can work through here.

Getting sneaky surveillance apps onto Android devices is somewhat easier, though officially speaking they’re not allowed: Google will remove apps from the Play Store if it finds evidence of stalkerware-like behavior. Apps do slip through the net, but someone will need to access your phone (or have to have set up your phone initially) to install one. That’s actually one of the most telling warning signs to look out for: If you set up your own Android phone and no one else has ever had it for more than a few seconds, it should be stalkerware free.

If your phone has been compromised, you might notice it gets hot or the battery drains quickly while you’re not using it. You might also see notifications that you’re not expecting, or shutdown or startup times that are longer than they should be. It’s not an exact science—stalking apps are designed to be hard to spot—but any sort of unusual phone behavior could be telling.

Check the apps list to look for anything suspicious.

Screenshot: David Nield via Google

Monitoring apps will very often hide their app icons but they might show up in the main apps list, albeit under an innocuous, alternative name: From Settings on Android, tap Apps and notifications then See all apps to check. Stalkerware can also be tucked away in the actual Settings menu in Android (often in sections related to security)—look for menu items that don’t look right, or that you haven’t noticed before, or that don’t match the official documentation.

For extra peace of mind, you can enlist the help of a third-party tool: Incognito, Certo, and Kaspersky Antivirus are three phone-scanning apps that come well recommended by their users, and they should tell you if you have anything to worry about. It’s encouraging to note that the issue of secret surveillance apps is now more high profile than ever, and both Google and Apple take a very dim view of any app that attempts anything of the sort.

How to Check Your Computer

Most of the same stalkerware-spotting principles for Android and iOS apply for Windows and macOS too. Someone else needs access to your computer for a start, or to trick you into installing something yourself—not difficult for an IT manager who is supplying you with a work laptop, but a bit trickier for someone in your household. As always, keep your laptop or desktop well protected with your own user account and a password, and pay attention to its physical security, like who has access to it and when.

Both Microsoft and Apple are very conscious of the stalkerware problem, and Windows and macOS will detect and block some hidden tools without any extra help. As with any other kind of malware, stalkerware can usually be spotted by a third-party security suite: We don’t have room for a full guide here, but the likes of Norton, Bitdefender and Malwarebytes have both Windows and Mac options.

Task Manager shows what’s running and what starts up with Windows.

Screenshot: David Nield via Microsoft

If you want to do some of your own sleuthing, open up Task Manager in Windows (search for it in the taskbar search box) or Activity Monitor in macOS (search for it in Spotlight via Cmd+Space) to see everything running on your computer. Bear in mind that spyware won’t typically list itself under its real name, and may well try and pass itself off as a system app or use a short name that you’re likely to overlook.

Check through all the tabs that come up in the dialog on screen. Should you see anything that you don’t recognize, or anything that doesn’t match up to the programs you know you have installed, or that just seems suspicious in its behavior (excessive disk usage maybe), then a quick web search for the app or process name is usually enough to reveal what you’re dealing with.

You should also check for applications and processes that are starting up at the same time as your operating system, as most surveillance tools will need to do this. On Windows, you’ll find this list of software under the Start-up tab of Task Manager; on macOS, open System Preferences then select Users & Groups and Login Items. Again, run a web search for any application that you’re not sure about.

The macOS Activity Monitor tells you what’s going on with your system.

Screenshot: David Nield via Apple

There are some extra permissions stalkerware apps are likely to need on macOS: From System Preferences head to Security & Privacy, and then Privacy. Check the entries for Input Monitoring and Full Disk Access, as spying software will often need these permissions. Windows doesn’t have exactly the same setup, but you can see the permissions that apps have (including location, camera access and so on) by choosing Privacy from the Settings menu and scrolling down to App permissions.

As we’ve said, if your employer is keeping tabs on your working day then the tools should be visible and running with your knowledge. But if you’re really worried, a complete system reset for Windows or macOS should clear the majority of hidden monitoring tools, if you suspect one has taken root (just make sure you back up your files first).

How to Check Your Accounts

For someone who wants to invade someone’s privacy, it’s often easier just to gain access to their online accounts rather than try to get access to their devices. With just about everything accessible on the web, from social media to email, it’s far more effective.

With that in mind, as well as checking for unauthorized access to your devices, you should also check for unauthorized access to your accounts. This obviously starts with protecting your usernames and passwords: Make sure they’re known only to you, difficult to guess, not used across multiple accounts, and not written down anywhere. Consider using a password manager to keep those passwords strong, randomized, and different for every account you have. On accounts where it’s available, turn two-factor authentication on.

