AP fact check: An angry Trump twists facts about raid, probe

Posted at 9:16 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 21:22:26-04

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI raid on the office and hotel room of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer provoked visceral rage from the president and a burst of misstatements. Here's a look at his remarks:

TRUMP: "So I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man, and it's a disgraceful situation." -- Comments at a meeting with military advisers Monday.

THE FACTS: It was not a break-in. The FBI executed a search warrant obtained from a judge in conducting the raid and seizing records on a variety of matters, among them a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen. The application for the warrant was approved high in the Justice Department.

TRUMP: "They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia." -- referring to the Mueller investigation.

THE FACTS: There has been no such finding. It's true that evidence of collusion has not emerged to date in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's relationship with Russian figures. But the investigation continues and Mueller does not disclose what his probe has found except when filing charges. Although Trump focused his fury on the Mueller probe, Monday's raid was overseen by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, not the special counsel. Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said the raid was based in part on a referral from Mueller, however.

TRUMP: "Again, they found nothing. And in finding nothing, that's a big statement." -- Referring to the Mueller investigation.

THE FACTS: They found something.

So far, four Trump associates have been charged in Mueller's investigation, of whom three have pleaded guilty to lying to the authorities. Among them are Michael Flynn, former White House national security adviser, and Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide. Overall, 19 people, including 13 Russians, have been charged.

Mueller is known to consider Trump a subject of his criminal investigation at this point. Being a subject in an investigation -- instead of a target-- suggests Mueller may not be currently preparing a criminal prosecution of the president but considers him more pivotal than a mere witness would be.

To get a warrant, agents and prosecutors must establish for a judge that there's probable cause of criminal activity and that a search of a property is likely to turn up evidence of that.

TRUMP: "The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of, you know, this nonsense that's going on. It dropped a lot. It was up -- way up -- and then it dropped quite a bit at the end, a lot." -- Comments from the Monday meeting, after markets closed.

THE FACTS: His read on the market appears to overstate the impact the raid had on stocks. And while the market did give up most of the gains it had made earlier in the day, at the close it was up marginally from a day earlier.

The trade dispute with China has been primarily driving market developments in recent days.

On Monday, the Dow was up 440 points at about 2 p.m., after the president suggested the two countries could resolve their dispute, then started falling off. The market got worse when news of the raid was reported later in the afternoon, as investors fretted about the prospects for a constitutional crisis, but most of the damage preceded that development. It ended the day up 46 points.

On Tuesday, more news about the raid jolted the market, the Dow gave up a big chunk of its morning gains, but those losses were restored over the next hour. That's been a pattern with recent political developments -- short-term ups and downs that take second place to overarching questions about economic growth and corporate earnings.