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Final presidential debate: Fact checking Trump and Biden


Updated 19m ago

Fact check: Trump claims Mueller saw his tax returns and found there was nothing wrong in them

Statement: President Trump: “Mueller and 18 angry Democrats and FBI agents all over the place spent 48 million dollars. They went through everything I had, including my tax returns, and they found absolutely no collusion and nothing wrong.”

Claim: Trump claims special counsel Robert Mueller saw his tax returns and found there was nothing wrong in them.

Fact check: False


The special counsel’s probe did not exonerate Mr. Trump on his taxes. The president said it’s likely that Robert Mueller looked at his tax returns and claims it would have been easy for him to do so. 

But there is no evidence that he did so. Mueller’s 448-page report includes no mention of Mr. Trump’s tax returns or any significant analysis of his businesses.  Senator Amy Klobuchar asked Attorney General William Barr about Mr. Trump’s taxes during a hearing, and Barr said he had no evidence that Mueller looked at the president’s taxes. 

Martin Sheil, a retired official from the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit, wrote in the The Hill in 2019 that it would have been very difficult for Mueller to obtain the president’s tax records unless he had already proven that a crime had been committed. He also said Mueller would likely have to go to court to get Mr. Trump’s tax records, and there is no evidence that Mueller did that either. 

“So when President Trump muses out loud that he assumes Mueller looked at his tax returns, he may very well be making a false assumption,” wrote Sheil.


10:30 PM

Fact check: Trump says “99.9 (%) of young people recover; 99% of people recover” from COVID-19

Statement: President Trump: “99.9 (%) of young people recover; 99% of people recover.”

Claim: Trump claims 99.9% of young people recover and 99% of people recover from COVID-19.

Fact check: Misleading


Based on identified cases, the CDC shows an overall cumulative case death rate of 4.5%. About 4% of new cases require hospitalization. 

Among young people, according to the CDC, the survival rate for COVID-19 among people 19 years of age and younger is 99.997%. The survival rate among individuals age 20 to 49 is 99.98%.  

But studying the death rate from the virus is complicated because drops in the overall U.S. death rate for COVID-19 coincides with a change in whom the disease is sickening. Studies that have calculated the death rate based on broader antibody testing suggest an infection death rate of less than 1%.  


10:20 PM

Fact check: Trump says we’re “rounding the turn” on coronavirus

Statement: President Trump: “It will go away. And as I say, we’re rounding the turn. We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

Claim: Trump claims that the coronavirus is going away.

Fact check: False  


Cases and hospitalizations are currently rising in the U.S.

  • Coronavirus cases are currently increasing in at least 34 states, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

  • Hospitalizations are rising in 37 states, according to a study by CNBC

  • The U.S. saw over 62,735 new cases on Wednesday, October 21, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

  • The U.S. is averaging 59,000 new cases per day, according to the New York Times, the most since the beginning of August. 


10:10 PM

Fact check: Trump says 2.2 million could have died of COVID-19 in U.S.

Statement: President Trump: “As you know, 2.2 million people modeled out — were expected to die.”

Claim: A model forecast that 2.2 million people might die of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Fact check: True, but misleading 


A March 16 report by Imperial College London projected there could be 2.2 million deaths after three months in the United States from the unmitigated spread of COVID-19:

“In the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behavior, we would expect a peak in mortality (daily deaths) to occur after approximately 3 months,” the report said. “In such scenarios, given an estimated R0 of 2.4, we predict 81% of the G.B. and U.S. populations would be infected over the course of the epidemic. . . In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in G.B. and 2.2 million in the U.S., not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.”

However, the report specifically qualified its estimate, stating that this number could be reached in the “(unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behavior.”

By Lete Childs