Facebook will list all of the devices that you’ve logged in on.

Screenshot: David Nield via Facebook

If there’s an unwanted visitor in your accounts, you should be able to find evidence of it. For Facebook, for example, open your settings page in a browser and click Security and login to see all the devices where your account is active (and to log out of ones you don’t recognize). In the case of Gmail on the web, click the Details button in the lower right-hand corner to see other active sessions.

Some mobile apps, like WhatsApp and Snapchat, can only be used on one device, so you know that the login you’re using is the only active one. This isn’t the case for every app though—on Instagram, for example, if you open up the app settings then tap Security and Login activity, you can see a list of all the devices linked to your account. To remove a device, tap the three dots to the side of any of the entries, then Log out.

We’d also recommend looking through the activity on your accounts—activity such as the sent folder in your email account, for example, or the messages that have been received and sent on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. It’s worth checking the drafts and trash folders in your accounts too for any evidence of unrecognized activity.

Check Instagram to see recent login activity.

Screenshot: David Nield via Instagram

If someone else has gained access to your email account, they may have set up an automatic forwarding function to another account—this is something else to check for. In Gmail on the web, for example, click the cog icon (top right), then See all settings and Forwarding and POP/IMAP: Look under the Forwarding heading to see if your email is being sent somewhere else. Check the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab too for anything that hasn’t been set up by you.

The approach is slightly different depending on the apps you use and the accounts you have, but staying on top of your active logins and keeping an eye on app activity are the best ways of spotting unwelcome visitors. Regularly changing your password is an effective way of locking other people out too.

More Great WIRED Stories

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Fact check: Trump makes at least 19 false or misleading claims in wild anti-Biden monologue – CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has long been fond of turning supposedly official events into de facto campaign rallies. Even by his own standards, though, his Tuesday speech was extreme.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, at what was billed as a “press conference” in which he would give remarks about China, Trump delivered a rambling 52-minute monologue filled with pre-scripted attacks on Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
As usual, Trump’s comments were filled with egregious lies and other false claims. We haven’t yet had a chance to comb through the entire transcript, but here is a list of the 19 false or misleading claims we have counted so far:
Biden and the suburbs
Trump said of an Obama-era housing rule meant to address racial segregation: “You’re going to abolish the suburbs with this.”
Facts First: This is nonsense. (To be specific, it is racially coded nonsense.) Diversifying or integrating suburbs does not abolish suburbs.
Biden and buildings
Trump denounced a proposal — put forward by a “unity” task force composed of people appointed by Biden and former primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders — to achieve “net-zero” carbon emissions for all new buildings by 2030. Trump claimed that this “basically means no windows.”
Facts First: That is also nonsense. Buildings with a whole bunch of windows can have net-zero emissions, which means they produce as much renewable energy as the energy they consume. And the task force’s proposal wouldn’t mandate net-zero buildings; rather, this would simply be a “national goal.”
Biden and immigration
Trump claimed that the Sanders-Biden task force group had proposed to “abolish immigration detention.”
Facts First: The task force proposed to abolish for-profit immigration detention centers in particular, not abolish immigration detention entirely. It did propose to reduce the use of immigration detention, but not to get rid of it.
The task force report said: “We believe detention should be a last resort, not the default. Democrats will prioritize investments in more effective and cost-efficient community-based alternatives to detention. We will end for-profit detention centers and ensure that any facility where migrants are being detained is held to the highest standards of care and guarantees the safety and dignity of families. Detention of children should be restricted to the shortest possible time, with their access to education and proper care ensured.”
Obama, Biden and H1N1
Trump claimed that Biden and President Barack Obama got bad “marks” in the polls for their handling of the H1N1 pandemic.
Facts First: Polls on the Obama administration’s handling of H1N1 did not ask respondents about Biden in particular — and Obama’s own approval rating on handling the pandemic was significantly higher than Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus pandemic.
Obama was at 57% approval on the pandemic in a CNN poll in the fall of 2009; Trump is now averaging 39% approval on the pandemic, according to an average by the political website FiveThirtyEight.
Hunter Biden’s career
Trump claimed that Biden’s son Hunter Biden did not have a job before he was appointed to the board of directors of a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma, in 2014.
Facts First: Hunter Biden was employed as a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and CEO of an investment firm he co-founded. He was also chairman of the board of World Food Program USA.
Fraud and mail-in voting
Trump claimed that there is “tremendous fraud” with mail-in voting.
Facts First: All evidence shows that voter fraud is extremely rare in the US, though it does happen on occasion; experts say fraud is slightly more common with mail-in voting than with in-person voting, but still represents a minuscule fraction of votes cast.
Mail ballot fraud is exceedingly rare in part because states have systems and processes in place to prevent forgery, theft and other nefarious behavior. You can read longer fact checks here and here.
Trump and DACA
Trump claimed that he will take care of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program “much better than the Democrats did.”
Facts First: This is nonsensical. Trump has repeatedly tried to end the DACA program, an Obama initiative, despite vocal Democratic objections. And Trump has rejected various Democratic proposals to save the program even though they have offered him concessions on his own priorities, like funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border.
The border wall
Trump claimed that his wall on the Mexican border is “almost completed.”
Facts First: “Almost” is vague, but this an exaggeration; even by Trump’s own account, around half of the wall is done. Trump tweeted Sunday that 240 miles had been built — but that the wall will be a total of 450 miles by the end of the year; he has previously said he wants a total length of as many as 500 miles.
An official government update provided to CNN says that that 229 miles had been built as of July 2. Previous official updates have made clear that a tiny fraction of the miles built — for example, three miles of the 216 built as of June 19 — have been erected where no barriers existed before; the rest have been replacement or reinforcement barriers.
Trump’s travel restrictions on Europe
Trump claimed he put a “ban” on people from traveling from Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Facts First: This is an exaggeration. His travel restrictions contained multiple exemptions — for US citizens, for permanent residents, for many of the family members of both groups, and for multiple European countries, including Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia.
Nancy Pelosi and Trump’s travel restrictions on China
Trump claimed that, after he imposed a travel “ban” on China, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “dancing in the streets of Chinatown” in San Francisco.
Facts First: Trump’s restrictions on China were not a “ban,” either — he exempted citizens, permanent and family members in that policy, too — and Pelosi didn’t dance. She just walked around Chinatown in February to encourage other people to visit, amid concerns about anti-Asian discrimination related to the virus.
Trump could criticize her for not taking the virus seriously enough at the time, though he was himself claiming at the time that the virus was under control, but he keeps exaggerating about what she said and did.
The European Union
Trump claimed that Europe “has never treated us well,” then repeated his regular claim that the European Union was formed “to take advantage of the United States.”
Facts First: Experts on European integration say the EU was not formed to “take advantage” of the US. You can read more here.
China’s economy
Trump claimed that China’s economy had been “flat-lining” for “years and years and years and decades” before it joined the World Trade Organization in late 2001. He also claimed China had been having its worst economic year in “67 years” before the coronavirus crisis.
Facts First: China had experienced significant growth in the years prior to joining the WTO in late 2001; Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics wrote in 2008: “China has been the fastest growing economy in the world over almost three decades, expanding at 10 per cent per year in real terms.” And China had been having the worst year in 29 years, not 67, before the present crisis hit.
According to World Bank figures, China grew by 7.7% in 1999, 8.5% in 2000 and 8.3% in 2001. After joining the WTO, it grew by 9.1% in 2002, 10.0% in 2003 and 10.1% in 2004.
China’s officially reported 2019 growth rate, 6.1%, was the lowest since 1990, 29 years prior. While China’s official figures are unreliable, there is no basis for the “67 years” claim; Trump has habitually exaggerated how long it had been since China’s growth was as slow as it was in 2019, steadily inflating the figure over time.
China and tariffs
Trump claimed, as usual, that China is paying a lot of tariffs because of him.
Facts First: It is American importers who make the tariff payments to the US government. And study after study has shown that American companies and consumers, not people and companies in China, are bearing the majority of the cost of Trump’s tariffs.
Coronavirus mortality
Trump claimed that the US has “just about” the world’s lowest mortality rate for the coronavirus.
Facts First: While we don’t know the true mortality rate in the US and in other countries, since we don’t know exactly how many people have been infected with the virus, there is no basis in existing data for the claim that the US is a world leader or “just about.” According to Johns Hopkins University data, the US rate was 4% as of Tuesday — worse than all but six of the 20 countries whose rates Johns Hopkins is tracking.
Coronavirus cases and testing
Trump again suggested that the US has so many coronavirus cases only because it does so much testing. He said the US would have fewer cases if it did less testing: “If we did half the testing, we’d have half the cases.”
Facts First: Cases do not cease to exist if they aren’t recorded. Testing helps reduce the spread of the virus and thus the number of cases. And testing is not the reason the US has experienced a recent increase in its number of recorded cases; rather, the virus is spreading. You can read a longer fact check on Trump’s testing claims here.
Deportations to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador
Trump touted agreements he made with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, claiming that under him, unlike under Obama, these countries are willing to accept criminals the US wants to deport back.
Facts First: Trump was mixing up two separate issues. While the Trump administration does have new agreements with all three of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, those agreements are related to the handling of people who come to the US seeking asylum, not criminals the US is seeking to deport. In 2016, just prior to Trump’s presidency, none of the three countries was on the list of countries that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) considered “recalcitrant” (uncooperative) in accepting the return of their citizens from the US.
You can read a longer fact check here.
Talking about the coronavirus crisis, Trump claimed that we initially “had very few ventilators.”
Facts First: “Very few ventilators” is less egregious than Trump’s repeated claim that he was left no ventilators at all, but it’s still misleading at best. According to a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Trump administration inherited about 19,000 ventilators from the Obama administration, including all 16,660 of the ones that were ready to be deployed as of March of this year; as of June 23, the Trump administration had distributed fewer than 11,000 ventilators.

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Fact Check: Trump Blasts CDC Guidelines On Reopening Schools – NPR

President Trump, seen here at a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday, rebuked the CDC for its guidelines on reopening schools in a tweet Wednesday.

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

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Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump, seen here at a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday, rebuked the CDC for its guidelines on reopening schools in a tweet Wednesday.

Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET

In the latest move from the Trump administration to push for states to reopen schools this fall, Vice President Pence couched guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to safely reopen schools, saying it shouldn’t be used as a “barrier” to students returning to classrooms.

Speaking to reporters during a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting at the Department of Education Wednesday afternoon, Pence stressed that states and local governments should “tailor their plans” to enable to students to return to in-person instruction.

“None of the CDC’s recommendations are intended to replace state and local rules and guidance,” Pence said.

3 Million Cases: Coronavirus Continues To Surge Across U.S.

Pence was joined by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who emphasized that it is not the intent of the CDC to provide a “rationale to keep schools closed” and that existing guidelines aren’t meant to be prescriptive.

Pence and Redfield’s comments come after President Trump slammed the CDC Wednesday morning, calling its guidelines for reopening schools in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic “impractical” and “expensive.”

“I disagree with the @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020

Health officials’ guidance

Existing CDC guidance includes temporary school dismissals if there is a substantial spread of COVID-19 within the community and, in cases of mild to moderate community transmission, modifying classes where students are in close contact, staggering arrival/dismissal times and enforcing social distancing.

The CDC continues to update its website with best practices, including this checklist for schools. It’s unclear which specific guidance the president was rebuking.

Tracking The Pandemic: Are Coronavirus Cases Rising Or Falling In Your State?

Pence said the CDC will be issuing new documents next week about how to reopen schools, including guidance on screening for COVID symptoms.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a strong statement in June in favor of bringing children back to the classroom in the fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The statement included recommendations about physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, hand-washing, and using outdoor space whenever possible.

Funding threat confusion

Trump on Wednesday went as far as to threaten to cut off federal funding if schools do not reopen and suggested that his political opponents are somehow interfering with the reopening process, saying Democrats think reopening would hurt them politically in the November election.

In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020

However, the decision to reopen schools — like the decision to close them in March — is not top-down, but made from the bottom-up by thousands of local and state school leaders and public health officials.

Despite this, Trump has made his desires clear.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools,” he said during a roundtable discussion on the subject Tuesday.

Meanwhile, senior administration officials told reporters on a background call Tuesday morning that while the White House will provide states with “best practices” on reopening, the decision remains a local one.

Trump Pledges To 'Pressure' Governors To Reopen Schools Despite Health Concerns

Hours after threatening to withhold funding to states that choose not to reopen, Pence assured reporters that the White House would be “very respectful” of state and local communities who can’t fully reopen schools due to “certain limitations.”

Trump’s comments and tweets and the subsequent clarifications from other members of the administration reflect the dissonance in the White House’s messaging on this issue.

How school funding works

On average, public schools receive less than 10% of their funding from the U.S. government, and that money is largely devoted to helping schools serve low-income students and children with disabilities. In short, the nation’s most vulnerable students.

For decades, that funding stream has flowed through Congress with bipartisan support, and Trump has no authority to cut it off or add new requirements to funding lawmakers have already allocated.

Harvard, MIT Sue Immigration Officials Over Rule Blocking Some International Students

Following Trump’s tweet, Evan Hollander, communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, underscored that the power of the purse rests with Congress, not the president.

“Congress provides federal education funding to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our country. The President has no authority to cut off funding for these students, and threatening to do so to prop up his flailing campaign is offensive,” Hollander told NPR in a statement.

Here's How Much Congress Has Approved For Coronavirus Relief So Far And What It's For

In fact, public schools are facing a financial crisis as states slash education budgets in response to the pandemic-driven recession, and the federal government has so far done little to help them make up for those cuts or shoulder the expensive, new burdens of following public health guidance: deep-cleaning schools, hiring nurses, creating socially distanced classrooms.

During Wednesday’s briefing, Pence suggested that the administration is considering a new relief package for schools and could potentially create incentives in such a bailout for states and/or districts that reopen schools more broadly.

Congress set aside roughly $13 billion for schools as part of the CARES Act, but Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has complicated the distribution of that money by insisting that public schools use a far larger share of the aid to help students attending private schools. A bill passed by the House to provide school districts with another $58 billion has languished in the Senate.

NPR’s congressional reporter Claudia Grisales and White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez contributed to this report.

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Check Out All 11 Grilles For The 2021 Ford F-150 – Motor1

It’ll be 12 grilles when the new F-150 Raptor arrives. We can make do with these until then.

The new-and-improved 2021 Ford F-150 debuted yesterday, bringing with it a few features available on the full-size pickup for the first time. Some of the highlights include an optional hybrid powertrain – which the company calls “PowerBoost” – a new 12.0-inch touchscreen, and Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 safety suite available as an option. But you might have missed this: Of the F-150’s 13 trims, 11 of them have unique grille designs.

XL / XL Chrome

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The F-150 XL and the XL Chrome are the entry-level versions of this truck, so expect both of them have a relatively basic design. The plastic vertical slats and black inserts match the truck’s affordable demeanor, and while there’s nothing facny about this grille, it still looks good.


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The F-150 STX has a more subdued grille design by comparison, but it looks nicer. Rather than the vertical slats and black plastics inserts of the XL and XL Chrome models, the STX sports a black mesh treatment around the Ford logo and body-colored surround. That gives the truck’s grille a cleaner look, contrary to the black plastic surrounds on the two entry-level models.


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The F-XLT is the first in the new F-150 range to get chrome. A chrome surround envelops a basic black grille that looks similar to the base XL and XL Chrome models. The interior portion of the grille wears a similar black plastic treatment with vertical slats and horizontal accents to the one found on the entry-level models.

XLT Chrome

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The F-150 XLT Chrome – you guessed it – gets even more chrome. Joining the XLT model’s chrome surround is a new horizontal insert that wraps around the Ford logo. Like the XLT, the XLT Chrome also gets a new bright finish on the lower portion of the bumper.

XLT Sport

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The F-150 XLT Sport ditches chrome in place of a gunmetal-colored surround and full-width trim piece instead. The black plastic inserts are bigger, too, and the chrome accent on the lower portion of the XLT and XLT Chrome model disappears in place of a body-colored finish instead.


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The F-150 Lariat gets more luxuries than most of the previous models mentioned, and that’s obvious by looking at the grille. The big, chrome trim piece – front and center – denotes the Lariat’s more upscale look. That feature extends the width of the grille and pairs with slim vertical slats behind it, as well as more chrome on the front bumper.

Lariat Chrome

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The F-150 Lariat Chrome gets the same horizontal insert as the traditional Lariat model, only now the vertical black slats are swapped for chrome slats instead. That extra chrome gives the truck a more upscale look, and like the traditional Lariat, the Chrome model also gets a shiny treatment lower down on the bumper.

Lariat Sport

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The F-150 Lariat Sport loses all of the chrome from the two other Lariat models, instead coating that big horizontal trim piece in a dark gunmetal finish. The vertical slats also revert back to black, and the chrome feature on the lower portion of the bumper now gets a body-colored finish.

King Ranch / King Ranch Chrome

2src21 Ford F-15src Grille Designs
2src21 Ford F-15src Grille Designs

The F-150 King Ranch and King Ranch Chrome have a unique grille design that instantly separates the two models from the rest of the range. There’s a gold-colored trim piece that extends the width of the grille, paired to matching gold inserts throughout. The only thing that separates the two trucks is the lower portion of the bumper: The normal F-150 King Ranch gets a matching gold-colored bumper while the King Ranch Chrome gets a shiny bumper.


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The F-150 Platinum uses the same grille design as the King Ranch and King Ranch Chrome models: a full-width bar and matching inserts. Only it loses the unique gold coloring of those two models, swapping it for a normal silver finish instead. The F-150 Platinum also gets a body-colored lower bumper.


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The F-150 Limited has the most unique grille of them all. Though it borrows the same full-width bar piece as the previous three trims, the Limited gets a larger silver surround, unique silver vertical slats, and the “LIMITED” wordmark across the top.

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68 Photos

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Fact check: Trump has spent far more time at golf clubs than Obama had at same point – CNN

Washington (CNN)Criticized for golfing twice on a Memorial Day weekend during which the US coronavirus death toll approached 100,000, President Donald Trump responded Sunday and Monday by drawing attention, again, to former President Barack Obama’s golfing.

Trump denounced the media, which he called “sick with hatred and dishonesty,” for supposedly failing to mention that Saturday was his first time golfing in three months. (CNN, among other outlets, did note that it was his first golf outing since March 8.) Trump also accused the media of failing to talk about “all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint?”
“Barack was always playing golf,” he said in one of his five golf-related tweets.
Facts First: Trump has spent much more time playing golf than Obama did through this point of the term — after repeatedly attacking Obama’s golfing and claiming he would not play if he got elected himself. Just Trump’s airplane trips to his Mar-a-Lago Club and residence in Florida, from which he has often taken a motorcade ride to a nearby golf course he owns, have required far more air travel than Obama’s once-a-year Hawaii vacations did through this point in the term.

Obama vs. Trump: Golf by the numbers

Obama played 98 rounds of golf through this point in his presidency, according to data provided to CNN by Mark Knoller, a veteran CBS News White House correspondent who is known for tracking presidential activities. By contrast, Knoller said, Trump has spent all or part of 248 days at a golf course.
CNN’s own count has Trump at 266 days spending some time at a Trump golf course.
Since Trump and his aides often refuse to confirm that he actually played golf during a visit to a golf club, even when he has been spotted in golf attire, it is not possible to definitively say how many times Trump has golfed as President. And some of Trump’s rounds, like when he plays with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, mix leisure with official business.
Regardless, it is clear that Trump has spent more time golfing than Obama. And Trump’s own golf-related “carbon footprint” has been bigger than Obama’s even if you count only air travel.
Through this point in his first presidential term, Obama had made three vacation trips to his birth state of Hawaii for a total of 29,978 miles in the air, Knoller tweeted, while Trump has made 30 trips to Palm Beach, Florida, the home of Mar-a-Lago, for a total of 51,540 miles.
Obama played 333 rounds during his eight years as president, according to Knoller. In other words, Obama played golf once every 8.77 days as president. Trump, conversely, has been at a golf club once every 4.92 days so far.
It’s also worth noting that Trump’s trips — like his Saturday and Sunday visits to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia — have almost exclusively been to resort properties and golf courses his company owns.
In addition to the promotional value of these trips by a president, Trump’s company has generated hundreds of thousands in revenue from charges to the Secret Service, according to Washington Post reporting.

Trump’s history of criticizing Obama’s golfing

Trump, now lashing out against criticism of his own golfing, was a vocal critic of Obama’s golfing. He promised that he would be different as president.
“I don’t have time for that. I love golf. I think it’s one of the greats. but I don’t have time. Two-hundred-fifty rounds — that’s more than a guy who plays on the PGA Tour plays. He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods,” Trump said at a December 2015 campaign rally. “No, think of it. We don’t have time for this. We don’t have time for this. We have to work. We have to work, OK?”
Trump said at an August 2016 campaign rally that he may never see his properties again if he was elected, explaining, “Because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf.” And in an October 2016 speech, Trump said Obama’s struggles to pass legislation were a result of excessive golfing.
“Everything’s executive order because he doesn’t have enough time because he’s playing so much golf. He doesn’t have enough time to convince Congress to do it. This guy plays more golf than people on the PGA Tour,” Trump said.

Obama and James Foley

In one of his Sunday tweets, Trump criticized Obama for “once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!”
This was accurate. Obama did golf in 2014, while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, minutes after condemning the murder of journalist James Foley. Obama conceded in an interview the next month that the golfing was a bad idea, saying, “I should’ve anticipated the optics.”
Obama said the “theater” component of the presidency doesn’t come naturally to him, “but it matters.”

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Fact check: Trump falsely denies FDA warning on hydroxychloroquine, baselessly alleges political bias in study – CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump continued Tuesday to make false and baseless claims about hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he has repeatedly promoted and now says he is himself taking.

At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Trump falsely denied the existence of a Food and Drug Administration warning about the use of hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus. And he claimed without any evidence that a study on veterans who were given the drug was conducted by political foes who had set out to hurt him.
The FDA warning
Trump was reminded by a reporter on Tuesday that the FDA has said hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of a hospital setting or research studies.
Trump interjected: “No. That’s not what I was told. No.”
Facts First: The reporter was right. The FDA issued a safety warning on April 24 that was headlined, “FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.”
We don’t know what Trump might have been personally told, but he was incorrect when he said “no” in response to the reporter’s accurate premise.
The study of veterans
Trump lambasted a study that had found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine in a group of veterans with the coronavirus who were given the drug. He called it a “phony study” and said it was done by “obviously not friends of the administration” who wanted to “make political points.”
The President made similar comments earlier on Tuesday, speaking of an unspecified “bad survey” that was “a Trump enemy statement.” On Monday, he claimed the study at the VA was done by “people that aren’t big Trump fans.”
He also complained Tuesday that the drug had been given to people who were “old” and “ready to die.”
Facts First: There is no evident basis for Trump’s claims that the study of veterans was designed to hurt him. While there are valid criticisms of the study — which was small, retrospective, focused on seriously ill patients, not peer-reviewed and not randomized or controlled — Trump has provided no proof for his claims of some sort of political plot. The authors of the study explicitly acknowledged that it has significant limitations. Larger, peer-reviewed studies have also concluded that hydroxychloroquine has not benefited coronavirus patients.
The study at the VA, conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina, the University of Virginia and the Dorn Research Institute in South Carolina, looked at the medical data of 368 male patients at veterans’ health centers — 97 patients who took hydroxychloroquine, 113 who took hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, and 158 patients who did not. The patients who took hydroxychloroquine alone had a 27.8% death rate, while those who didn’t take the drug had an 11.4% death rate. The study also found that patients who took the drug were not significantly less likely to need mechanical ventilation.
The study was published on the medical website medRxiv, not a peer-reviewed journal. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has noted that the study looked at “a small number of veterans” who were “in the last stages of life.” VA spokesperson Christine Noel told NBC that hydroxychloroquine was “provided to VA’s sickest COVID-19 patients, many times as a last resort.”
“It is possible that the sicker patients received more medication than did the people who were less sick, and therefore these retrospective studies are a guide, but they are not definitive,” Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University medical professor and expert in infectious diseases, said on CNN Tuesday after Trump’s comments, saying that “more careful studies are needed.”
The authors of the study, who did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment, wrote effectively the same thing in the study itself: “These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs.” They also openly discussed specific limitations of their study. For example, they wrote that since they were looking at a majority-black group of males with a median age over 65, their findings might not be applicable to women, younger people and other groups.
A number of randomized, controlled trials are underway around the US and elsewhere to more conclusively determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus. (The drug is already FDA-approved for use against malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.) It’s worth noting, though, that the study of the veterans was not the only one to date that did not find hydroxychloroquine effective as a coronavirus treatment.
A University of Albany study of 1,438 patients with coronavirus at 25 hospitals in the New York City area, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found similar death rates for people who took hydroxychloroquine (or hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin) and those who did not. It also found patients who took the drug combination were more than twice as likely to suffer cardiac arrest during the course of the study.
A study conducted by the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which assessed 1,376 consecutive patients, also did not find improved outcomes from hydroxychloroquine.
David Shulkin, Trump’s former VA secretary, said on Twitter after the President’s remarks on Tuesday: “The risks of taking hydroxychloroquine are real, yet no data has shown it’s effective for COViD19. Thats why this should only be used now within ongoing clinical trials. I worry about the example being set and whether others may take the drug inappropriately.”

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